Jun 24

About Last Night ….

All those good feelings harnessed with Monday’s victory have been washed away by the rain. Getting two hits against Joel Pineiro will do that to a team. For a team not getting consistently good pitching, the Mets can’t afford to waste a strong performance such as the one Livan Hernandez gave them last night.

Three-fourths of the core is gone, and the last one standing – David Wright – is hitting, but without power. Consistent run production is lacking and there’s little help on the horizon. Gary Sheffield hasn’t played in three days, and that they are relying on his aching 40-year-old legs doesn’t do much on the optimism meter.

It was Pineiro last night. He was stifling and the Mets did little to work the count. Not that it would have mattered anyway because he was usually ahead.

The Mets must now play for one run whenever they get the chance, and they don’t get many. Bunt, hit-and-run, steal, hit behind the runner, take the extra base, work the count. Now, more than ever, the must play fundamental offense because they don’t have the eraser that can wipe it all clean with one swing.

As well as they played Monday, they still could have lost. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them lose tonight and even tomorrow with Johan Santana, who hasn’t been a sure thing since the San Francisco game a half-dozen or so starts ago.

The Mets have been extremely fortunate to be only 2.5 games behind the Phillies with how they have played this month. They could easily be seven or eight behind if the Phillies could win at home.

I get this gnawing feeling about the Mets, the same one I got the last two years, that they have this warped belief they can turn it on at will once they get all their parts back. It doesn’t work that way.

These are the Mets’ cards and they have to play them. They have to play as if there’s no help coming, because, after all, we don’t know if there is.

Jun 23

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #69; keeping it together.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

“We have to play in the fashion we did last night,” said Mets manager Jerry Manuel of how his team pieced together an impressive victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Mets played alert, aggressive baseball to back the strong pitching performance of Tim Redding. Tonight they’ll throw Livan Hernandez (5-1) at the Cardinals. Hernandez, as much as anybody, is responsible for the Mets only being 1.5 games behind the Phillies in the NL East.

It’s hard to believe the Mets are that close considering how they’ll played this month.

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Alex Cora, SS
Daniel Murphy, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Fernando Tatis, LF
Ryan Church, RF
Omir Santos, C
Fernando Martinez, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Livan Hernandez, RP

Jun 21

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #67; avoiding another series loss.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

When you keep losing series, you’ll never get on track and that’s where the Mets find themselves today against Tampa Bay. The Mets began the month trying to avoid a June Swoon. It has turned out that way, but lucky for them nobody else in the division has been able to run away.

It’s still winnable, but not if this continues.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier in the coming weeks with St. Louis, the Yankees and Phillies again, and Atlanta.

Especially discouraging is how the Mets have lost this year. There have been a lot of tough losses: the Murphy dropped fly in Florida that beat Santana; the Castillo dropped pop against the Yankees; the blown five-run lead against the Pirates; the Church game in LA where he failed to touch third base; yesterday’s loss to the Rays; and several others, including a couple of games in which they blew a three-run lead.

Championship caliber teams find a way to win these games and that’s something the Mets haven’t done with any consistency.

It has to change.

Jun 18

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #64; Hernandez goes for No. 6

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

When the Mets signed Livan Hernandez this spring, there were those who thought he’d be lucky to win six games, lucky even to make six starts.

He goes after No. 6 tonight in Baltimore, prompting the question: Where would the Mets be without him?

Hernandez is looking to rebound from Friday’s game against the Yankees in which he gave up three homers over 5 1/3 innings.Hernandez is 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA in five career starts against the Orioles.

Tonight’s line-up:

Alex Cora, SS
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Carlos Beltran, CF
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, DH
Ryan Church, RF
Omir Santos, C
Fernando Martinez, LF
Luis Castillo, 2B