The Mets needed a break and got it tonight when their game against the Colorado Rockies was rained out. There will be a single admission doubleheader Thursday.
The phone rang last night around 9:15, and it was a friend who wanted to share some good news. As is the case when we talk the conversation quickly turned to the Mets.
“You know JD,” he said. “Normally, I’d be excited this time of year. Opening Day is a week away, but for some reason I’m not feeling it this year. It’s hard to get excited about this team.”
The greatest concern on his mind was the pitching, which has not been good. All the worries about the Key Three – Pelfrey, Maine and Perez – are still there, hanging over the team like the rain this morning.
They just won’t go away.
“For the last three years they’ve been saying how they need a No. 2 starter,” my friend said. “So, what do they do? They spend it all on a left fielder.”
We can debate whether what was out there is better than what the Mets currently have, but for now, we have to consider there had to have been at least one guy who could help.
I don’t know. Maybe the buzz will hit my friend and he’ll feel it next week. Maybe they’ll get off to a fast start and get us all excited.
But for now, there are more than several issues that have dampened the mood.
Tonight’s game with the Pirates has been rained out, and despite this being their last trip to Pittsburgh, there will not be a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon.
That means a rushed trip to Pittsburgh in August or September when the Mets will need the day off. It’s just as well they aren’t playing as they need a breather. This is a bruised and battered team and the bullpen needs a rest.
Around the Horn ….
-Tom Glavine was released by the Braves which begs the obvious: Would you take him back to add some depth to the rotation which still has some issues. Glavine underwent elbow and shoulder surgery in the offseason, but said he’s ready and will pitch again this season.
-Assistant GM John Ricco said Jose Reyes experienced pain again in his calf during an extended spring training game today and will return to New York for additional tests. Translation: He won’t be back any time soon. I can’t see him back for the Philadelphia series.
-Manager Jerry Manuel said Gary Sheffield will not play during tomorrow. He’s still nursing his leg. He didn’t run well at all the other night.
-Manuel also said JJ Putz will move to the seventh inning. Hardly earthshattering news.
-Ryan Church played in an extended spring training game and says he’s feeling better. He might be ready to be activated for the Phillies series.
-Oliver Perez threw off flat ground today but there’s no timetable for his return.
After Carlos Pena’s single drove in B.J. Upton with the tying run, and the grounds crew practically following him across the plate, Selig said he would have not allowed the Phillies be crowned champions with a rain-shortened victory.
“It’s not a way to end a World Series,” Selig said. “I would not have allowed the World Series to end that way.”
I believe he wouldn’t. He would have played his “best interest in baseball,” card and done the right thing.
Giving that, why couldn’t he have done the right thing earlier? Perhaps not start the game at all, given the forecast? Or, once it started, said, “if we have to stop this, we won’t have a rain-shortened winner?”
The late start times and scheduling are other matters he needs to correct. My thinking is the World Series is the ultimate. It’s baseball’s showcase event, and it should be treated that way. Too often MLB lets those who don’t love it make the decisions and that has to stop.
If Selig’s words are to be believed, he must follow them up with actions that mean something. So far, his legacy as commissioner has been the steroids era, interleague play, new divisional alignments and a work stoppage that killed the 1994 World Series.
Time to change that for the better. Schedule the Series start times so people can see the game, and if worse, to give you more leeway time with the weather. If you don’t like playing this late in October, then you’re going to have to do something about shortening the playoffs?
Since you won’t reduce the number of games, then you must alter the regular season schedule. I have already suggested in these pages to have at least one day-night doubleheader a month. That would give you six days to play with. There are things that can be done, and in the end they won’t hurt as bad as the embarrassment that was last night.
Mets and Braves playing a doubleheader at Shea today. Rain in the forecast for tonight. First game at 4 p.m., the second about a half-hour later. Late start courtesy of TV.
Johan Santana against Mike Hampton in the first game; Jon Niese and Jo-Jo Reyes in the second game.
Brian Schneider catches Santana and will catch Oliver Perez tomorrow. Robinson Cancel will catch Niese in the second game.
Jerry Manuel tried to be coy before the game, saying he didn’t know the club’s magic number is 14. Don’t believe him. I think he’s aware of all those things. He’s too sharp not to know.
Speaking of which, I think it would be appropriate to announce an extension for him and his interim coaches.