Sep 25

A hollow feeling

I admit I didn’t watch all 18 innings yesterday, and when I did my mind wandered. It’s that way when what is left of the expense of this season is whether the Mets will finish with a better losing record than last year and if Jose Reyes will say good-bye to New York with a batting title.

That’s why RA Dickey’s flirtation with Mets’ first no-hitter in 7,963 games was fun to watch, but like the playoffs or a winning season I knew it wouldn’t happen. It’s just that way.

As the outs ticked away in the second game – and 2011 – I thought how thrilling it would have been to see a doubleheader sweep of the Phillies in July, or if it meant something.

It’s always fun to speculate on next year and in the coming weeks and months there will be a lot of opportunity for that, but there’s a hollow feeling when you start thinking about next summer when there are still games to be played.

I’m excited about the playoffs, and can’t help but recall the September of 2007 and the Mets’ dramatic collapse when I see what is happening to Boston and Atlanta. There’s a morbid curiosity – like an accident on the highway – in watching a team collapse.

It is also interesting to see what is happening to the Phillies, losers of nine straight. They have the best record in baseball, but it could be hard for them to turn it on for the playoffs. It’s not as if there is a switch to be flipped.

Still, it is a better feeling than the end of this Mets’ season, when the expectations are low and there’s an empty sensation to playing meaningless games.

What is also  fruitless is hearing about all those what-might-have-been stories involving discussed offers for Reyes. Now, it is Tampa Bay that supposedly offered a bunch of prospects. What prospects? Well, we don’t know that.

What we do know is Tampa Bay is one of several teams that made overtures for Reyes. So, did San Francisco, St. Louis and Boston. Surely, there were others. Teams talk to each other all the time, so to hear the Rays called Alderson is not surprising.

And, there probably not too many, if any, surprises left to this season.

Sep 07

Today in Mets’ History: Ryan wins in relief; Mets pull closer to Cubs.

Things are getting dicier in the NL East on this date in 1969. After Gary Gentry and Nolan Ryan combined to stuff the Phillies, 9-3, at Shea Stadium, the Mets closed within 2 ½ games behind Chicago.

Ryan, Seaver and Koosman

The victory was the Mets’ 18th in 24 games, while the Cubs were in the process of losing 10 of 18, including that day to Pittsburgh.

Gentry worked six innings and Ryan the final three for the win.

The Mets broke the game open with two in the seventh and four in the eighth.

Tommie Agee drove in three runs and scored three others, and Art Shamsky and Rod Gaspar drove in two runs apiece.



Aug 14

Today in Mets’ History: Al Jackson pitches 15 innings.

JACKSON: Loses heart-breaker to Phils.

There have been fewer heart-breaking losses than the one Al Jackson endured on this date in 1962.

Jackson, one of the most popular Mets, threw worked 15 innings, but lost to the Phillies, 3-1, on a two-run single by Mel Roach.

Two numbers stood out from that game. The first was Jackson’s 215 pitches and the second was the 4:35 time of game.




Jul 23

Five teams in mix for Beltran.

Carlos Beltran prefers a trade to a National League team because he’s not cool on the idea of being a designated hitter, but reportedly he’s willing to accept a deal to the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox. Philadelphia, Atlanta and San Francisco are also in the mix.

The favorite to land Beltran depends on who you listen to and when. Since the Mets are talking with the Phillies and Braves, there are apparently no reservations in dealing within the NL East. Their thinking is since they won’t win this season, it doesn’t matter if the Phillies or Braves win if the Mets can gain a cornerstone player for several years in exchange for a two-month rental.

Jul 22

Wright to return tonight; won’t be enough.

The Mets expect David Wright back in the lineup, hitting fourth behind Carlos Beltran tonight in Florida. Beltran, on the trade block, isn’t expected to be dealt by game time, but his days as a Met are getting shorter. Getting Wright back will not change GM Sandy Alderson’s thinking regarding Beltran.

The All-Star outfielder is drawing considerable interest, and he’s playing at a rate where he’ll likely command a prospect, not a throwaway player.

WRIGHT: Back of DL tonight.

Wright went on the disabled list May 18 with a stress fracture in his lower back. He sustained the injury nearly a month earlier.

Even though the Mets have played shorthanded, they managed to tread water. However, the Phillies and Braves have opened up sizeable leads in the NL East and wild-card races that make competing difficult and the Mets are in trade mode.

They’ve already unloaded Francisco Rodriguez and are actively shopping Beltran. Beltran said he’s like to stay with the Mets, but it is all public relations.

Even should Beltran stay, Wright’s return will not greatly improve their status, regardless of what some players believe.

“You forget what he brings, because this has been our team for so long,’’ Jason Bay said. “It’s almost like we’re making a trade. We’re getting a premier player, adding an impact bat, and even though he’s our own guy. It’s going to be big for us.’’

Players say that all the time when a player comes off the disabled list, but even with Wright the Mets didn’t have enough parts, especially on the mound.

If history is an indication, Wright will need a monster night to overcome the disappointing Mike Pelfrey, who is 5-9 with a 4.67 ERA.

If you think that’s bad, consider he’s 1-7 lifetime against the Marlins, including seven straight losses in his last 13 starts against them. He hasn’t beaten Florida since July 8, 2006.