Aug 21

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #122; Playing out the string.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

With 40 games remaining, tonight was supposed to be the start of a hot series with the rival Philadelphia Phillies. Fueled by Cole Hamels “choke” comments about the Mets last winter, there was to be heat and spice in this rivalry, which for the past two seasons featured a Mets’ collapse down the stretch and being overtaken by the Phillies.

Not only did the Mets blow two sizable leads to their neighbors at the other end of the Jersey Turnpike, but watched them win the World Series and in the process tweak Jose Reyes for his hot dog ways.

Reyes is nowhere to be seen tonight, and we might not see him for the rest of the season. The Phillies, meanwhile, cruise into Citi Field with an unfathomable 16-game lead. It could be 20 by Monday afternoon.

After trading for Cliff Lee, and with four players with at least 20 homers, five with 15, and two more with nine, the Phillies have all the pieces needed to repeat.
The Mets, however, are a team in disarray. Their entire core of David Wright, Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Degado is on the disabled list with no projected dates for their returns. Only two players from the Opening Day line-up – Luis Castillo and Daniel Murphy – are playing regularly. Two of their five starters – Livan Hernandez and John Maine – are out.

Gary Sheffield represents the power with ten homers and he could be gone any minute.

It has been a Twilight Zone season: the power disappeared; they sacked their assistant general manager; Oliver Perez and tonight’s starter, Mike Pelfrey, have been erratic; and injuries have also claimed time from Maine, JJ Putz, Brian Schneider, Perez and Alex Cora.

In some ways, Pelfrey personifies the Mets. A 13-game winner last season, he was supposed to take a step forward and emerge as the No. 2 starter. He takes an 8-8 record and 4.75 ERA to the mound tonight. He has a three-balk game on his resume and has four of his last five decisions.

Pelfrey has become positively Perez-like, being unable to limit the damage and lets innings get away from him. Against a power-laden line-up such as Philadelphia’s things could get out of hand early.

Here’s tonight’s line-up against Hamels:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP

Aug 19

Perez might miss next start

Oliver Perez aggravated his right knee on a play at first base last night and may not be able to make his next start, Sunday against Pedro Martinez and the Phillies.

Perez fell behind 4-0, but despite being ineffective, got the win because the Mets scored eight runs in the fourth inning. He worked the fifth but was replaced for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of that inning. Perez tweaked his knee when he stumbled running to first base. He was on the DL for two months earlier this season with right knee inflammation.

“I want to continue to pitch,” said Perez. “But, I have to take care of my knee.”

Nelson Figueroa or Tim Redding could start if Perez isn’t able.

Aug 11

What do you think?

Not surprisingly, Jamie Moyer was the one bumped from the rotation to make room for diva Pedro Martinez’s return Wednesday at Chicago from the disabled list. Moyer will move to the bullpen when pitches.

MARTINEZ: Diva gets ball tomorrow.

MARTINEZ: Diva gets ball tomorrow.


That was the inevitable decision when the Phillies said rookie J.A. Happ (8-2, 2.74) would stay in the rotation.

As bad as the Mets’ starting rotation has been, I’m glad they opted to pass on re-signing Martinez, whose time had come and gone in New York.

Do you think the Phillies will disrupt their chemistry by shuffling the rotation to accommodate Martinez?

I believe that’s entirely possible.

Jul 29

Phillies add Lee ….

While the Mets were fighting with reporters and embarrassing themselves, the Philadelphia Phillies were doing everything they could to wrap up the NL East and possibly their second World Series title.

While there are no guarantees, the Phillies did real good this afternoon by adding AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee along with outfielder Ben Francisco for four minor leaguers.

The sobering news to the Mets and the rest of the NL is the Phillies didn’t have to part with top prospects pitchers J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek or outfielders Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor, whom the Blue Jays were asking for in exchange for Roy Halladay.

Lee, 31 next month, has a 3.14 ERA with just 33 walks in 152 innings. He will make $8 million in 2010, then be eligible for free agency. Lee said he’ll likely test the FA market, but who is to say if he wins a World Series title or two?

The Indians have now traded the 2008 and 2007 Cy Young Award winners (CC Sabathia).

The deal speaks volumes between the differences of the Phillies and Mets, notably the depth in the minor league system and the aggressiveness of the front offices.

The Phillies were superior before the trade and widened the gap. The Mets will need a monumental offseason just to close it a bit, and from where they stand now that’s not going to happen.

They’ve won four straight and are in contention for the wild card, but there are too many teams ahead of them to leap frog and they don’t have the chips to make much of a wild card run. And, even if they get their injured players back they have a long way to go.

The Mets can’t improve themselves now to make much of a dent. Their opportunity was two months ago when the cracks were starting to show.

This trade should be an awakening to the Mets their window of contention since 2006 is barely a crack if it hasn’t slammed shut and they have a lot of work to do.

Jul 05

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #81; Phillies go for sweep.

The Mets (39-41) close their three game series with the Phillies (41-37) today the way many of us though they would, by trying to avoid being swept. They have Johan Santana going for them, but that’s not the `get out of jail free card,’ it used to be.

Santana is 9-6 with a 3.34 ERA. He is coming off a bad start last Tuesday in Milwaukee in which he gave up five earned runs on nine hits in six innings. Since June 2, he isĀ 2-3 with a 6.19 ERA. Very mortal numbers.

Today’s line-up vs. Phillies RP Joe Blanton (4-4, 5.08):

Alex Cora, SS

Daniel Murphy, 1B

David Wright, 3B

Ryan Church, RF

Nick Evans, LF

Jeremy Reed, CF

Brian Schneider, C

Luis Castillo, 2B

Johan Santana, LP