Sep 22

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #151; Nelson, oh boy.



Wouldn’t it be nice to see a real major league pitcher on the mound for the Mets? I hope ownership realizes a patchwork rotation won’t cut it next year.

We have, now don’t all scream at once, Nelson Figueroa going for the Mets tonight. I liked talking with Figueroa. A nice guy. I admire his determination and perseverance. I just don’t think he’s anything more than a No. 5 at best, and most likely, a long guy and spot starter. He does deserve a chance in spring training for those slots. If they are going into spring training with anything more than that, it won’t be a good sign.

Figueroa hopes to avoid losing his fourth straight start, and second in a row to the Braves. He gave up six runs in five innings last Thursday in Atlanta. Figueroa is 0-3 with a 6.61 ERA in September.

Overall, the Mets have lost 12 of their last 16 games.

MURPHY: Getting better.

MURPHY: Getting better.

One thing that has become apparent, is with the news Carlos Delgado is done for the year, that the Mets must be looking at Daniel Murphy as their first baseman for 2010. Murphy had two more hits last night, including a homer. Over the past 14 games, Murphy is batting .358 with three homers and 12 RBI.

“I like the way Daniel Murphy is swinging the bat,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “He’s really coming on.”

Murphy is showing more signs of pop as he gets to learn the NL pitchers better, and that’s encouraging. If he could reach 20 homers next year that would be a positive development. I believe he’ll continue to improve with the knowledge of the pitching and the more comfortable he becomes. He might never hit for awesome power numbers, but that’s not currently the Mets’ primary need.

As his average increases, and if he stays in one spot in the batting order, his run production should spike.

Sep 17

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #146; Wrapping up the Braves.



The Braves are still kicking and need a sweep of the Mets tonight to keep their slim playoff aspirations alive. The Mets’ season has long since died.

Nelson Figueroa comes off a decent start against the Phillies – two runs in 5 1/3 innings last Friday – to face the Braves. Those are decent numbers that could have been worse as he gave up nine hits and five walks. Figueroa has given up eight earned runs in his last four starts (23 1/3 innings), but because of the Mets’ anemic hitting is 1-3 in that span.

After last night, just how could things get worse for the Mets? We could find out tonight.

Sep 11

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #141; Should have meant something.



The Mets are in Philadelphia tonight for the start of a series that when the schedule was released, should have meant something. Frankly, it was just around the All-Star break when the feeling was surfacing the season would have a sour ending.

Before the end of July, it was obvious the season was lost.

The 2009 season is in its last breaths for the Mets, and manager Jerry Manuel tried to stress upon his team the need for finishing strong and upbeat. Manuel held a closed-door meeting prior to last night’s game and the team responded by getting blown out.

“I just wanted to be sure that we stay concentrating on what’s ahead,’’ Manuel said. “And, despite where we are in the standings, even though the end is very near, the quest for a championship continues.

“You have to try and prepare that mindset, despite the conclusion of the season being so close. There are enough players here who we feel are going to be a part of this, who still have to think in that mindset of championship.’’

The Class of the Division

The Class of the Division

Toward that end, Manuel wants to see an inspired series against the Phillies, but perhaps more importantly, he wants them to see and absorb how their nemesis plays the game. Usually, the Phillies play an alert, aggressive, fundamental brand of baseball, something the Mets frequently do not.

As gifted as the Mets think they are, and as dominant as they sometimes can be, too often they have this attitude where they can just throw their gloves on the field and just win. How the Phillies dissed the Mets last year in the playoffs with the Shane Victorino simulated home run trot of Jose Reyes, and Cole Hamels, “chokers,’’ comment, it is apparent they don’t respect Manuel’s team all that much.

More to the point, the Phillies know they can beat the Mets and simply believe like a hollow barrel, they make the most noise.

It would be nice to see the Mets play inspired ball this weekend. And, it is quite possible they might. However, it would be nicer to see them play inspired ball and finish the season that way. All too often, the Mets have spurted only to fizzle.

That’s not the makings of a championship caliber team, something the Mets have readily shown us the past three seasons.

MURPHY: Not a lot of happy moments this year for Mets and Murphy.

MURPHY: Not a lot of happy moments this year for Mets and Murphy.

The Mets (62-78) will send journeyman Nelson Figueroa (2-4, 4.74 ERA) against Hamels (8–9, 4.32 ERA).

As a makeshift starter, Figueroa has a 3.00 ERA in his last three starts with 20 strikeouts 18 innings. Hamels is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in two starts against the Mets this season, and for all his talk, has not defeated the Mets since 2006.

The weather is wet and bleak in Philly tonight, but the Phillies are saying the show will go on. Carlos Beltran will have the night off, presumably because of the wet turf. Also getting the night off is Daniel Murphy, which I don’t see. Don’t the Mets what to get a look at him in regards to their future plans and having him bat against a left-hander can be nothing but good for him.

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 1B
Nick Evans, LF
Omir Santos, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
Nelson Figueroa, RP

Sep 09

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #139; Misch tries to keep roll going.



The Mets’ decimated pitching rotation in tatters, it continues to be Mike Pelfrey and The Cast of Thousands, trying to see who that day can make it through five innings, or to touch the unimaginable — six innings.

Tonight’s starter, Pat Misch, Nelson Figueroa, Tim Redding and Bobby Parnell have all flashed positive signs that gives one pause to think, “maybe, must maybe, we have something here.”

Then it all goes a way in a flurry or walks and home runs, a reminder why these pitchers are journeymen to begin with. Of the four, Parnell has the best stuff and is the youngest. He has the best chance. He also needs experience. This year the Mets kept him to work out of the bullpen, then turned to him out of necessity. Next spring they should make a decision and stick with it, and that decision should be as a starter.

MISCH: Starts tonight vs.Fish

MISCH: Starts tonight vs.Fish

The others? Well, if Misch, Figueroa or Redding were in next year’s rotation, it would mean Omar Minaya didn’t have a good winter, somebody is still hurt, and count on another long year for the Mets.

Misch, Figueroa and Redding have shown enough positives to where they should be invited to spring training to compete for a long man role. Misch (1-1, 3.25) earned his first major league win Thursday at Colorado, giving up two runs (two solo homers) on four hits in seven innings of an 8-3 victory.

“The key was I minimized the traffic on the bases,” Misch said. “There wasn’t any one on when they got the home runs.”

The Mets will have Carlos Beltran in the line-up again tonight. Beltran was activated from the disabled list Wednesday and went 1-for-4 in his first game since June 21.

“It will probably take him a few games to really find his rhythm at the plate,” manager Jerry Manuel said of Beltran. “I think once that starts he will get on track, so to speak. He looked pretty good.”