Sep 22

It’s over, finally.

The inevitable became official last night when the Florida Marlins eliminated the Mets from playoff contention for the third time in four years. The Marlins might have administered the killing blow, but last night, as in the other two years, the Mets killed themselves.

Last night was a microcosm of this season in many ways, beginning with an offense that squandered numerous opportunities to eventually waste a strong starting performance, this time from Mike Pelfrey. The Mets’ inability t0 produce, much less in the clutch, has been a critical weakness all summer.

We’ve been over this before, but most of the starting position players will return next season so the Mets don’t figure to add a big bat. They need to hope for healthy players and improvement. Hoping makes for a very bad plan.

For his part, Pelfrey continues to pitch well enough to win most games, but last night was betrayed by his defense and later the bullpen.

After Pedro Feliciano retired the first two batters in the eighth, Jerry Manuel went to Elmer Dessens, who gave up four straight hits, including a mammoth three-run homer to Gaby Sanchez. Why Feliciano wasn’t allowed to continue is beyond me. He’s certainly more reliable than Dessens.

Another poor bullpen decision, but there have been so many I’ve lost track.

It’s easy to blame injuries, and for the Mets they could wonder what might have been had they not lost significant time from Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes and Johan Santana. Still, the Mets’ losses weren’t as severe as those of the Phillies, but they managed to overcome and have won 21 of their last 25, the kind of hot streak Manuel kept waiting for, but never came.

Championship caliber teams must find a way to overcome from injuries and the Mets did not. There were simply too many times this season when they beat themselves, whether it be an error in the field, giving away an at-bat, or throwing a lazy pitch.

You are what your record says you are, and for the Mets they are a losing team for the second straight season, and out of the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

On an interesting note, Manuel responded to Joe Torre’s comments about being curious about the Mets’ job, and Torre responded by apologizing to Manuel and saying he was closing the door on managing the Mets. Torre should have danced around the question better and apologized for violating an unwritten protocol.

Still, people change their minds so I wouldn’t write off the Mets and Torre talking after the season. It’s not as if Torre backing off now will save Manuel’s job. The Mets have not been shy in the past for going after media outlets for stories they didn’t like, or weren’t correct. The Mets have not told one media outlet to back off on Manuel, nor have they made any comment about his returning.

They have left Manuel alone to twist in the wind because they know he’s not returning. They are studying their options. Speaking of which, they appear to have lost out on Kevin Towers, who appears to be headed for Arizona. He would have been intriguing.

So, it is officially over, but we’ve known for awhile now that it wasn’t going to happen for the Mets. For me, I thought the series just prior to the break when they lost to Atlanta was a determining moment. From there, came the disastrous West Coast slide that coincided with the return of Carlos Beltran.

From there, the rest of the season was a formality.

Aug 11

Mets Chat Room; can they win two in a row?

There are a lot of ugly stats I could throw out you to explain the Mets sliding out of playoff contention, but one sticks out: They haven’t won back-to-back games since June 22-23.

Game #113 vs. Rockies

Kind of says it all, doesn’t it?

The 56-56 Mets will try to keep their faint playoff aspirations alive behind Jon Niese, who’ll try to follow up what Mike Pelfrey gave them last night. Pelfrey, who had been hit hard since last June, threw seven scoreless innings.

Niese (7-5, 3.63 ERA) is 0-1 with a 7.15 ERA in two career starts against the Rockies, including giving up five runs in five innings April 14 in a 6-5, 10-inning loss at Denver.

Niese is coming off a no-decision in his last start when he gave up a run in seven innings at Philadelphia.

The Mets went 2-4 during their Atlanta-Philly road trip, in large part because of the slumping David Wright and Carlos Beltran.

Wright, who led the National League in hitting with a .351 average in June and July, is a paltry 2-for-29 with eight strikeouts in eight game in August.

Meanwhile,  Beltran has been frigid since coming off the DL to start the second half, hitting only .195.

NOTE: I will be working tonight and out of the chat room.


Apr 30

April 30/May 1.10: Chat Room, Games #23-24 at Phillies: Niese and Pelfrey carry the load.

The last time the Mets played the Phillies they lost to be officially eliminated from playoff contention. That was last September, but the truth is the Mets were cooked long before that game. It was one of 12 games the Mets lost to their rivals at the other end of the Jersey Turnpike last season, one that went horribly wrong for them.

In the previous two seasons, the Phillies overtook the Mets on the final weekend and went on to the World Series.

The first-place Mets are back in Philly tonight for the start of a three-game series against the Phillies.
The Mets, winners of seven straight, are the majors’ hottest team, and enter the series with their three most consistent pitchers, Jon Niese tonight followed by Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana.

“If we go out there and we do what we’re capable of, I think we’re going to be fine,’’ said Pelfrey, Saturday’s starter against Roy Halladay. “I don’t think it matters who we’re playing. It’s just a matter of going out there and executing. If we do that, we can play with anybody.’’

In breaking down the series, Santana figures to have the edge Sunday and Halladay should be favored over Pelfrey, which leaves the toss-up game tonight that boils down to how well Niese does against Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

The Mets’ offense is starting to heat up, and it couldn’t come at a better time for Niese, who has gotten no more than one run in any of his last four starts.

The power keys are Jason Bay and David Wright, who shook slumps in the Los Angeles series.

Still, these are the Phillies and strange things often happen in that bandbox of a park. The Mets are streaking, but an argument can be made they won nine of ten games against the Cubs, Braves and Dodgers, all teams struggling lately. The Phillies have stumbled a bit – enough to where the Mets passed them – but manager Manuel is right in that they are the class of the league.

“It will be a good barometer as far as where you stand,’’ said Bay. “They’re obviously one of the top teams in the National League for what they’ve done the last few years. You can’t deny that. And we’re playing pretty good baseball.’’

NOTE: Folks, I have to attend to a family commitment tonight and tomorrow and won’t be on the blog. I will leave the Chat Room open and hope you continue to watch the games and post. I will be back online Sunday.
Sorry I can’t be with you, but I need to take care of this responsibility.

Sep 26

Mets Chat Room: Pelfrey goes fishing/Shea Top Ten

The Mets announced today the top ten moments at Shea Stadium:

1. Game Six of the 1986 World Series highlighted by the Bill Buckner team.
2. Mike Mike Piazza’s dramatic two-run home run in the eighth inning, Sept. 21, 2001, to beat the Braves in New York City’s first sporting event after the 9-11 attacks on America.
3. The Mets beat the heavily-favored Baltimore Orioles, 5-3, in Game Five of the 1969 World Series.
4. Endy Chavez’ Game Seven 2006 NLCS catch.
5. The Mets 7 1986 World Series victory.
6. Robin Ventura’s “Grand Slam Single” in Game Five of the 1999 NLCS.
7. The Beatles play Shea, Aug. 15, 1965.
8. The Mets, on June 30, 2000, scored 10 runs in the eighth inning vs. Atlanta.
9. Tom Seaver’s one-hitter against Chicago.
10. Todd Pratt’s walk-off home run in Game Four of the NLDS vs. Arizona.

Let’s talk about them during the game, if there is a game. For the second straight season the Mets’ last hurdle to October are the Florida Marlins.

“We have three games left and it’s going to be hard,” said Carlos Beltran, who is hitting .315 (17-for-54) with three home runs and 12 RBIs against Florida this season.

The Mets are 9-6 against the Marlins this season, including 4-2 at Shea. None of that success is by Mike Pelfrey, who is 0-3 with a 7.91 ERA in four starts against the Marlins this season and 1-4 lifetime in seven appearances.