A year of Jerry
Today is the one-year anniversary of Jerry Manuel taking over as manager of the Mets.
The Mets are basically the same place they were last year at this time, which is struggling to contend, but they are contending. It is very easy to say that had the Mets all their parts they could be in first place ahead of the Phillies. Losing Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, JJ Putz, Oliver Perez (the good Ollie) and John Maine has to amount to a handful of losses.
I’m not crazy about the inconsistency of the line-up, but I understand most of that is because of injuries. The use of some players has been puzzling, most notably Daniel Murphy. If you believe he’s your first baseman of the future, then put him there and leave him there. Scap the platoon with Fernando Tatis.
I’ve never understood the dynamic of his relationship with Ryan Church. Something isn’t right there. There are also some bullpen moves I don’t understand, such as sitting Brian Stokes for over a week.
Overall, he’s done more good than bad. They are hitting better with runners in scoring position – the numbers bear that out – but there seems to be too many instances of lackadaisical play, where balls aren’t run out and at-bats are given away. That has to get better.
Overall, what do you think of Jerry’s job over the past year. Do you approve? Disapprove? What do you like? What don’t you like?
Tonight’s game with the Pirates has been rained out, and despite this being their last trip to Pittsburgh, there will not be a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon.
That means a rushed trip to Pittsburgh in August or September when the Mets will need the day off. It’s just as well they aren’t playing as they need a breather. This is a bruised and battered team and the bullpen needs a rest.
Around the Horn ….
-Tom Glavine was released by the Braves which begs the obvious: Would you take him back to add some depth to the rotation which still has some issues. Glavine underwent elbow and shoulder surgery in the offseason, but said he’s ready and will pitch again this season.
-Assistant GM John Ricco said Jose Reyes experienced pain again in his calf during an extended spring training game today and will return to New York for additional tests. Translation: He won’t be back any time soon. I can’t see him back for the Philadelphia series.
-Manager Jerry Manuel said Gary Sheffield will not play during tomorrow. He’s still nursing his leg. He didn’t run well at all the other night.
-Manuel also said JJ Putz will move to the seventh inning. Hardly earthshattering news.
-Ryan Church played in an extended spring training game and says he’s feeling better. He might be ready to be activated for the Phillies series.
-Oliver Perez threw off flat ground today but there’s no timetable for his return.
Tim Redding goes tonight for the Mets at Los Angeles. I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled. Redding just personifies the Mets’ lingering rotation problems. It is not a deep rotation, with Johan Santana the only starter providing consistent innings.
There’s promise with Mike Pelfrey and John Maine, but there can be no assumptions with either. Livan Hernandez is good for five only, which taxes the bullpen. Oliver Perez? Well, so far he hasn’t been good for anything, and there’s no promise he’ll ever snap out of it.
The Mets won three of their first four games on this trip, but there remain flaws with this team. The pitching match-ups in the Dodgers series favors Los Angeles, and from there the team heads to Boston for three. This isn’t a critical stretch, but it is very important as they go head-to-head with playoff caliber teams. The Mets will be tested over the next six games and their flaws will be revealed.
No, not for a minute do I believe the Mets’ winning streak is tied to GM Omar Minaya’s comments about some of his players lacking a certain “edge” to them.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the last game the Mets lost was one started by Oliver Perez that Saturday afternoon in Philly. The Mets came back to make a game of it before losing on a bases loaded walk from Sean Green.
From then on, they’ve played the way they said all along they were capable of.
The Mets are 12-3 when they get a quality start, which by definition – three runs in six innings – is kind of mediocre when you stop to think about it. Mets starters are 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA in their last seven starts.
When a team pitches well, and that should continue tonight with Johan Santana, then everything else falls into place. There’s less pressure on the offense and less strain on the bullpen. Games are crisper, smoother and played with a certain – what’s the word I’m searching for? – edge if you will.
The Mets are playing aggressive, alert baseball, and there are no worries about heart or calls for leadership.
Once the pitching goes in the tank again, and there will be a stretch when things don’t click again, we’ll hear about “edge” and grit and leadership.
There’s always news of some kind when the Mets are in Atlanta. Last year, for example, marked the beginning of the end for Willie Randolph and was also the site of Ryan Church’s concussion.
Word is Oliver Perez will be demoted to the bullpen, with the team eschewing the minor league and DL options.
Oh yes, Carlos Delgado returns tonight.