All too often this season, the Mets gave up the ground, confidence and groove they’ve had at home once they hit the road.
Only this time, the Mets aren’t going to San Diego or Philadelphia, but Baltimore to face the horrible Orioles and then on to Cleveland.
The talk-shows have already given the Mets a 4-2 or 5-1 trip before heading into Yankee Stadium a week from today.
It doesn’t work that way. You have to play the games first and the Orioles have beaten the Yankees twice and beat up the Red Sox in a series.
If what Jerry Manuel said is correct, that the Mets alter their offensive approach on the road because of some of the smaller stadiums, they have to be doubly careful this weekend, beginning tonight, at cozy Camden Yards.
Maybe the Mets will score for him today. The Mets, winners of nine straight home games, haven’t been supportive of their ace.
Games #59/60 vs. Padres
Johan Santana has been marvelous, throwing 15 straight scoreless innings over his last two starts, but having nothing to show for it. In his last start, he threw seven scoreless at San Diego, but the Mets went on to lose 5-1 in 11 innings.
Santana’s ERA over his last five games is 0.74, but the Mets have given him two or fewer runs in four of them. Santana has four victories, but with a little support he could have eight. Easy.
Santana will start Game 1 of the day-night doubleheader at Citi Field and Jon Niese will start the second game.
John Maine will get another chance to join the Mets’ rotation, but one has to wonder if that would be the case if Hisanori Takahashi hadn’t spit the bit his last two starts.
MAINE: Feeling better
After two strong starts, the last two have found Takahashi being mauled. In his last start against the Marlins, Takahashi hit a wall around the fifth. Even in his two strong starts, he struggled to get through six.
The Mets think he’s better out of the bullpen.
“We like Takahashi as a pitcher,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “We think we have lost something in the bullpen when he’s a starter, so that’s a scenario that could work if and when John Maine is healthy and we feel he’s ready to be part of the rotation.’’
Maine threw a simulated game last night, and if he’s pain free today will make a minor league rehab start. Then it’s back into the rotation.
It didn’t look like that would be the case last month when Manuel yanked him at Washington after throwing only five pitches. The two got into it in the dugout and Manuel pulled Maine from the rotation, insisting something was wrong. An MRI then revealed shoulder tendinitis.
A strikeout machine for much of this season, David Wright enters tonight’s game against the San Diego Padres on a big-time tear, with 13 hits in his last 25 at-bats – most of them scalded.
During that span Wright only struck out four times, three of them last Wednesday at San Diego. He did not strike out during the Florida series.
Wright said he was all over the place earlier this season, but has become more selective over the past week not chasing the sliders away. He’s also been quicker with the bat and getting to the inside fastball.
There’s no question out of necessity the Mets rushed Mike Pelfrey, but it says a lot about him that he was able to learn and not let the frustrations of a 3-8 season in 2007 sabotage his development as it would with many young pitchers.
PELFREY: Goes for fifth straight win tonight.
Pelfrey appeared to find himself in 2008, but regressed last year to the point where he was mentioned in trade rumors. Pelfrey, simply, was a mess with some hideous moments, such as a three-balk afternoon in San Francisco.
He still had all the good things in his scouting report, such as a power fastball, but it was outweighed by a propensity for not being able to finish off batters or innings.
When things got tense, Pelfrey got tight and small threats mushroomed into big innings. When they unraveled for him, he was all over the place.
When he struggled this spring, some speculated he’d be better off in the minor leagues – I had that thought – but Pelfrey promised he was working on things and would be better.