Sep 14

Concerned?

Today was a crusher, and that’s even before the Phillies play their second game tonight against Milwaukee. With a win, they can close even with the Brewers for the wild-card and a game behind the Mets.

The same old issues did in the Mets today. They didn’t hit in the clutch and their bullpen caved. Oliver Perez did not pitch well, but was in position to win. It looks as if Perez regressed in his last few starts and that’s another cause for concern.

If the Mets didn’t take care of business against the Braves at home, it makes you wonder if they can do it next week against them in Atlanta. And, the Washington Nationals always play them tough. For games in DC won’t be a breeze.

Pedro Martinez goes tomorrow, but your guess is as good as mine as to what he’ll give the Mets. His durability is an issue, and you know he can’t be counted on for more than five.

Sep 12

Mets Chat Room: Santana opens series.

Jerry Manuel had his choice of either Johan Santana or Pedro Martinez to open tonight’s series against Atlanta. It was a no-brainer.

He’s the guy if you want to open a series,” Manuel said. “If you had a choice, you would choose, at this point in their careers, Johan.”

In a six-game winless stretch from June 6-July 4, the Mets gave Santana 11 runs. And, with the bullpen coughing up the lead in six of his games, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that with a little support he could be going after his 20th win tonight. His 2.70 ERA, not 13-7 record is indicative of how well he’s pitched.

Santana prevented the Mets from being swept by Philadelphia last Sunday, easily his most important victory of the season. That game is why they got him.

Sep 09

Mets pregame notebook: Surgery tomorrow for Wagner.

-Billy Wagner will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow. He will miss this year and probably all of next year. He’s not ready to retire and said he would win a championship for somebody someday.

-Manager Jerry Manuel flipped Johan Santana and Pedro Martinez in his rotation for next weekend against the Braves, with Santana going Friday and Martinez Saturday. Protecting Martinez is yet another sign he’s not able to help the Mets.

-ESPN Radio Andrew Marchand reported reliever Francisco Rodriguez will be seeking $75 million over five years. He says the Mets, Angels, Los Angeles, Detroit and St. Louis would have interest. Want to bet that list grows this winter?

Sep 09

Life without Wagner ….

There a couple of ways at looking at Billy Wagner’s injury.

One, the Mets are without their closer down the stretch, but so far the committee has worked.

Two, and most importantly, they know the severity of the injury and can prepare not only for the remaining three weeks of the season and possibly the playoffs, but the next year. I never liked the waiting they did for Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez (a Met trivia question), and now they are spared it with Wagner.

They don’t have him. They won’t have him next year. Fine. Now they know they need a closer. How bad would it have been had Wagner closed out the season only to blow out his elbow next year in spring training?

Sep 08

Three weeks from today ….

Three weeks from today the Mets will either be cleaning out their lockers at Shea or working out in preparation for the Division Series. I’m still thinking it will be the latter.

But, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t think there wasn’t anything to worry about with this team. It was imperative they win last night and they did, with Johan Santana pitching one of his most important games as a Met. Maybe themost important.

Here’s what I see as the most important issues down the stretch.

1. Coping with last season. Last night was a start, but don’t forget the collapse including stretches of bad ball against teams with losing records. They can’t afford to let up against teams with losing records, such as Washington and Atlanta. I’m not convinced they have the killer instinct. This week should tell a lot.

2. The starting pitching is three deep with Santana, Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez. Pedro Martinez can’t be relied on for more than five innings, and lately they haven’t been a good five innings.

3. The bullpen has been suspect all season. Having something definitive on Billy Wagner might help Jerry Manuel define roles, but how can they be better off without their best reliever?

4. Hitting with runners in scoring position has also been an issue. Last night was tougher than it needed to be. With pitching issues, more runs are always needed. David Wright, in particular, has been in a funk.