Aug 11

Liking how Collins handled Niese

After winning the first two games of this series, coming away with a split is definitely disappointing. It’s not as if the Mets had a realistic chance to catch the Braves for the wild-card, but after losing seven of their last 10 they are now 10.5 games behind Atlanta.

NIESE: Keeps on growing.

After another one-run loss this afternoon (that’s 18 on the season), they are headed to Arizona and San Diego, where it won’t be easy. The Mets are at their point of the season where the goals are fundamental, such as finishing above .500 and making value judgments on the future.

With the latter, I liked how Terry Collins handled Jonathan Niese this afternoon. Collins gave Niese 122 pitches worth of rope and stuck with him in the eighth when most managers would have been seduced by the pitch count and gone the conventional route.

Most managers would have yanked Niese after Cameron Maybin’s leadoff single, and definitely after the stolen base. Then, after an intentional walk and double steal, Jerry Manuel might have been on his second reliever.

With runners on second and third, Collins gave Niese a strong vote of confidence and allowed him to pitch to Aaron Cunningham. Perhaps it was a vote of non-confidence in the bullpen, but this was important to Niese’s development.

Cunningham grounded a ball to Ruben Tejada, who, instead of getting in front of the ball, tried to one-hand it. The ball went off the heel of his glove and Niese was on his way to becoming the hard-luck loser.

Even so, Niese got the ground ball he needed, indirectly rewarding Collins’ confidence.

A couple of years ago teams called the Mets asking for Niese and they wisely eschewed. It was one of Omar Minaya’s better decisions.

Niese still has a way to go, but this was definitely something to build on.

 

 

Jul 16

Niese continues to shine; Hairston comes through.

The more he pitches, the better he gets. Even if he doesn’t know how to grow a beard, he’s showing he knows how to pitch.

NIESE: Getting better and better.

Without Johan Santana, the Mets don’t have an ace, but the closest they have is Jonathan Niese, who won his ninth game Saturday in an 11-2 rout of the Phillies.

Entering the season, it was thought Mike Pelfrey would continue to develop, but this has been a disappointing season for him. Conversely, Niese is making big strides, and beating the Phillies with seven strong innings was one of them.

Also a storyline was Scott Hairston, who homered and drove in five runs in an audition for the right field job in case the Mets deal Carlos Beltran, as they are likely to do.

Hairston was a late starter after Beltran came down with flu like symptoms. Beltran could sit again Sunday. Manager Terry Collins gave Hairston notice as soon as he got to the park, and unlike Jerry Manuel, didn’t wait until game time to make a decision. Hairston said that’s key for a role player.

“I found out I was in the lineup right away. It gave me a couple of hours to prepare,’’ Hairston said. “I’ve played in this role for the last few years. It’s a very difficult role. I rely on that experience.’’

While Beltran said he wants to play out his career with the Mets, it is expected the team will trade him as this is the final year of his contract, one that doesn’t offer arbitration which would give them compensatory draft picks.

Jun 28

Are the Mets’ handling Niese’s heart condition properly?

Just when the Mets start feeling good about themselves again, something happens that makes you scratch your head and wonder: “Can’t these guys use common sense for once when it comes to injuries?’’

NIESE: Where's the common sense?

A franchise notorious for mishandling injuries, they are raising concerns for how they are dealing with Jon Niese’s rapid heart beat.

Niese had a rapid heart beat pitching Saturday in Texas, and amazingly was allowed to stay in to face one more batter.

Niese was examined by a Rangers doctor, who didn’t find anything imminently concerning, but the Mets are waiting today for him to get an intensive medical exam with the team in Detroit.

Not only was Niese permitted to fly to Detroit from Dallas, but also to drive two hours to his off-season home in Ohio.

We could go on for hours about how the Mets have mishandled injuries, but in dealing with a heart issue, doesn’t it make sense to address it immediately?

Obviously, the Mets don’t consider the exam by the Rangers’ team physician all-inclusive, otherwise they wouldn’t be having him tested again. The odds are likely in Niese’s favor, but why take the chance?

There’s nothing to be gained by waiting and everything to lose. The new regime was supposed to handle things differently when it came to injuries, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Questions were asked after David Wright was allowed to play a month with back soreness that turned out to be a stress fracture. And, Ike Davis was supposed to be back in two weeks after an ankle sprain, but he could be out the rest of the season.

Waiting makes no sense. None.

Jun 15

Complaining about field helps Mets.

The Mets whining about the field last night might have been the turning point in the game. After Jose Reyes slipped leading off first, the Mets complained the field was too soggy and asked the umpires to have the grounds crew apply a drying agent.

REYES: Scoring in the first.

Reyes promptly stole second and scored, which turned out to be a big play as the Mets won by one run.

Although this worked out for the Mets, I don’t really like it. So the Braves watered down the infield to slow down Reyes. Get over it. It’s gamesmanship and teams have always tailored their field to their own advantage.

Wear the metal spikes Jose and move on. To complain makes the Mets look like whiners.

Teams have forever let the grass grow in the infield to slow down ground balls, sloped the baselines to help their bunters and watered down the infield to slow the opposition.

 

Ron Darling made an interesting comment when he said are they going to next make them cut the grass.

Continue reading

Apr 13

Niese tries to right Mets tonight.

It is one thing to lose, but another to give the game away as they did Monday night against the Rockies. The Mets are playing with little margin for error these days, especially against superior teams such as Colorado and Atlanta later this week.

On Monday, Mike Pelfrey threw 113 pitches in 5.1 innings, and the bullpen imploded, highlighted by poor throws from relievers Ryota Igarashi and Bobby Parnell to the plate that kept innings alive.

“The fight is still there, but we’ve got to stop making mistakes,’’ said manager Terry Collins, singing the same refrain heard from most losing teams.

Jon Niese will start tonight and must give the Mets innings as to take them away from the bullpen, which during the current slide of five losses in six games is 0-3 with a 6.57 ERA.

Niese is coming off a rocky start, giving up six runs on eight hits in four innings in an 11-0 loss at Philadelphia.

To talk during the game, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left.