Aug 02

Mets Chat Room; holding off the Braves

Technically, the Mets could run the table this week and be back in the race before they return home. There is also enough time left where they could pick up a game a week and be there in the end.

Game #106 at Braves

That’s all possible, but the Mets have given us no indication either scenario will happen. They haven’t played well enough on the road to think such a hot streak is in the cards. They also haven’t played consistently enough to give reason to believe the methodical way would work, either.

The Mets, losers of 12 of 17 games since the All-Star break, have shown no inclination of turning things around. They have Johan Santana (8-5, 3.11) hoping to rebound against a seven-run outing in his last start against St. Louis.

That game came on the heels of a stretch in which he went 3-0 with a 0.58 ERA.

Santana has pitched well in eight starts against the Braves since joining the Mets – a sparkling 1.79 ERA – but is a dismal 2-4 because of a lack of run support, getting two or fewer runs in each game.

The Mets’ struggles started prior to the All-Star break as they have lost 15 of 21 games, including two of three to the Braves at Citi Field. They saved the worse for Sunday when they were pummeled, 14-1, by Arizona (they have lost five of six to the Diamondbacks in the last two weeks).

“It definitely hurts your pride a little bit when you perform in that manner,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “We didn’t pitch, we didn’t hit, we didn’t play defense.’’

Jul 29

I can’t believe they walked Pujols.

Prior to every series, the manager and his coaches go over the opposition’s lineup and pick a player they won’t let beat them. He’s a player you don’t pitch to unless you absolutely need to. Albert Pujols is such a player.

Given that, Jerry Manuel’s decision to pitch to Pujols boggles the mind. That he wasn’t swinging the bat well doesn’t matter. He’s Pujols. You walk him.

Jul 01

Mets Chat Room; Getting Santana back on track.

Game #79 at Nationals

Johan Santana takes the mound tonight looking to avoid losing his third straight start when the Mets go to Washington.

Santana (5-5, 3.55 ERA) has been uncharacteristically poor recently, going 1-3 with a 5.96 ERA in his last four starts.

“Is he frustrated? I don’t know, but he’s a competitor,’’ catcher Rod Barajas said. “He wants the ball every five days and when he doesn’t pitch as well as he thinks he should, he takes it hard. I don’t know if frustrated is the word, probably a little anger because he knows he has the stuff.’’

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Jun 23

Mets Chat Room: Dickey goes for club record.

Game #71 vs. Tigers

When things looked bleak for the Mets about a month ago, with three of their starters out of the rotation, the Mets brought up knuckleballer R.A. Dickey from Triple-A Buffalo to make a spot start.

He hasn’t left the rotation since, and it’s not hard to imagine where the Mets would be without in 5-0 record and 2.82 ERA.

Tonight he’ll be vying to become the first Mets starter to win his first six decisions with the team, and the first Met to go 6-0 since Mike Pelfrey in 2008.

Dickey was on the ropes in his last start at Cleveland, but was able to make an in-inning adjustment to hold on for the victory.

The adjustment came at the suggestion of pitching coach Dan Warthen, who told Dickey to light a fire under the butterfly.

“I had runners on second and third and he came out and encouraged me to throw the hard one,’’ Dickey said.  “It’s about 4, 5 mph harder than my comfort-zone knuckler. It was a good step in my evolution, learning to adjust in-game.’’

It’s a risky adjustment for a knuckleballer to make because there’s always the possibility the extra push could force the pitch to spin out into a slow fat batting practice fastball.

Jun 16

Mets Chat Room: Rolling towards first.

Game #65 at Indians

The red-hot Mets will attempt to keep it rolling tonight in Cleveland behind Jon Niese, who appears to have turned the corner since coming off the disabled list.

In his two starts since, Niese is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA, which included a one-hit shutout in his last start – missing a perfect game by that hit.

“Hopefully I don’t give up any runs the rest of the year, but that’s probably not going to happen,’’ Niese told reporters. “ I just go out there and try to put up zeroes every time, and when I don’t have good stuff that day, just do what I can to keep the team in the game.’’

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