May 28

Mets: On the road again.

MANUEL: Needs to figure out road woes

After another successful homestand – and it doesn’t get much better than a shutout sweep of the Phillies – the Mets hit the road to Milwaukee and San Diego.

Bizarre scheduling, yes, but nonetheless another obstacle for the Mets and challenge for manager Jerry Manuel. The whispers have eased about his job, but if they continue to stumble away from Citi Field could easily resurface.

This trip is one letter away from a trap, in that the Mets must guard against the inevitable letdown after beating the Yankees and Phillies. Milwaukee has the worst home record, but hasn’t always been an easy place to play for the Mets and the Padres have a good team.

The Mets are bearing down on the Phillies for the NL East lead, but they are still only a few games over .500 and have shown little ability thus far at winning on the road.

A baseball season is long and arduous. It is about sustaining power and that’s something we haven’t yet seen this year.

May 24

May 24.10: Mejia to stay in pen.

Until they change their minds again, the Mets have made a decision – hopefully definitive for at least the remainder of the season – on Jenrry Mejia.

The prospect with the million-dollar arm will remain in the bullpen.

Manager Jerry Manuel confirmed last night what many surmised after Manny Acosta was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo instead of Mejia to make room for Ryota Igarashi’s return from the disabled list.

“You have a young man who has a tremendous arm, tremendous upside,’’ Manuel said. “If you take what he gives you in small bits, it’s very serviceable, even at the big league level.’’

Several things went into the decision, notably when Mejia started altering his delivery Thursday in Washington. Altered deliveries lead to arm problems and the Mets want to nip possibility early.

During the series with the Nationals, Manuel had suggested Mejia was likely to be the one to go to the minor leagues to make room for Igarashi.

Starting might still be in Mejia’s future, but not for now, and you would be correct if you thought this move had something to do with Manuel’s immediate job future.

“If we wanted to have him start, he could start in the winter somewhere,’’ Manuel said. “But here, if he’s serviceable and if he’s usable, then I’d like to have him. It’s probably selfish on my part, but that’s how I feel.’’

With Igarashi back, the plan is for him and Feliciano to work the eighth and Mejia to work the seventh. Watching Mejia blow away Mark Teixeira Saturday night convinced Manuel.

“Basically, that was the plan all along,’’ Manuel said. “We felt that Igarashi could handle the eighth, and we needed someone to handle the seventh. I wanted to see Mejia pitch in this environment and see how he responded to it, and he did real well.’’

I only hope the Mets stick with this decision and not waver. To bounce him from role to role at 20 could be harmful to his development.

May 13

May 13.10: Phillies vs. Mets Spygate

What’s the first thing somebody usually does when caught doing something wrong? That’s right, he tries to shift the attention to somebody else.

That’s exactly what Phillies manager Charlie Manuel did after his team was caught stealing signs in Colorado when he said, “somebody maybe ought to check the Mets if they did that.’’

The Mets? You mean the same team that was pummeled twice in Philadelphia recently and lost seven of nine games there last season?

Yes, those Mets.

“Their [bleeping] home record is out of this world and they’re losing on the road,’’ Manuel said. “Sometimes that’s a good indicator of getting signs. … That kind of crosses my mind. I’m not accusing them, but you look at that. … We’re about the same home and road. I’m just saying their record is much better at home and they hit better.’’

What Manuel didn’t say, but you know he’s thinking, is the Mets are in his head. If Manuel weren’t concerned about the Mets he wouldn’t have said anything. He’s just trying to deflect attention from him and rattle a few cages at Citi Field.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel, who doesn’t seem to be rattled by anything, said: “Tell Charlie our bullpen is a little far and we have a few other things going on.’’

Yes, this will be a nice little race before it is over.

May 10

May 10.10: Perez to stay in rotation for now; plus tonight’s lineup

I have asked the question more times than I can remember: What is wrong with Oliver Perez?

I don’t know the answer, and I don’t think anybody – especially Perez – has the answer. After another meltdown Sunday against the Giants, the debate is again whether Perez should remain in the rotation.

Manager Jerry Manuel said the situation bears consideration, but for now Perez will get another start, Friday at Florida, to try to cash in on his potential check.

Presumably, the weather will be better, but despite the moaning in that direction, it’s no excuse. The weather was bad for everybody and as a professional he needs to overcome the elements.

After a good first, Perez quickly unraveled. You can always tell when Perez doesn’t have it, as the game slows down to a glacier-like pace.

That Manuel said he’ll have to evaluate the situation is encouraging news because there’s nothing about Perez that is encouraging.

HERE’S TONIGHT’S LINE-UP

Pagan, CF
Castillo, 2B
Reyes, SS
Bay, LF
Wright, 3B
Davis, 1B
Francoeur, RF
Barajas, C
Maine, RP

Apr 28

April 28.10: Perez to stay in rotation.

You knew the question would be asked: Will Oliver Perez stay in the rotation? You probably knew the answer, too.

“I’m going to say with Ollie,” manager Jerry Manuel said after last night’s game.

The Mets have few options to go with instead of Perez, who coughed up a three-run lead and didn’t make it out of the fourth. One option, Hisanori Takahashi, who relieved Perez and struck out five in 3 1/3 innings, has proven to be so valuable out of the pen.

They can also dip down to Buffalo for Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey or Pat Misch.

Any might be an interesting choice for a game, but none can match Perez’s potential when he’s on. It wasn’t that long ago that Perez came up big in a start at St. Louis. The Mets lost, but Perez was strong that night.

It looks like it will be another summer of the Good Ollie vs. the Bad Ollie, but you knew that, too.