In what so far has been a disappointing, underachieving season, there was a lot to like in last night’s victory at Atlanta.
Of course, since everything begins with pitching and John Maine was superb after a rocky second. There’s always one inning with Maine where he gets in trouble, but if he pulls out of it he goes on a hot stretch fueled by his fastball. He’s a power guy and gets in trouble when he tries to be too cute with his off-speed stuff.
Another positive the offense came from behind from three runs down for the first time this season. Carlos Beltran, who has been stroking line drives all year, went deep twice. Beltran is a hitter who when he gets hot can carry a team for a couple of weeks. What better time with all these games with the Braves and Phillies?
David Wright also showed signs of coming out of it with a homer.
But, it’s only one game and we’ve seen that before. Let’s get a string of these before proclaiming the Mets are all right.
Livan Hernandez, who has been shaky, goes tonight for the Mets.
Today’s game at Philly has been rained out, which gives us a moment to reflect on the train wreck that is Oliver Perez.
“I’m not doing anything to help the team,” said an admittedly embarrassed Perez yesterday.
Because of Perez’s length of service (it doesn’t have to be good service) he can refuse the minor league assignment that is in his and the Mets’ best interest. Perez gave no indication he would do so, which is a good sign.
It’s better he go to the minors than hang around as a long man because he won’t get regular work in that capacity. The Mets gave Perez Saturday’s start because of his success against the Phillies, but it didn’t pan out.
It’s time to start over with Perez.
The sluggish Mets will try to get things going tonight at Philly, with Mike Pelfrey going against Chan Ho Park. Pelfrey (2-0, 6.32 ERA) is 1-2 in four career starts against the Phillies. He is coming off a good start – two runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Nationals.
PELFREY: Mets need good start to get rolling.
However, the Phillies aren’t the Nationals.
Even though they aren’t playing well, the Mets are talking about the match-up with the Phillies as a good thing, saying the NL East confrontation could give them a spark. That’s disconcerting to me because if they need a rivarly to get them going there’s something lacking.
Carlos Delgado (hip) and Luis Castillo (back) are out of the line-up, an indication their injuries are more serious than originally speculated. Manager Jerry Manuel even suggested the DL a possibility for Delgado.
Here’s the line-up:
Jose Reyes, SS
Alex Cora, 2B
Daniel Murphy, LF
Carlos Beltran, CF
David Wright, 3B
Ryan Church, RF
Fernando Tatis, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Mike Pelfrey, P
David Wright made an interesting comment the other day when he said: “We have to try to match the intensity we have when we play the Phillies when we play the rest of the National League.”
Wright wasn’t throwing his teammates under the bus as much as he was making a statement of fact – the Mets don’t get up for everybody. And, I don’t want to hear about it being a long season and you can’t be motivated all the time.
There is something lacking with the Mets and their best player recognizes it. They might come out and play inspired ball this weekend, but that’s not enough. Far too often they seem to be going through the motions. They did against the Marlins. They did against the Cardinals. They do against a lot of teams.
And, that’s something they need to snap out of or it’s going to be a long summer.
“It won’t be long before the hits will start dropping in,” said David Wright after his miserable Wednesday afternoon in which he was called out twice on strikes.
Mechanically, Wright is off his game. He’s uppercutting his swing. He’s flatfooted at times. He doesn’t consistently take the ball to right field, which is when he’s at his best.
“I’ve been struggling,” Wright admits. “I have to start playing better.”
Talk radio is buzzing with those that want Wright out of here, but let’s not be stupid about things. The Mets aren’t going to trade him now or this winter. This is slump he’ll have to work his way out of, something he’s always done in the past and will again.
If the Mets weren’t playing the Phillies this weekend, I’d be tempted to sit him for a game to clear his head. But with this stretch against Philly and Atlanta, I don’t see Jerry Manuel sitting down his third baseman. The earliest he’d sit would be against Pittsburgh during the next homestand.
So, what to do?
The Mets pretty much have to stick with Wright until then. Ask yourself this: Who gives the Mets the better chance? Wright catching his form or going to the bench?
You’ll see Wright play this weekend in Philly and maybe he’ll get it going against the Phillies hapless rotation.