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.

Sep 07

Game #1 wrap/Phillies 6, Mets 2: Martinez’s tank on empty.

Jerry Manuel went out of his way not to throw Pedro Martinez under the bus, but said enough to let it be known there’s not much left in his tank.

“With a couple of plays there, he might not have given up as many runs,’’ Manuel said. “He could have gotten out of there with maybe three runs.’’

Fine, that’s a 3-2 loss.

Manuel said Martinez’s velocity was better, but it still isn’t where it should be.

“I think this is what he has,’’ Manuel said of Martinez’s stuff. “I think he’s able to pitch with what he has. I think his instincts are enough at the major league level where he can complete.’’

 Maybe so, but that’s also if the defense is there and the offense produces something.

“With two runs in 18 innings, we wouldn’t be able to beat anybody,’’ Manuel said.

Boil it down and Manuel is saying everything has to be perfect for Martinez to win, and who’s comfortable with that?

Sep 07

Mets Chat Room, Game #1: What’s up with Pedro?

Mets vs. Phillies. Game two of three. Winning both would be great. Winning one is essential.

Pedro Martinez is going in the first game, and I’m concerned about him. He downplays velocity, but let’s face it, he’s not throwing exceptionally hard. Sooner or later, it has to be on his mind. Definitely, it has to be an issue.

With three weeks remaining, Martinez’s spot in the rotation will come up at least four more times, and the Mets aren’t in position to throw away four starts.

I really want to see what he has today.