May 19

May 19.10: What’s wrong with Wright?/Adding tonight’s lineup.

Pedro Martinez once told me one of his greatest weapons as a pitcher is the fear he instilled in the batter’s mind about being hit.

“If the batter is afraid of being hit, then I can pitch him any way I want,’’ Martinez said.

That’s the way it seems these days for David Wright even though he will never admit it. That’s all right, because what the mouth won’t say body language does, and there have been numerous times when Wright bails out.

We see him more turning away from the inside fastball rather than turning on it and ripping it to left. Once a pitcher knows he has the inside half of the plate, there’s no reason to go to the outside.

The Matt Cain beaning last season has had a residual effect of Wright, and it mostly is mental, which leads to bad physical habits.

I’ve seen Wright pull off pitches he used to hammer, and I see him get too anxious when he does get a ball on the outside half and middle. His swing is long with a noticeable uppercut.

Statistically, Wright has made enough contact to be on a pace to hit 32 homers and drive in 105 runs. He’s also on pace to strike out 223 times and hit for a .262, some 43 points below his career average.

Those aren’t the results Wright is seeking.

“If you don’t see the results a lot, you start pressing a little bit,’’ Wright said last night after his three strikeout game in Atlanta. “It’s tough when somebody is out there playing as poorly as I am right now, costing us both offensively and defensively.’’

Wright was having an off-year in 2009 even before the beaning, which some of it being written off as adjusting to the new stadium and him being on an island in the line-up. There was no Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado or Jose Reyes for much of this year. There’s no Beltran this year, Jason Bay has done nothing to protect Wright and Reyes hasn’t been on his game. The situations are very similar, as are the results.

Wright called baseball a “humbling” game and right now the man is humbled.

It all boils down to this, that regardless of the psychological and statistical theories, if Wright is the player the Mets and he believes himself to be, things have to dramatically change. These reasons, or excuses, for him not hitting must be pushed aside.

It could start with something small, like hitting a sacrifice fly instead of striking out.

Here’s tonight’s line-up”

Jose Reyes, SS
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jason Bay, LF
Ike Davis, 1B
Angel Pagan, CF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Henry Blanco, C
RA Dickey, RP

May 07

May 7.10: Chat Room, Game #29 vs. Giants: Limping home.

For the offensively challenged Mets, the Giants aren’t the team they’d like to see this weekend at Citi Field. Not with their pitching anyway.

Jonathan Sanchez against Mike Pelfrey tonight figures to be significant to the Mets on several levels, beginning with questions about the durability of the latter’s shoulder.

Pelfrey complained of tightness after being shelled last Saturday in Philadelphia, but he was cleared after a MRI and light bullpen session Wednesday.

The Mets will miss Matt Cain and Barry Zito this weekend, but will get Tim Lincecum Sunday.
The 17-10 Giants are fresh off a sweep of the Florida Marlins in which their rotation’s ERA was a sparkling 2.57 during the series.

The Mets limp home off a 2-4 road trip a 9-1 homestand. During that homestand Mets pitchers registered a 1.83 ERA and struck out 62-59 innings.

A major storyline during the last homestand was Jerry Manuel juggling the batting order by dropping Jose Reyes to third ahead of Jason Bay.

Despite dismal showings by both Reyes and Bay in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, Manuel will keep that line-up. Bay is hitless in his last 12 at-bats and has one homer and nine RBI on the season.

Here’s the line-up behind Pelfrey:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Ike Davis, 1B
Rod Barajas, C
Mike Pelfrey, RP

Apr 06

April 6.10: Wright steps up for his team.

David Wright spoke in basic, but his smile told a much more complex story.

First inning, Citi Field, yesterday afternoon and Wright was rounding the bases after hitting a two-run, opposite-field homer off Josh Johnson … his smile carrying him as much as his legs.

Wright, who seemingly talked himself out of hitting for power early in the season, and later that lost summer was felled with a concussion after taking a Matt Cain fastball to his head, had just gotten the Mets off to a fast start in turning the page from a disastrous 2009.

Could one swing of the bat set the tone for a summer?

“I don’t put too much stock into home runs,’’ said Wright, who hit only ten of them last year, one of them last Opening Day he was quick to remind when the “tone’’ word surfaced.

Logic says no, that Mets 7, Marlins 1, was simply one game, but the game gave us a glimpse of what could happen when Wright’s team puts it all together for an afternoon. Yesterday was a blue print of what needs to happen.

The Mets need pitching more than power and Johan Santana was superb. And, with their suspect rotation, they need the bullpen late and Fernando Nieve gave them two sterling innings and Francisco Rodriguez was perfect.

Last summer, the Mets hit a major league low 95 homers – the only team not to hit 100 – so their offense must generate runs and take advantage of what is offered. So many opportunities were wasted last year, but yesterday they parlayed three Florida errors into four runs. A gift, yes, but too many times last year they came away empty in similar spots.

The new guys, Gary Matthews, Jason Bay and Rod Barajas had two hits apiece, and Matthews showed he can cover center until Carlos Beltran’s return.

“I think it was an all-around good effort,” Wright said. “We caught the ball, we pitched well and obviously had some timely hitting. You can’t ask for much more than that, first game of the season.’’

Wright is correct, it’s only one game, but it’s better than if it had been one game the other way. For a team coming off two late season collapses and a free-fall summer, that played with frustrating mediocrity this spring, winning sure as hell beats losing.

“By no stretch of the imagination are we where we want to be right now,’’ said manager Jerry Manuel, who looks at winning in a more personal, job-preserving vein. “The important thing is that as you put the pieces into place that you win games.

“We played well. We played all 27 outs.’’

There will be times this summer when they don’t. All teams, even champions, have those moments. And, there will be times this summer when the smile Wright wore yesterday will be a frown.

But, it was finally nice to see him smile.

“It’s good to see David get started,’’ Jeff Francoeur said. “David has to step up. It has to be his team.’’

And, yesterday it was.

Sep 29

About Last Night ….

Last night was another puzzling and unfulfilling game for the Mets, who lost 2-1 at Washington. They faced a pitcher, Ross Detweiler, who started the game with a 0-6 record and 5.71, one you would have thought they could handle.

They didn’t, getting only seven hits.

FIGUEROA: Hard luck loser.

FIGUEROA: Hard luck loser.


And, you don’t often read this, but the Mets wasted a strong start by Nelson Figueroa, who is now 0-5 for the month of September. He could have won at least two of those games with a little offensive support. Figueroa has given up four runs in 13 innings in his last two starts, losing both.

It also wasn’t a good night for David Wright, who continues to struggle at the plate. He also committed an error and should have had two. Wright is hitting less than .220 since returning from the disabled list after he was beaned by Matt Cain.

Last night was the 90th loss of the season by the Mets, who were projected to get to, and win, the World Series by Sports Illustrated.

Sep 25

Not right for Wright ….

The games are down to a precious few now. Would have loved for it to be this way with each pitch meaning something instead of being one pitch closer to winter. The Mets are in Florida where they could eliminate the Marlins from contention, then go to Washington next week.

Yup, there will be a lot of fannies in the seats the next six games.

WRIGHT: A frustrating miserable season.

WRIGHT: A frustrating miserable season.


The Mets, who spoke gallantly of their expectations in April, and of turning it around in July, spoke of pride and salvaging their season – maybe even .500 – at the beginning of the month.

They can’t even speak of that now after 23 of their past 31 games.

“It’s obviously been a disappointing season,“ Wright said. “At the end of the year, I’ll try to look back and make some improvements, clear my mind and get ready for next year. But it’s obviously been a grind. There’s no other way to explain it.”

Even Wright, who tries to be as optimistic as possible, said ready for this root canal of a season to end: “There’s not many positives we can take away from this year as a whole. It’s not a learning process dealing with failure. I’m ready after that last out to turn the page and get ready for next year, because this hasn’t been fun for anybody. In fact, it’s been very disappointing.”

I disagree with Wright about this not being a learning process. I’m willing to bet he’ll change his mind about that later.

I would hope so, because of all the Mets, he’s the one who must make the most adjustments to his game. Wright has gone from a .300-30-100 player to one hitting 10 homers with 131 strikeouts.

Wright adjusted his approach to taking everything to the opposite field and being more aggressive earlier in the count. Ironically, whenever Wright had problems in the past he cured them by being cognizant of going the opposite way.

OK, part of it could be Citi Field, but mostly it was Wright letting Citi Field get into his head. He conceded to the park from the outset. Another factor is without Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado in the line-up, pitchers could work around Wright more than in the past. And, without Jose Reyes on the bases, he didn’t have that cumbersome problem of getting a lot of fastballs.

Except that one in the head thrown by Matt Cain.

Wright admits it is still on his mind. Next time you see Wright batting from the center field camera you might notice him bailing a bit or twitching at a breaking ball.

When Wright returned from the disabled list Sept. 1 he spoke of confidence in ending the season strong. He has not, hitting just .235 with only five extra-base hits and 26 strikeouts in 22 games.