Sep 17

This Day in Baseball History

Looking Back

Looking Back

When things are as bad as they have been with the Mets, one might as well look back at a good time. Last night’s loss was typical of how this season has gone, from poor managing to inept playing.

However, on this date in 1986, the Mets clinched the NL East with a 4-2 win over Chicago at Shea Stadium on a Dwight Gooden 6-hitter. The Mets went on to win 108 games that season, the most in the league since the 1975 Reds.

The Mets survived the NLCS with a dramatic Game Six victory over Houston, and used Game Six in the World Series to stay alive – “and the ball gets by Buckner” – to beat Boston.

Two years earlier on this date, Gooden struck out 16 batters for the second straight start, but balked home the winning run in the 8th inning in a 2-1 loss to the Phillies. It marked the fifth straight start in which Gooden struck out at least 10.

I saw Gooden pitch several times and there was such an electricity at Shea whenever he took the ball. Every start you wondered if this would be the one where he’d throw a no-hitter. He never did for the Mets, but did for the Yankees.

If you have a favorite Gooden moment, or memory of the 1986 team, let’s hear them.

Sep 16

Glad Parnell is going tonight

PARNELL: More on the job training.

PARNELL: More on the job training.

After Jerry Manuel’s song-and-dance about not knowing if Bobby Parnell would stay in the rotation, I’m glad to see he’s starting tonight. I don’t even care if he gets lit up, I just want him out there to learn.

He’s been on the major league roster all year, and he’s pitched with success, albeit most of it in a relief role. But, this is the opportunity for him to learn how to pitch out of trouble if not avoid it entirely.

The point was made last night about diminishing his value like that of Daniel Murphy. I’m not buying because Parnell has too good an arm for the Mets to be thinking about trading him.

I think Manuel waffling hurts Parnell’s confidence more than him getting hammered.

He should stay because these remaining few games is about learning what certain players are capable of in the planning for next year, and certainly Parnell has a better chance of starting in 2010 than the rest of the current rotation, save Mike Pelfrey (who really does need saving).

He should get two more starts after tonight, maybe three, and the larger the sampling the better.

He could get his butt handed to him tonight as most Mets pitchers experience in Atlanta, but that’s better than having it planted on the bench.

Sep 15

Mets Chat Room: Game #144; Nothing to play for edition.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Fred Wilpon’s goal when hiring Omar Minaya was for the Mets to play meaningful games in September. That ended with Sunday’s double-header loss at Philadelphia. The Mets are playing for answers and pride, and that’s about it. Some individuals have statistical motivations, and, of course, the Mets are playing to sell more hot dogs and T-shirts.

The Mets (63-81) need to run the table to finish at .500. Guess what?

The Mets are in Atlanta tonight to face the Braves, who are 7.5 games with 19 remaining, are close to seeing their season end. What’s working against Atlanta is that the Mets aren’t in first place. Cruel, but a degree of truth.

Turner Field has not been kind to the Mets recently, as they’ve lost 11 of their last 15 games there, with the Braves hitting .337 in the victories.

Pat Misch (1-2, 3.86) will start tonight for the Mets. Misch is looking to rebound from a horrid start against Florida in which he gave up five runs in six innings, including two homers. Misch has a 3.00 ERA in four relief appearances against Atlanta.

NOTEBOOK: Francisco Rodriguez is not be available tonight due to the birth of his twins in New York.

Sep 15

Pitching issues should determine Delgado’s fate with Mets.

Carlos Delgado had arguably of the best offensive seasons in Met history last year, with much of the production coming in the second half. It is tempting to look at the numbers and hope he can do it again.

I wouldn’t underestimate Delgado, and wouldn’t be shocked, but I would have to be conservative on this one. At his age, his injury history, and this year, if pushed I would bet against such a comeback.

The Mets can bring Delgado back at any time because the rosters have expanded, but they haven’t. Not even for a token PH appearance. I don’t see it happening based by the playing time Daniel Murphy is getting.

The Mets are hoping with maturity and increased knowledge of National League pitchers, Murphy will be able to increase his home run and RBI numbers, which would preclude the need for Delgado. Considering Murphy’s improvement after a slow start, it is not an unreasonable assumption.

Clearly, a healthy Delgado would be a better choice for a team with pennant aspirations, but considering their myriad of issues and needs, the Mets have to realistically evaluate whether they can even be a contender next season. And if not, what’s the point of having him around, even for $10 million?

They definitely can’t think of themselves as a contender, even with a healthy Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes with the current state of their pitching. OK, Johan Santana is likely to be fine, maybe so will Oliver Perez. However, Perez, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine are all serious questions. Given that, the Mets need to add two, maybe three quality starters.

Should they even be so bold to go after the Cubs Carlos Zambrano, who reportedly will be shopped this winter, that might not be enough. Zambrano comes with his own baggage, including a $50 million contract and two trips to the disabled list this summer. He’s no given, either.

The best FA pitcher is John Lackey, but he also has an injury history. The rest of the FA list includes Rich Harden, Randy Wolf, Jarrod Washburn, Jason Marquis and Joel Pineiro. You can also add Pedro Martinez, Doug Davis, Jon Garland, John Smoltz, Brad Penny, Erik Bedard, Ben Sheets.

The Mets had their chances at Harden, Wolf, Marquis and Pineiro, but either weren’t willing to pay enough in talent or dollars. Will they go down that path again?

The passed on re-signing Martinez. Smoltz, Bedard and Sheets have their own injury histories. Penny might be intriguing, but the Mets also passed on him.

And, let’s face it, the Mets don’t have enough resources to trade for Roy Halladay.

When look at those factors, can you really see the Mets dramatically improving over the winter?

Probably not, so why invest in Delgado? Murphy will do for another year until Ike Davis is ready.

It is better to get younger, save a little money, and yes, maybe even improve the clubhouse chemistry.