Sep 11

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

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

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 01

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #132; Wright returns.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

As for as the good news is concerned, David Wright will return to third base after spending the past two weeks on the disabled with post concussion syndrome.

The plan is for him to play tonight and tomorrow and rest Thursday afternoon before the Mets’ return to Citi Field for a weekend series with the Cubs. After the Ryan Church incident last season, the Mets will play this one very cautiously. They were ripped for not having a plan and rushing Church to play.

WRIGHT: Returns from beaning tonight.

WRIGHT: Returns from beaning tonight.


Wright was placed on the disabled list less than 24 hours have he was struck in the head, Aug. 15, by a Matt Cain fastball.

“I think it will take care of itself,’’ Wright said. “I’m just going to make sure I walk before I run. I don’t expect any trouble getting back in the box. I guess the ultimate test will be if I get another pitch up and in. But I’m not going to worry about it.’’

Wright is having a peculiar season at the plate. He leads the Mets with a .324 average, but after hitting 33 homers last year only has eight this season. His RBI total is also down at 55.

The Mets, who have lost seven of their last nine games will go with the erratic Mike Pelfrey (9-9, 4.80), who has been hot against the Rockies with 20 consecutive innings against them spanning three starts.

Pelfrey is coming of a 5-3 loss at Florida in which he gave up five runs on 11 hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Here’s the Mets order tonight:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 1B
Nick Evans, LF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP (1-3, 5.40)

Aug 28

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #129; Reyes might need surgery.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Jose Reyes has been on the disabled list for months and the Mets are only announcing today he might need surgery on his knee. Well, that’s a shock. It’s hard to believe when this first happened in mid-May when the Mets were in San Francisco the prognosis was he’d miss only a few days.

In retrospect, Reyes could have had surgery weeks ago. Is it a stretch to say he “should” have had surgery? Perhaps. Hamstrings are always tricky injuries and the Mets gambled, and obviously lost, he’d be able to return this year. However, it became increasingly clear he would not come back, and manager Jerry Manuel even conceded that point.

The Mets released the following statement this afternoon: “Jose Reyes continues to receive physical therapy for a torn hamstring tendon behind the right knee. Should he not respond to the physical therapy, surgery is an option.”

REYES: Could go under the knife.

REYES: Could go under the knife.


Let’s face it, surgery is inevitable. The sooner, the better, so he’ll be ready by spring training. And, we know being ready for spring training isn’t the same as being ready for the season.

Meanwhile, David Wright is scheduled to come off the disabled list from post concussion syndrome Monday when the Mets are in Colorado. Manuel said the Wright might not be physically ready to immediately play and is no hurry to push the envelope on his return. Wright is getting antsy, but must look at the big picture, that his health is the primary concern of the team, and with the competitive aspect of this season long over, there’s no reason to push him.

From the confidence level of returning from a beaning, it probably is important for him to get to the plate again this season and not wonder over the winter, but there is time.

Wright said he was embarrassed to go on the disabled list, but he needs not be. He’s a gamer in every sense of the word, and after watching what happened last season with Ryan Church he should be patient. It must be remembered Wright has not had any rehab games and should be eased back, after all, the Mets don’t want to take the chance he might hurt something else.

The Mets will be without Gary Sheffield (back spasms) again today. That’s three straight games.

The Mets (58–70) begin a three-game series at Chicago (63-62) this afternoon with Pat Misch going against Ted Lilly.

Here’s the line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Omir Santos, C
Cory Sullivan, LF
Wilson Valdez, SS
Pat Misch, LP

Misch (0-1, 4.09 ERA) will make his first start of the year after throwing four scoreless innings last Sunday against Philadelphia.

Aug 27

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #128; Can’t anybody here play this game?

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

It was the Mets’ first season when Casey Stengel asked: “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

It has proven a timeless quote, as the same question must be asked this season. Sure, there have been injuries that crippled this year, but even so, the Mets should be better. As much as they miss David Wright, John Maine, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, and now Johan Santana, they are also missing something else. They are missing the intangibles possessed by all winning teams.

The Mets have given up on the season and you can see it in their faces. You can also see it in their efforts and attention to details and fundamentals. Part of this responsibility must be assumed by Jerry Manuel, who has not always cracked the whip. He treats his players like men, assuming they will focus, not like the minor leaguers they often resemble.

The Mets don’t consistently do what winners do. They don’t take the extra base. They don’t advance runners. Manuel said it himself, they habitually leave runners on third with less than two outs. They give away far too many at-bats.

Defensively, and we saw this last night, they don’t consistently execute the double play and often give the opposition extra outs. Some of this is due to players, such as Daniel Murphy, learning new positions. But, Luis Castillo has played second for a long time.

And, the pitching. Injured as it is, walks far too many batters and doesn’t finish them off when they are ahead in the count. Staggering are the number of two-strike and two-out hits, and pitches left over the plate.

And, it isn’t all Oliver Perez, either. Mike Pelfrey, a supposed rotation stalwart of the future, has taken a step back.

STENGEL: Would he be mystified?

STENGEL: Would he be mystified?


This is not a healthy team, but it is also not a fundamentally sound team, either. You are what you are, and the Mets aren’t a good team. They have been a study in creative losing.

They are in Florida today, the site where Murphy dropped the fly ball that beat Santana. … There was blowing the five-run lead to the Pirates. … The Ryan Church game in LA. … The Castillo pop-up. … The triple-play game. … The wild-pitch loss in Philly.

As Stengel once said, and we can repeat it this year: “Been in this game one-hundred years, but I see new ways to lose ‘em I never knew existed before.”

They have lost five straight and are on the verge of being swept today by the Marlins. Standing in their way is, gasp, Tim Redding, and this line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Wilson Valdez, SS
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, 2B
Tim Redding, RP

Aug 24

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #125; Phillies series mercifully ends.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

We begin the day with more injury news, of course. Jeff Francoeur is at the Hospital of Special Surgery getting a MRI on his thumb, which was injured making a catch in the ninth inning yesterday. Also, David Wright was taking ground balls.

Bobby Parnell will make his fourth start in the experiment to see if he could be a starter next season. He’ll go against lefty Cliff Lee, who has won four straight decisions since coming over from Cleveland.

Here’s today’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Cory Sullivan, RF
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Bobby Parnell (3-5, 4.74 ERA), RP

NOTES; Parnell was ripped against the Braves in his last start, lasting three innings and giving up nine runs on nine hits.