May 22

Mets Lose A Tough One To The Pirates 5-4

The Mets jumped to an early 4-0 lead with their ace Johan Santana on the mound and pitching pretty good. It was supposed to be a recipe for success, but it ended up being a recipe for disaster instead.

The Mets committed three errors in the game including two by David Wright, but it was the botched fly ball in the eighth inning that led to this latest Mets defeat.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter had both entered the game as pinch-hitters in the top of the eighth and then both remained in the game with Baxter taking over in left field and Kirk in center. They nearly collided in center field chasing after a Neil Walker fly ball which bounced off Nieuwenhuis’ glove for a three-base error and allowed the Pirates to score a 5-4 victory.

Santana allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out seven over 6 1/3 innings. He didn’t figure into the decision.

The Mets did all their scoring in the second inning with the big hit coming off the bat of Justin Turner who ripped a two-run single with the bases loaded.

David Wright and Ronny Cedeno each had two hits in the game. Vinny Rottino started at first base and picked up a hit before being replaced by Ike Davis who struck out in both his at-bats.

The series continues Tuesday, with R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.75 ERA) facing off against James McDonald (3-2, 2.68) at 7:05 PM.

The Mets will have to shake this bad loss off and move on.

May 12

Frank Francisco Spoils Script; Dickey Starts Today

Frank Francisco proved again last night a team is as strong as its bullpen. When the door isn’t slammed, defeat walks through it, and last night the Mets’ winning streak was snapped at five.

A fifth straight comeback win, and six straight victories overall would have represented another step, but they’ll have to start from scratch now. The thing about this team is the feeling it can be done.

It was exciting to see the Mets rally again, getting key pinch-hits from Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter. With how the game began, it looked like a long night.

But the way the Mets fought back, working long counts and playing fundamental baseball was good to see. Lucas Duda hitting a grounder to the right side to advance David Wright; Nieuwenhuis coming back from two strikes; Mike Baxter running up the count before he delivered.

For the most part that is how the Mets have played lately and it reflected in the standings.

Then comes the bullpen, which I’m not sold on. Francisco already has two blown saves and two losses. There’s a reason why the Blue Jays let him go and we’ve seen glimpses of that already.

He’s another reliever that brings to the mound with him an uneasy feeling this might not be a pretty inning. He proved that last night.

The Mets attempt to rebound this afternoon with R.A. Dickey, who has been their most reliable starter. Ricky Nolasco pitches for the Marlins, so this could be low scoring.

 

Apr 24

Mets April 24 Lineup Against Miami

The Mets just posted tonight’s lineup:

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf

Ruben Tejada, ss

Daniel Murphy, 2b

David Wright, 3b

Lucas Duda, rf

Ike Davis, 1b

Mike Baxter, lf

Josh Thole, c

Johan Santana, lhp

LINEUP COMMENTS: With Jason Bay going on the DL and Ike Davis not hitting, David Wright is the logical clean-up choice. … Mike Baxter starts tonight in left.  … Johan Santana is coming off a career short outing in his his last start. He said he’s fine physically, but all eyes will be on him.

Mar 17

Santana on course

So far the brightest light in spring training has been Johan Santana’s return from shoulder surgery.

His numbers weren’t impressive in his last start, Thursday against Detroit, but that’s not what’s important three starts into spring training.

Santana’s recovery between starts has been pain free and he’s been able to maintain the five-day rotation. Also,  his velocity is gradually getting better. However, he’s still not satisfied with his control, but that will improve with his arm strength.

Santana was mostly at 87-88 mph. in his first start, but was a consistent 89 against the Tigers, and topped out at 91 on his 65th, and final, pitch of this outing.

“I’m feeling good,’’ Santana told reporters. “It’s a process and I’m building up.’’

The Mets are aiming for four innings or 75 pitches in his next start.

The Mets need a lefty hitting outfielder to come off the bench and are more likely to choose between Adam Loewen and Mike Baxter than scan the waiver wire at the end of spring training.

The Mets’ thinking is with so many more pressing needs, why invest in an area with so little potential payoff.

Jenrry Mejia, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, is reportedly on schedule for a May return. I’d bet the over.