Oct 30

Thoughts on Pedro the teacher ….

Watching Pedro Martinez last night got me to thinking about his tenure with the Mets. He was brought in for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is his supposed influence on the younger pitchers. Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez and John Maine all have physical skills to be good, but something is lacking.

1 + 1 = 3 to some Mets pitchers.

1 + 1 = 3 to some Mets pitchers.


I know Martinez worked hard with Perez, as has Johan Santana the past two seasons, but nothing has sunk in. At least it sure doesn’t look like it. If you can’t learn from those two, who can you learn from? In this case, I’m more inclined to think the student has a learning disability than I am a problem with the teachers.

I’m not sure Perez is ever going to get it. I’d like to unload his contract, but who would be crazy enough to pay him that much money? Ooops, never mind.

Pelfrey’s erratic nature has me leaning in that direction, too. In comparison to some of the other young pitchers in the game, Pelfrey is way behind in his mound make-up. All too often this season Pelfrey unraveled after several good innings. He doesn’t have the ability to command his secondary pitches and adjust under pressure.

Of the three, Maine appears to me to have taken a step back from his 15-win season, but that’s more attributable to injuries than anything else.

Oct 03

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #161; Looking at Maine, Misch tries to impress.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

When it comes to what John Maine did last night, I have to keep telling myself, “it was only one game.’’

Yes it was, but Maine’s starts have been getting progressively better in terms of pitch count and effectiveness. Last night, he gave up one run on five hits in seven innings. Most importantly, no walks. As in zero.

Maine squeezed in those seven innings with 106 pitches. Usually with Maine, if the throws that many pitches it is over five innings.

Maine attributed the success with his slider to a new grip, which again reinforces it was good for him to come back this month.

There will be games when his slider doesn’t have movement or bite, but hopefully he’s been able to come up with a way to get out of those funks. A pitcher only learns that by pitching.

MAINE: Ends season on a positive note.

MAINE: Ends season on a positive note.


“I was just trying to pitch to contact a little more,’’ Maine said. “Walks always hurt me, I’d always give up a lot of walks, and that’s how they end up scoring. This start I just had a better slider, and that always makes your fastball better.’’

Maine’s start doesn’t answer all the Mets’ pitching questions, but it does offer encouragement.

The Mets (68-92) hope for another dose of positive this afternoon from left-hander Pat Misch (2-4, 4.71 ERA) who is coming off a complete-game victory over the Marlins last Sunday.

Misch has pitched well at times in his month-long audition for the No. 5 slot in the rotation next year. So has Tim Redding, but he could be more suited for the long-man role.

Here’s today’s batting order vs. Yorman Bazardo (1-2, 8.23 ERA):

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Josh Thole, C
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Pat Misch, LP

David Wright isn’t hurt, so I don’t understand the need to give him a day off the day before the season finale. He had a good game last night, so why not keep it going?

I don’t like how manager Jerry Manuel has handled his line-up the last month. September was supposed to be about learning for next year.

Wright has had a miserable month for the most part, but is coming out of it. Too late, of course, but he’s hit well the past week.

I don’t like how Nick Evans has wasted away on the bench. He’s been rushed, but this month was a way to get him some consistent at-bats. Instead, Tatis and Pagan have gotten considerably more time. We don’t even know if Tatis will be with the Mets next year. It is so much more important to learn about Evans.

I’m also not crazy about the batting order. Can we please find a spot for Daniel Murphy and leave him there? Murphy has hit from second to seventh, but he’s never in one spot long enough to get comfortable. And, please spare me the injuries excuse. The juggling is unsettling for a young player.

The juggling also shows a lack of consistency from the manager. There are times to juggle, but not every day.

Sep 26

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #154; Maine optimistic.

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #154

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #154

John Maine is one of the things the Mets hope to salvage from this dead season. Maine, who spent the bulk of the season on the disabled list, is the perfect example not to get too excited over the phrase, “will have surgery but is expected to be ready for spring training.

Maine underwent shoulder surgery last September, but was sidelined again with the generation of scar tissue which irritated the nerve and caused weakness in the arm. There has been a drop-off in velocity which Maine hasn’t regained. However, he’s looking at it as spring training when a pitcher gradually builds up his arm strength over five or six starts.

Maine will make his third start since coming off the disabled list tonight at Florida and will get another before the season ends. Maine is hoping get back enough strength to where he can look at going to his normal offseason program.

Maine is coming off a strong outing last Sunday against Washington in which he gave up two hits in five scoreless innings. He threw 75 pitches and could go as high as 90 against the Marlins. In his first start off the DL, he gave up a run in three innings at Philadelphia.

“I’m happy with it,” Maine told reporters about his progress. “I think I went out and did my job. I think you can always be a little more pleased with your performance when you look back at it. But I thought I did okay.

“I don’t go out there thinking it’s going to hurt. You can’t. It hasn’t hurt. I’m hoping it’s behind me.”

There had been speculation Maine would not be offered arbitration and would be cut loose. However, the pitching-depleted Mets will undoubtedly offer arbitration considering how well he has pitched. Maine can become a free agent after the 2011 season.

Maine took a step back last season after winning 15 games in 2007. He is 6-5 with a 4.13 ERA this season.

***

NOTE: Something has come up and I don’t think I’ll make the chat room. Please carry on without me and have a great night.-JD

Sep 20

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #149; another look at Maine and peeking in at the Jets.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

One of the Mets’ most important off-season decisions will be about John Maine. Just getting through five could help answer some questions.

Maine (5-5, 4.45 ERA) is making his second start since returning from the disabled list. He threw three innings against the Phillies last weekend. Today, just as was the case last week, results don’t matter as much as just making it through the day.

Here’s the batting order:

Angel Pagan, LF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Josh Thole, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
John Maine, RP

My attention will be diverted over to the Meadowlands to watch the Jets against those cheatin’ Patriots. There’s just something annoying about the Patriots. They have an arrogance about them that rivals that of the Yankees. It all stems from the head coach.

The Jets did a lot of talking this week. Let’s see if they can walk the walk.

Sep 13

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #143; Big sports day.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

A lot of things happening today and hopefully we can talk about a lot of them. Of course, we’ve got the Mets and Phillies. Twice. What’s important about today for the Mets is the same thing that has been important for the last two months – a positive sign in this negative season.

Today, we get a chance to look at John Maine for the first time since June. His results aren’t as important as his health. If Maine shows he can get through today – he’ll get about 60 pitches – and a few more starts, it would go a long way toward the Mets’ off-season thinking. If Maine can pitch without pain, the Mets would probably tender him a contract. My feeling is they’ll probably do it anyway because they are so short on pitching and the FA market is thin that it wouldn’t hurt any. Better to sign him and hope for the best rather than let him go and watch him recover elsewhere.

It might just turn out Maine might be better suited for the bullpen, and there’s nothing wrong with learning that this month. Let’s not forget, Maine was once a 15-game winner before things went south for him last season. He’s still young enough to where the Mets shouldn’t give up the ghost on him.

MAINE: Can he come back?

MAINE: Can he come back?


Maine (5-4, 4.52 ERA) last pitched in Washington, June 6, and gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings. He was placed on the disabled list following that start.

Yesterday was supposed to be about Mike Pelfrey taking another step. Too bad it was backwards. Pelfrey gave up eight runs, including three homers, in six innings.

“I thought I made some big mistakes – mistakes over the middle part of the plate…I’m disappointed, but we came back and won,” Pelfrey said. “That takes some of it away.”

Actually, it doesn’t. Not with the season already lost. If the Mets were in a race, maybe so, because the victory would have been needed. However, at this stage, it’s about individuals being accountable and Pelfrey is a big part of the Mets’ future. For him to pitch so poorly is alarming. He is 25, and at an age when he should be making progress, after a 5-2 start through June 16, he is 10-10 with a 5.09 ERA. For his career he is 28-30 with a 4.59 ERA.

Pelfrey began the season as the No. 2 starter, but he’s performed like a back-end rotation arm.

On a bright note, David Wright hit two homers yesterday. I would like to see him finish with a flourish to get a positive feeling heading into next year. Wright changed his approach this season thinking he wouldn’t hit for power at Citi Field. It turned out he was right, but how much of that was him talking himself out of it? Wright is now tied with Gary Sheffield for the team lead with 10 homers. For his average, which is around .320, it wasn’t worth the sacrifice.

If you get frustrated with the Mets, and that’s easy to do, we could always talk some football if you’d like. If there’s interest, I don’t mind doing a football blog. I do plan on blogging the baseball postseason. There were some good conversations last fall even though the Mets were at home.

Here’s the line-up for the today’s first game in Philly:

Angel Pagan, CF
Anderson Hernandez, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Josh Thole, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
John Maine, RP