The Mets honored Chipper Jones Friday night and he makes his last appearance in Flushing this afternoon. You can tell by his reception feelings toward him have mellowed. As they should. It’s one thing to jeer an opponent, sometimes viciously. However, in the end you have to admire how Jones played the game.
I covered Cal Ripken’s last game at Yankee Stadium and he got several standing ovations as the game went long and nobody knew when he’d take his last at-bat. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer in my book and I believe most Mets fans – perhaps grudgingly – have reached that acceptance. Honestly, in his last at-bat I hope he gets a standing ovation.
In other Mets Matters:
* Jeremy Hefner was rocked yesterday, but he’s shown enough to warrant another couple of starts. I don’t know where he fits in next year. That’s what this time is about.
* Chris Young starts today in hope of averting the sweep. Young is 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA and has been rocked lately. Like a lot of others, I don’t know where he fits in. There’s uncertainty in the rotation with Johan Santana and Dillon Gee coming off injuries and not knowing if they’ll return Mike Pelfrey. Young is a veteran, cheap alternative who can usually be counted on to give the Mets five innings. After that it gets dicey. They’ll look inside first, but I can see Young getting another contract.
* Triple-A Buffalo manager Wally Backman will join the team for the rest of the season. I think Backman is the next Mets’ manager after Terry Collins. Not sure how long Collins plans to manage. He’s gotten one extension and deserves another past 2013. I don’t want him to go into next year as a lame duck.
* GM Sandy Alderson admits it’s a long shot for Zach Wheeler to crack next year’s rotation. Just as well. Let him go into spring training with limited pressure and earn a spot.
* Jenrry Mejia is scheduled to start Sept. 19 against the Phillies. I hope the Mets finally has decided on his role as a starter. Have him already stretched out and if starting works out they can always switch him back. That’s an easier transition than bullpen to rotation.
Evidently, there is something else to look forward to seeing this season, and that is Jenrry Mejia starting for Johan Santana Thursday against the Rockies.
Santana will have the results of Tuesday’s MRI on his back tomorrow. The Mets haven’t officially shut down Santana for the season, but it is heading in that direction.
Santana has made 21 starts this season, and following the season’s high point in his no-hitter, he is 3-7 with an 8.27 ERA in his last ten starts.
* The Mets announced today a Kids Go Free ticket offer for the Mets-Rockies game Thursday, August 23 at 1:10 p.m. at Citi Field. Up to three children 12 and under will get free admission with the purchase of regularly priced tickets.
For the Kids Go Free ticket offer available via phone at (718) 507-TIXX and in person at the Citi Field Box Office, fans buying one adult ticket will get up to three complimentary kids tickets. or the ticket offer available online at Mets.com/KidsFree, fans may purchase a Family Four Pack that includes four tickets for the price of two.
For the ticket offer available online at Mets.com/KidsFree, fans may purchase a Family Four Pack that includes four tickets for the price of two.
All tickets must be picked up at Citi Field the day of the game and children must be present.
For more information, contact the Mets Ticket Office at (718) 507-TIXX.
Sometime this afternoon we could get a clearer reading on what’s to happen with Johan Santana for the remainder of the season: Do they keep running him out there are shut him down to give him a head start on preparation for 2013?
Currently, Santana is scheduled to start Thursday against Colorado with extra rest. If he comes through, the Mets might opt to keep giving him extended rest between starts.
What we need to remember is this has been a grueling rehab for Santana coming off shoulder surgery and his arm has already exceeded what it normally goes through in a regular season.
If Santana’s current problems are fatigue related, then shutting him down might be the prudent decision.
In other Mets’ news:
* It appears the Mets will lose ties with their Class AAA Buffalo affiliate, which is a shame as that locale makes it easier to shuttle players up and down.
Most disappointing is Buffalo is the Mets’ third Triple-A attachment in the past decade (Norfolk, Va., and New Orleans). Las Vegas could be next.
Word is Buffalo, like Norfolk, because disenchanted from the Mets’ lack of attention or promotion to their affiliates, not to mention a poor quality of play. Buffalo has a major league caliber stadium, so would it kill the Mets to play an exhibition game there (coming out of spring training) or even a regular season game? I would think a Mets-Pirates games would be attractive and fill the place.
Ideally, you’d like a strong relationship between the big club and its top minor league affiliate.
* The Mets open a stretch tonight of seven straight games against NL weaklings Colorado and Houston, the latter just sacked its manager.
“Well, we’re not exactly playing great right now,’’ Terry Collins said.
The Mets follow those two series with series at Philadelphia and Miami. So, this would be the Mets’ best opportunity to get on a roll to finish over .500. That’s still what I’d like for this team.
The Mets limped into the break and continued that luck into the second half.
It began with Dillon Gee undergoing shoulder surgery and continued with Frank Francisco aggravating his strained left oblique. He’ll be out indefinitely.
Then there was last night’s game, which began with a 36-pitch first inning from Chris Young, who gave up five runs in three innings.
Let’s take a look at them individually:
1. GEE: Underwent surgery Friday to repair an artery in his right shoulder in St. Louis and will be discharged from Barnes-Jewish Hospital on Tuesday or Wednesday. In all probability Gee is done for the year. Miguel Batista could take his spot in the rotation for a few starts and the Mets could dip in the minors for another starter. The odds are slim the Mets will make a trade, but if they do they won’t give up any of their highly touted pitching prospects such as Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler.
2. FRANCISCO: Oblique injuries, as the Mets learned with Jose Reyes, have a tendency to linger. While there doesn’t appear to be a drop off with Bobby Parnell assuming the closer duties, losing Francisco weakens an already thin bullpen. If the Mets do something prior to the trade deadline, it will be adding a reliever.
3. YOUNG: Last night was a serious red flag. Having already lost Gee, the Mets can’t afford a problem with one of their starters. They know Young is a five, six-inning starter tops. Last night he wasn’t even that good.