Sep 01

Mejia to get start

The Mets announced this afternoon Jenrry Mejia will start Saturday’s game at Chicago. Not a surprise.

I hope the Mets give Mejia a lot of rope to see what he is capable of doing. Remember he spent a lot of the season in the bullpen, so his innings aren’t what they could be had he been in a rotation all year. Even so, I’m sure they will watch his pitch count.

By rope, I mean let him work his way out of jams and if he gets mauled early, let ‘s see how he reacts. I don’t want to hear how getting rocked will shake his confidence, because if he’s as good as the Mets think he’ll learn from it.

This is obviously the right thing to do, as the Mets finally have realized his future is as a starter. Five starts won’t be enough for him to develop another pitch, but it is a start. Even after five starts he might need more time in Triple A to develop, but that’s all right.

I thought they pushed the envelope with him in the first half of the season with how they handled him in the bullpen. There were glimpses where you could tell what all the fuss is about, and there were other times when you knew he wasn’t ready.

The season is lost, so it’s time to plan ahead. For every fifth day at least, when Mejia pitches, there will be meaningful games in September. Let him take his lumps and learn from it. Both he and the Mets will be better off.

Aug 24

Can’t see Warthen surviving, either.

The Mets’ starting pitching is decidedly better than it was last year at this time, but I don’t think it will be enough to save Dan Warthen when Jerry Manuel gets the ax, presumably within days after the end of the regular season.

Incoming managers prefer to name their own pitching coach and staff. To have a staff thrust on a new manager is unfair and puts him at a disadvantage. There’s always the underlying thought  if the pitching coach stays he’s really the GM’s guy. The new manager could interview from the old staff as a courtesy, but there are no guarantees.

That coaches’ contracts expire after the season – unlike that of GM Omar Minaya – should make the transition easier. If Manuel goes as expected, it will mean five managers this decade, hardly a bastion of stability. They’ve also had three general managers during that span to further indicate this is franchise without stable direction.

So, they start again with a new manager and pitching coach.

While the rotation has improved, there’s not enough of an imprint by Warthen to make a difference for these reasons:

1) John Maine: Calling one of your pitchers a “habitual liar,” is not good business. Although it turned out Maine was injured, the process of letting him go out there when he didn’t have it to throw five pitches lost the player, and might have damaged Warthen’s ability in the clubhouse. The team had rebound hopes for Maine but he never made any progress and then came the injury.

2) Oliver Perez: While this is probably unfair with the assumption Perez is a lost cause, Warthen did have two years to work with him without positive results.

3) Mike Pelfrey: Kudos for the fast start, some questions for the slide. There was also last year. Pelfrey, despite showing signs of coming out of it, remains an enigma.

4) The Eighth Inning Guy: All season the Mets have had troubles finding somebody for the eighth inning. A lot of guys have pitched there, but nobody has taken hold of the job. While Manuel will get roasted for this, Warthen must share responsibility.

5) Burning out the bullpen: Manuel kept riding the hot horse until he drops. Somewhere, the pitching coach has to do a better job of monitoring the bullpen arms to keep everybody fresh.

Jul 30

Mets Chat Room; Pelfrey needs to get it straight.

Mike Pelfrey was better in his last start, but he’s still not there. At one time he was 9-1, now he’s 10-5. He needs to get back to his earlier form starting tonight against Arizona if the Mets are to break out of their downward spiral that has been the month of July.

Game #103 vs. Diamondbacks

Without a sound Pelfrey the Mets have no chance of making a second-half run at the NL East, which is slowly fading away, and made even more unlikely with the Phillies’ acquisition of Roy Oswalt.

Pelfrey is 0-3 with an 11.40 ERA in his last four starts. Included in that span was giving up four first-inning runs in his last start against the Diamondbacks.

The first inning has been a recent trap for Pelfrey.

“(In eight of my) last nine starts, I’ve given up a run in the first inning and I need to find a way of stopping that,’’ Pelfrey said. “Whether it’s throwing more pitches in the ‘pen, I don’t know.’’

Pelfrey gave the Mets a chance in his previous start last weekend at Los Angeles, giving up two runs in five innings. Even so, he still threw a lot of pitches and was removed for a pinch-hitter.

It was the first time in five starts that he made it through five innings. The Mets have lost four of those games.

Pelfrey is 0-5 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts against Arizona.

Jul 24

Mets Chat Room; Pelfrey tries to halt his slide.

Game #98 at Dodgers

NOTE: Sorry about last night. I had some computer issues and watched helplessly as the Mets finally won.

The Mets stopped one slide last night, can they halt another this afternoon?

The Mets’ dismal road trip – now 2-7 after Johan Santana’s sparkler last night – continues today in Los Angeles with Mike Pelfrey attempt to end a three-game losing streak in which he has failed to make it out of the fifth inning in each.

“I’m just going through one of the worst stretches of my life,’’ said Pelfrey, who has a 15.30 ERA during that span.

In the worst start of his career Monday in Arizona, Pelfrey gave up six runs on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said Pelfrey has a mental block when it comes to his fastball; he doesn’t trust it anymore and is relying too much on his secondary pitches.

“He’s not a finesse pitcher, he’s not a trick guy,’’ Manuel said.  “He’s a power, sinker guy, and that’s what he’s got to get back to.’’

Jul 20

Pelfrey a mess

“There was a time when you could say, `Johnson, Jimenez, Pelfrey.’ You can’t say that right now.’’- Jerry Manuel.

PELFREY: He's unraveled.

At one time Mike Pelfrey was making signs and sounds of being an elite pitcher, but he has hit a wall in his development and regressed. Manuel said Pelfrey needs to re-establish his fastball and get back to pounding it low in the zone.

Pelfrey is a hot mess right now. He claims he’s healthy – I guess the dead arm period is over – and maybe so physically, but emotionally and mentally he’s damaged. He’s aiming the ball and going away from his power to finessing his pitches.

It’s now six straight starts in which he’s been off, with the last four being poor. He’s not going to find it overnight. It will be a progression before Pelfrey will be back again.

By that time, the season could be over.