Jul 20

Mets Chat Room; Dickey needs to pick up Mets.

Game #94 at Diamondbacks

At 6-3, Dickey has more than just filled in the gaping hole in the Mets’ rotation caused by the injuries to John Maine and Oliver Perez.

With his dancing knuckleball, he gave the Mets’ rotation a different look and was able to confound National League hitters by winning his first six decisions.

Dickey has come back to Earth record wise, losing his last three decisions, but with a little run support he could easily have three more victories.

The Mets need him again tonight in a big way. They are 1-4 in the second half, but should be 0-5. After a hot June that vaulted them back into the race, the Mets are 5-10 in July and fading.

Jul 12

Update on first-half questions.

When pitchers and catchers reported Feb. 18, I posted five key questions the Mets faced heading into the season. Let’s revisit those questions at the All-Star break.

1) Question: What is this team’s attitude?

Assessment: By all accounts, it has been superb. There is a different chemistry in the Mets clubhouse than I have previously seen. The Mets have shown a remarkable resiliency to bounce back from adversity and Sunday’s win is just another example. There have been no issues about a lack of hustle, and no finger pointing. Both Jeff Francoeur and Angel Pagan said the right things about the prospect of reduced playing time as Carlos Beltran is about to be activated from the disabled list. The only sour note was, surprise, Oliver Perez’s refusal to accept a minor league assignment, instead, waiting for the disabled list to leave the roster to work on his issues.

2) Question: How healthy is this team?

Assessment: Injuries sabotaged the 2009 season, and injuries have cost Beltran and Daniel Murphy in the first half, and Jose Reyes for nearly a month. Beltran is due back to start the second half, but there’s no timetable for the return of Murphy, who reinjured his knee while on a rehab assignment. Murphy was playing second base at the time in preparation for a position change. After treating Reyes with kid gloves in the wake of his thyroid issue, the Mets rushed him back from an oblique injury, which he aggravated Saturday. There’s no telling how long he’ll be out. Luis Castillo is on the disabled list and his is another injury where the Mets tried to have him play through. Fortunately, his replacement, Ruben Tejada, has been more than filled the void. Reliever Kelvim Escobar, penciled in as a set-up man, is out for the year with a shoulder injury. The Mets are still trying to find an eighth-inning solution. Oliver Perez and John Maine are currently on the disabled list.

3) Question: What is the status of the three pitching questions, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez and John Maine?

Assessment: Pelfrey made a point of saying he understood this trio represented a significant key to the Mets’ success this season. Perez and Maine are on the disabled list, but the team upgraded with R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi. Pelfrey was superb for much of the first half but has been going through a dead arm period and has been largely ineffective over his last five starts. Perez balked at a minor league assignment, but an injury was found that conveniently landed him on the disabled list. He has been sound, and somewhat effective, in his rehab assignment. Look for the Mets to activate him shortly after the break and send Takahashi back to the bullpen. There’s no timetable for Maine’s return.

4) Question: Who is fifth starter?

Assessment: Fernando Nieve, Jon Niese, Nelson Figueroa and Hisanori Takahashi were in the mix in the spring, but Niese won the job and has been very good since coming off the disabled list. Niese has been so good that management tabbed him untouchable when Seattle asked for him in trade discussions surrounding Cliff Lee. Figueroa is now in Philadelphia, while Nieve is in the bullpen. Takahashi replaced Perez in the rotation and pitched well at first, but clearly showed he’s more valuable in the bullpen. The Mets are searching for a fifth starter in the trade market, as there are lingering questions about Perez and Maine.

5) Question: What is the make-up of the bullpen?

Assessment: Jenrry Mejia went north in the pen in an undefined role, but eventually went to the minor leagues to work on being a starter, when he was injured. Losing Escobar went a large part in opening the door for Mejia, who threw hard, but never grasped the eighth-inning role. Bobby Parnell, who appeared to wash you last year, now appears to be the arm having the inside track in the eighth inning to start the second half. Ryota Igarashi was the guy at one time, but pulled a hamstring and hasn’t been the same since. He’s now in the minor leagues. Nieve and Pedro Feliciano were over worked early, and still have heavy workloads. The distribution of work should be improved when Takahashi goes back to the bullpen.

Jun 22

Beltran to begin rehab games.

BELTRAN: Getting closer.

The clock is about to start for Carlos Beltran, who has been running the bases in extended spring training games. The next step is minor league rehab games, and GM Omar Minaya said today that will be Thursday in Port St. Lucie.

Once the rehab games begin Beltran has a 20-day window to return to the Mets. That would be after the All-Star break. If the window expires and Beltran isn’t ready, the Mets would need his permission to stay in the minors.

As of now, both Beltran and the Mets see the player as a center fielder, which would mean a platoon role for Angel Pagan.

The club also announced John Maine will seek a second opinion on his shoulder.  Based on his contractual status the Mets don’t need Maine’s permission to go to the minor leagues.

Jun 22

While we were away ….

I was down Monday with server issues, which I hope have been resolved. Many thanks to Joe D. from Metsmerized for his help and patience.

MAINE: Thrown under the bus.

Two items occurred that I haven’t had the opportunity to comment on: John Maine and Jenrry Mejia.

The one on Maine is especially disturbing because it shows and ugly side of Jerry Manuel. His comment about pitching Maine “on the off days,’’ was for a cheap laugh, which he got. But, how he threw Maine under the bus like that has to send a message to other players when dealing with their injuries.

Maybe Maine is done with the Mets, but he’s still here and working hard to get back. He deserves his manager’s respect.

If I’m a player and working hard to get back, I don’t like the manager taking a cheap shot at me for his benefit.

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