Apr 27

More bright spots for the Mets.

The Mets are riding high with five straight victories, and tonight behind R.A. Dickey can climb out of last place in the NL East. Who would have thought that two weeks ago?

With a victory tonight at Washington, coupled with a loss by Atlanta, the Mets could finally be looking down at somebody in their division. Yes, small steps.

This winning streak hasn’t convinced us the Mets have reached contending status, but what it has done has made the team worth following again. Last night was especially important in that they found a way to win.

Chris Young was gassed early as three home runs indicated, but the Mets overcame blowing the lead and adding tack-on runs. They did not play as crisply as they have but still found a way to manufacture runs and a victory. And, they did it on the road against a team they are supposed to beat.

All this victories have come across teams they should win – Houston, Arizona and Washington – but this isn’t fishing, you don’t have to throw anything back.

Sure, you’d like to see the Mets beat the Phillies, Reds and Giants, but one step at a time. The important thing is they are finally taking steps.

Apr 26

Santana update. Could he be dealt?

The Mets arrive at Nationals Park this afternoon with the news Johan Santana’s rehab is progressing, but not to where the team is willing to put a definitive timetable on his return. And, it won’t until he starts throwing off the mound, and even then any date will depend on his pain threshold.

SANTANA: Positive update.

While the news is encouraging, I’m not counting on Santana being a viable pitcher this season, and that even if he does return it will take time before he rounds into form, if at all.

The goal for Santana is to recover from his surgery and regain his strength, however long it takes, and not worry about him going seven or nine innings. Just get out to the mound, period. The intent should be to get him ready for 2012, and if not, at least ensure he answers any health questions a contending team might have if it wants to pursue him in a trade.

Personally, I’m not holding out any hope Santana makes it through the rest of his contract uninjured considering he’s already had three surgeries since joining the Mets.

If I’m the Mets and I can pull off a trade, I’d jump on it. You have to considering their legal and financial restraints. They’ll have Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and probably Francisco Rodriguez off the books after this season. They would be lucky if they could add Santana’s contract to that list.

The plan is to continue throwing off flat ground – he’s currently at 100 feet – through May, then get on the mound followed by rehab games. Santana said this spring he wants to reach 180 on flat ground before getting on the mound.

Santana posted an update on his Twitter account.

The positive outlook is by the All-Star break, and pitching coach Dan Warthen said he’s hoping for a dozen starts.

The Mets spent their day at Walter Reed Army Medical Center this afternoon, with no reports so far of any no-shows. Last season, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran blew off the trip which is a favorite of owner Fred Wilpon. Beltran said earlier he would make the appearance.

 

Apr 24

Going for the sweep

All of a sudden the Mets are hot, aiming to sweep the Diamondbacks and go for their fourth straight victory.

The key has been solid starting pitching, and aided by Jason Bay, who has been hot since his return, and Ike Davis, who has homered in three consecutive games.

The Mets have received two strong starts from Dillon Gee and there have been rumblings he could stick in the rotation. So far, the weak link has been lefty Jonathon Niese (0-3, 5.87 ERA).

Gee could get another start, however, if the Mets opt to push back Chris Young, on the DL with tendinitis.

 

Apr 22

Mr. Pelfrey, this is your wake-up call.

Spring training is over, so it is time Mike Pelfrey start pitching like he means it.  Pelfrey is 0-2, but more indicative of how he’s pitched is his 9.72 ERA. If he wants to be considered a No. 1 pitcher, he must pitch like one.

PELFREY: Time to get going.

Pelfrey is coming off a 4-0 loss last Saturday in Atlanta in which he gave up 11 hits in five-plus innings. He fooled nobody.

And, it has been that way all season. Last year, Pelfrey saw the seventh inning in 17 starts. He’s yet to last that far this year.

There are two ways to look at Pelfrey’s body of work against the Diamondbacks. He’s 0-5 with a 6.69 ERA. The first way is he’s due for some success. The other is he could be in for more trouble tonight.

“You can’t feel sorry for yourself because nobody else in the league is going to feel sorry for you,’’ Pelfrey said. “I definitely have to be better.’’

Here’s Pelfrey’s supporting cast for tonight:

Jose Reyes, SS

Daniel Murphy, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Jason Bay, LF
Ike Davis, 1B

Mike Nickeas, C

Jason Pridie, CF

Not surprisingly, the Mets placed Angel Pagan on the disabled list this afternoon when he reported to Citi Field with persistent pain in his left side from a pulled muscle. I like that Terry Collins is not jockeying Beltran and kept him in right field.

Beltran is getting comfortable in right field, and it isn’t that he can’t play center anymore, but why put him through that?

By the way, the Mets aren’t the only team to have seen something in second baseman Brad Emaus. Colorado traded for him today after he cleared waivers and was returned to Toronto.

Chris Young will throw a bullpen session tomorrow and if all goes well he could start Tuesday at Washington. Meanwhile, Dillon Gee gets the start tomorrow.

To talk during the game, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left.

 

Apr 22

For one night all was well.

What a difference a well-pitched game makes. On consecutive nights the Mets received length from their starter to alleviate some of the burden from the bullpen. Tonight Mike Pelfrey will attempt to snap out of his miserable start.

Chris Capuano was superb last night, giving up a run in seven innings. He only walked two, which meant the game moved along at a crisp pace.

David Wright also snapped out of a 0-for-20 funk with a homer, double and three RBI. He’s not all the way back, but for one night at least played like an All-Star. The long loop that had been his swing during a stretch of 23 strikeouts in 73 at-bats seemed shorter and quicker.

Jason Bay went 1-for-4 in his return, but more importantly didn’t hurt himself. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Angel Pagan, who pulled a muscle in his left side. That’s a tricky injury so don’t expect him anytime soon. Such injuries usually land on the disabled list.

The Mets open a three-game series tonight against Arizona at Citi Field, with Pelfrey going against Joe Saunders.

I sure hope Pelfrey took notes last night on Capuano, who challenged hitters with his fastball and whose command was nearly flawless. Also vital was his quick pace. His tempo was up all night, and unlike Pelfrey when he struggles, Capuano didn’t labor.

One thing I’ve noticed about Terry Collins, is he sometimes writes a check with his mouth that his team can’t cash. For instance, last night he said he believes the Mets are capable of playing like they did every night.

Easy, Terry.