Aug 24

About yesterday …. no moral victories.

An unassisted triple play is rarer than a perfect game, and rarer still is for one to end a game.

Somehow, it was the perfect way to end a game in this imperfect season.

Before we get carried away about the Mets’ character in coming back from a 6-0 first-inning deficit – and it was an important aspect of the game – we must first acknowledge the game was a microcosm of this season, and to some degree their off-season and this weekend.

On a grand scale, the Mets had high expectations heading into the season, and this was supposed to a magical weekend with the honoring of the 1969 Mets. However, injuries and poor play sabotaged the season, and the grandest team in franchise history was treated to the spectacle of bad baseball. Does anybody really expect Bobby Parnell to out-pitch Cliff Lee to salvage a split.

As injuries have sidetracked this season, there is no telling what might have happened had the Mets even had one of their core bats in the game let alone for. Mets fans will forever be haunted by the what could have beens from this season.

Even still, there are 25 professional players on the team, but despite their spirited comeback, they played to the themes that really have cost the Mets this season: poor starting pitching and situational hitting, and overuse of the bullpen. There was also a questionable managerial decision or two.

Oliver Perez gave up six runs and didn’t get out of the first in another dismal performance that brought to questions of whether he’ll ever tap into his potential, and why the Mets bothered to re-sign him in the first place. As the home runs flew it was a reminder of the organization’s inability to fix its greatest need in the off-season.

Yes, it was an exciting comeback and excruciating ending, but let’s not forget the Mets twice had a runner on third with less than two outs and couldn’t score and they were hitless in their first eight at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Perez’s inexcusable outing piled 8 1/3 innings onto a bullpen that needs the rest. Three runs in that span is acceptable, but not when one of them is on a wild pitch. Sean Green, an off-season acquisition that was supposed to bolster the pen, has had a terrible season.

One thing preyed on my mind as Perez’s pitch count mounted to Jason Werth: This guy is going to hit a home run.

How could Jerry Manuel not be thinking the same thing? And, as Perez continued to struggle, it became apparent he wasn’t going to turn it around, so why keep him in to give up a second three-run homer?

Kind of makes you wonder what Manuel saw on the ball-three pitch to Pedro Martinez that he missed earlier.

Yes, the Mets showed some degree of pride yesterday in coming back. Perhaps they were so fed up and embarrassed about Perez. Whatever the reason, what’s left of this team has to maintain what’s left of this season.

It’s not impossible, but .500 or even a winning record is attainable and should be the goal. Reaching it would mean an improvement in play, including fundamentals, which have been sorely lacking.

Let’s face it, the Mets are playing for next year, and that begins now.

Aug 23

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #124; Yawn … Pedro is back.

Pedro Martinez is back. He’ll get cheered, but frankly, I don’t see the attraction. He was a mercenary who came to New York because, 1) the Red Sox didn’t think he was healthy or worth the effort anymore, and 2) for the money, $53 million worth.

MARTINEZ: Hired gun returns.

MARTINEZ: Hired gun returns.


Martinez was a marquee player on the downside when he came here and won 32 games in four years when he was healthy enough to pitch.

Anyway, Martinez against Oliver Perez today.

Here’s the line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, CF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Brian Schneider, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Oliver Perez, LP

Aug 18

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #119; Braves in town.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Old punching bag Ryan Church is in town with the Atlanta Braves which means a lot of David Wright questions about concussions. The Mets didn’t handle the Church injury well last season, but to his credit Church said he felt he could play and never backed off those statements. He could have done a lot of bitching and moaning but never did.

There was always a lot of anticipation to Braves at Mets, but the only suspense this time is wondering if the 55-63 Mets could fall 10 games below .500 if they were to be swept.

A couple of starts ago he was the Good Ollie in San Diego, but Oliver Perez, as has been his history, took a step back in his last start against Arizona with six walks in 5 1/3 innings. More disturbing is Perez’s attitude that “walks are part of the game.” Well, so is getting outs. He ought to try that for a change.

Year One of the three-year, $36-million bust of a contract. Re-signed for his physical gifts, Perez’s downfall has been his inability to focus and to drift away from his mechanics, which lead to wildness and frequently the big inning. There are days when you can’t touch him and other days when you’d like to wring his neck.

And, tonight?

I don’t have the vaguest idea. He is 6-4 lifetime against the Braves, which is promising, then I look at Derek Lowe and the line-up he’ll be facing. Only one player, Luis Castillo, is at his Opening Day position.

Here’s the line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Oliver Perez, LP

Lowe (12-7, 4.08 ERA), whom the Mets by-passed to re-sign Perez, has won four consecutive decisions, and hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in a start since July 5. He is 2-2 lifetime against the Mets.

Aug 12

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #114; Perez tries to stop slide.

The Mets close their so-far 1-5 road trip this afternoon in Arizona with Oliver Perez. Giving the ball to Perez to stop a losing skid doesn’t seem like such a comforting thought, but that’s what he did in his last start at San Diego.

Oliver Perez (2-3, 6.38) will toe the rubber for New York looking to build on perhaps his best performance of the season.

In a rare solid start, Perez gave up one run on two hits with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. However, closer Francisco Rodriguez threw it away when he gave up five runs, including a walk-off grand slam, in a 6-2 loss at San Diego on Friday.

Perez started against Arizona, Aug. 1, giving up three runs and walking five in five innings and didn’t get a decision.

David Wright, who struck out last night to end the game as a pinch-hitter, should be back in the line-up today. In an interesting note, manager Jerry Manuel said he’d like to see Gary Sheffield return.

I’m cool to the idea. I think the Mets have gotten the most they can out of Sheffield and don’t see a substantial improvement next season.

Aug 12

About last night …. Hernandez hits wall

Livan Hernandez has had his moments this year, and he might again. But, right now he has hit a wall. Hernandez was supposed to be an innings eater, and earlier in the season he was, but he’s getting ripped now.

We know he was a stop-gap, as most No. 5′s are, but he’s not stopping anything lately. As of now, the Mets should be looking for at least two starters in the off-season. The givens are Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and sad to say, Oliver Perez.

The Mets aren’t going to get anybody to take Perez’s contract, and for that kind of money, you don’t go into the bullpen unless you’re a top-flight closer.