Sep 09

Tonight’s batting order vs. Fish

On Free Hot Dog Night at Citi Field, the Mets will send Pat Misch (1-1, 3.25 ERA) to the mound against Ricky Nolasco. In three starts since joining the rotation, Misch has given up three earned runs in 18 innings and three starts since August 23.

Here’s the line-up taking aim at Nolasco (10-8, 5.27 ERA):

Angel Pagan, LF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Josh Thole, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Pat Misch, LP

will start for the Mets. Misch has been a pleasant surprise since being placed in the starting rotation.
Ricky Nolasco will start for the Marlins. It has been an up and down season for Nolasco, a low point coming on August 12 against Houston when he allowed 10 runs in 3 1/3 innings. He has been mostly ineffective against the Mets this season, as he has allowed eight earned runs in 10 innings in two starts, posting an 0-1 record.
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Sep 09

Maine has test tomorrow.

Of all the injured Mets who had a chance of returning this season, seeing John Maine again was easily the most important.

Billy Wagner returned, showed he was healthy and sent the Red Sox. We are finally seeing Carlos Beltran, although he might still be gimpy. Mets doctors say Johan Santana and Oliver Perez should make successful recoveries from surgery and be ready for spring training.

MAINE: As fragile as his bobblehead doll.

MAINE: As fragile as his bobblehead doll.


Then again, that’s what they said about Maine.

Maine, on the disabled list since June 7 with a pinched nerve in his throwing shoulder, will throw a simulated game tomorrow, and barring any complications, start the second game of Sunday’s double-header at Philadelphia.

“It feels good,’’ Maine told reporters yesterday. “Strength-wise, it’s not quite 100 percent. But as far as the pain, it’s just not there. I think with a good off-season, I’ll be able to put it behind me. It should go away and should be fine.’’

The operative word being off-season. If Maine somehow didn’t pitch again this year, the Mets would have nothing to evaluate and might opt to non-tender him a contract. The risk being somebody else would take a chance on him and he’d bounce back.

Personally, I think they’ll tender the contract anyway because the money is rather small and would be for one year, and because the Mets don’t have that many minor league options, and they are unlikely to splurge on the free-agent and trade markets. The inclination wildly spend is not there. Look on whom they passed last winter (Derek Lowe and Randy Wolf).

However, should Maine make it out of Sunday’s 60-pitch audition without difficulty, he should get three more starts before the end of the season. Four starts is roughly a short spring training, but it this case it might be enough for the Mets to start formulating some plans.

Maine has as much to gain as the Mets by pitching in September, because if he proves he’s healthy, and the Mets inexplicably don’t tender a contract, he would enter the free-agent market.

If the Mets are able to pencil in Maine for one rotation spot, it would eliminate one of the many headaches the Mets will have to contend with this winter.

Although there has been some discussion about putting Maine in the bullpen, I don’t see the Mets using this window for that kind of experiment.

Sep 09

What’s wrong with Wright?

Sorry for getting out of the blocks late today. There was a job lead I needed to follow-up on and several phone calls that needed to me made. I was under consideration to cover Alabama football, but that didn’t pan out. Would have been interesting.

I’m working on several projects, one of which is ghost writing a book on martial arts. Very interesting subject. Once it is done, I’ll post where you can get a copy.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you guys again for last night’s blog. It is what I envisioned when I kept the blog going. It should be like a group of friends getting together at my house or a sports bar (better make it the bar, because I don’t want to pick up) with plenty of lively, challenging conversation. It was clean and civil. Some good-natured pokes, but isn’t that the way it should be when you’re with friends?

Most beat writer blogs are simply glorified message boards and chat rooms. Not much serious give-and-take. Intelligent conversation. Good job.

Thanks again.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.


i did want to talk about David Wright this morning. An absolutely horrible game last night. It’s OK, everybody has them. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays had horrible games, too. There was one error, but should have been two. A DP and a K with RISP. Wright gets a hit in one of those two spots and maybe the Mets win the game.

Wright is second behind Gary Sheffield (10) with eight homers. Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur could all hit more homers than Wright this year. There are other ways to win besides home runs, but the Mets aren’t doing any of them. If they played consistent, fundamental baseball and kept the line moving, advanced runners, and hit when the situation declares it, their lack of power could be tolerated.

But, they don’t, and they make too many mistakes defensively, and walk far too many hitters, that dig them into holes. Power is the great eraser, but the Mets don’t have the power to erase the kind of mistakes they are making on a consistent basis.

Wright has done something with his stance and is just not driving the ball as he used to. I don’t care if he hits .320 as long as there is some run production, but there is not.

There is NOT ONE explanation for what has happened to Wright. The altercation of his stance is a contributing factor, and he obviously doesn’t feel as if he could adjust without getting into a funk. That happens. There is the added pressure of being the only one of the core playing for much of the season, and that has taken a toll. There is also the perception of Citi Field not being a hitter friendly park, but that has changed as the season wore on. Plenty of home runs are being hit, just not by the Mets.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.


Yes, lack of protection in the batting order plays a part, but then again, Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds, went seasons without serious back-up and look at their numbers. In all fairness, Pujols and Bonds are elite players above Wright’s level.

Wright has run either hot and cold all season. His average is good, but there needs to be more RBI next to it, even without the homers. Some of that could be attributed to those hitting in front of him, but remember, Luis Castillo has had a good season.

Most perplexing to me about Wright has been the strikeouts. He has 115 already and is on a pace for 138 (a little over 24 percent of his at-bats). Conversely, he’s on a pace for 79 walks. He’s also on pace for career lows in homers (10) and RBI (71), yet, his .406 on-base percentage would be the second highest of his career.

Wright’s power out age might have been more acceptable had Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado stayed healthy. Nonetheless, Wright has established himself as a power run-producer. We can write this season off as a bad one, but he’ll get no such slack next season.

Wright is the face of this franchise, like it or not, and his job description is to hit for more power. Whether we blame Wright for being stubborn or hitting coach Howard Johnson is immaterial. Wright needs to make an overhaul of his stance and mechanics this winter and return to being a run producer. That’s his job.

Sep 08

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #138; Sweet revenge?

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

In each of the past two seasons the Florida Marlins put the finishing touches on a Mets’ collapse. The Mets can get a measure a sweet revenge with a three-game series beginning tonight at Citi Field.

In September of 2007, the Mets (62-75) lost 12 of their last 17 games to blow a seven-game lead to Philadelphia. Several Jose Reyes brain cramps highlighted the collapse, but the game most people will remember is Tom Glavine not getting out of the first inning in the season finale, which turned out to be his last game as a Met. Glavine further alienated Mets’ fans when he said he wasn’t “devastated,” by the loss. Glavine was speaking in the literal sense of the word, but emotionally charged Mets’ fans wanted no part of it.

GLAVINE: Sour taste in Mets' finale.

GLAVINE: Sour taste in Mets' finale.


Last season, the final at Shea Stadium, the Marlins took it to the Mets in the season finale again as they dropped 10 of their final 17 games to kick away a 3 1/2-game advantage over the Phillies. Not only did the Phillies win the NL East, but went on to win the World Series.

The Marlins (72-65) have won seven of 12 games this season against the Mets (including splitting six games at Citi Field) and including tonight, have six games remaining against New York.

Sep 08

Beltran ready tonight.

Carlos Beltran will be activated from the disabled list for tonight’s game against Florida. Beltran’s availability does nothing for the Mets for the remaining of the season in the standings, but is for his own peace of mind.

BELTRAN: Spring training was a long time ago.

BELTRAN: Spring training was a long time ago.


As much as I advocated shutting him down, if that does him some good in his preparation for 2010, then it is a good thing. A player’s psyche can be delicate, even for a player as gifted and experienced as Beltran. If he believes getting out there will alleviate the wondering this winter, then go for it.

By the numbers: The Mets were 35–33 with Beltran and 27-42 since going on the disabled list in late June.

Said Beltran: “I’ve been working to come back, so that’s my ultimate goal. I feel like I can come back and play. I’m ready.”