Oct 21

The makings of a great World Series.

Two games in and I have the feeling this could be the makings of a great World Series. Could it be because we have two teams playing and we’re not caught up in a traveling circus of the Red Sox or Yankees?

Even without them playing, the Red Sox are always in the news. The Yankees have been pretty quiet, but there is the underlying assumption – perhaps coming from their fans’ sense of entitlement – CJ Wilson will come running to them.

He’s a No. 2 starter, but being the premier arm on the market he will make his money. However, he won’t be cashing any checks bearing Fred Wilpon’s signature.

If the Rangers go on to win, it could come down to a defensive misplay by by Albert Pujols in the ninth inning when he failed to field a cutoff throw which enabled Elvis Andrus to take to second and eventually scored what proved to be the winning run on back-to-back sacrifice flies by Josh Hamilton and Michael Young.

Had Pujols cut off the ball, the Cardinals could be up 2-0.

The first two games have been a study in pitching and fundamentals, and that’s what it takes to win. We should see more scoring when the Series moves to Arlington, where the weather will be warmer.

Close, tense games are only part of what makes a great World Series. There are the compelling story lines of the Rangers trying to win for the first time and the Cardinals attempting to come all the way back from a 10 1/2-game deficit on Aug. 25. It would be one of the greatest comebacks of all time.

Of course, the definitive great World Series has to go seven games. Really, outside of the 69 Mets, whose rise was one of the great baseball stories of the ages, there aren’t many Series considered great that run short.

Football season is in full swing, but I’m not ready to let go of the summer. Here’s hoping this one goes seven.

Oct 18

On the eve of the Series …. Alderson knew what he was getting into.

The drive to Ohio is long and tedious, much like a New York Mets summer the past three years. Went back home to visit my father, who was hospitalized, and apologize for the lapse in posts.

My mind was on other things.

I am anxious for the World Series to start, and I would like to see the Cardinals because that would complete one of the great comebacks in baseball history. The Cardinals have what it takes to complete history.

Either way, if the Rangers won, that would also be a compelling story, especially for Mets fans who still have a fondness for Nolan Ryan.

The Cardinals have the best pitcher and player in the Series in Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols, plus the extra game at home. Both teams are sizzling at the right time.

In looking at the two teams, it is easy to see what separates them from the Mets, and, of course, you have to wonder how far our boys are away.

Both teams have a stud hitter in Pujols and Josh Hamilton, reliable starters in Carpenter and CJ Wilson, good bullpens and support throughout the batter orders.

The Mets have David Wright and Mike Pelfrey, holes in the order and are shambles in the bullpen and rotation. If everybody in the NL East stands pat, and you know they won’t, at best the Mets are fourth in the division.

Bringing back Jose Reyes won’t change that, either. So, it was interesting to read the ESPN report of Chip Hale’s assessment, and that of some NL scouts, on Ruben Tejada’s development.

One scout said Tejada is ready to play and the best decision for the Mets would be to plug him in, let Reyes go and spend the money patching their numerous pitching holes.

I’ve been saying that since the trade deadline.

It’s not that I dislike Reyes. To the contrary, he’s been one of my favorite Mets to deal with, but realistically, he has limitations and the team has other priorities. If Tejada was a lost cause, it might be different, but there is promise there.

The Cardinals and Rangers wouldn’t be here without Pujols and Hamilton, respectively. Reyes, and also Wright, don’t carry the same weight with the Mets.

At one time, Reyes and Wright represented the Mets’ core, but times have changed. The team has lost key complementary pieces while both players have declined and have had health issues.

Sandy Alderson was brought in here to rebuild this franchise, and it is becoming clearer that both Reyes and Wright or no longer cornerstones. Too bad, but that is the reality.

Another reality, is Alderson knew the guidelines when he took the job. Not much got by Alderson, if anything, when he was working in the commissioner’s office. He got the job on the strong recommendation of Bud Selig, so he had a strong sense of the Wilpon’s financial issues.

When he came here he said it would take time, rebuilding wouldn’t come over night and the Mets’ culture had to change. That would include handing out massive contracts.

That is why I would be shocked if Reyes was brought back, wouldn’t be surprised if Wright isn’t dealt, and why the team would love to cut ties with Johan Santana and Jason Bay.

We knew 2011 and 2012 would be written off, and we wouldn’t have a clearer idea of the future until 2013 at the earliest.

Jun 28

Are the Mets’ handling Niese’s heart condition properly?

Just when the Mets start feeling good about themselves again, something happens that makes you scratch your head and wonder: “Can’t these guys use common sense for once when it comes to injuries?’’

NIESE: Where's the common sense?

A franchise notorious for mishandling injuries, they are raising concerns for how they are dealing with Jon Niese’s rapid heart beat.

Niese had a rapid heart beat pitching Saturday in Texas, and amazingly was allowed to stay in to face one more batter.

Niese was examined by a Rangers doctor, who didn’t find anything imminently concerning, but the Mets are waiting today for him to get an intensive medical exam with the team in Detroit.

Not only was Niese permitted to fly to Detroit from Dallas, but also to drive two hours to his off-season home in Ohio.

We could go on for hours about how the Mets have mishandled injuries, but in dealing with a heart issue, doesn’t it make sense to address it immediately?

Obviously, the Mets don’t consider the exam by the Rangers’ team physician all-inclusive, otherwise they wouldn’t be having him tested again. The odds are likely in Niese’s favor, but why take the chance?

There’s nothing to be gained by waiting and everything to lose. The new regime was supposed to handle things differently when it came to injuries, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Questions were asked after David Wright was allowed to play a month with back soreness that turned out to be a stress fracture. And, Ike Davis was supposed to be back in two weeks after an ankle sprain, but he could be out the rest of the season.

Waiting makes no sense. None.

Jun 25

Texas Toast: Mets Fall To Rangers 8-1

Mike Pelfrey was hit hard early, but stabilized and Manny Acosta made sure the game was out of reach in the Mets 8-1 loss to the Rangers.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out three. Big Pelf gave up three of those runs in the first inning, and after that seemed to get his bearings and keep the Rangers to one run over the next five innings. As noticed, Pelfrey has allowed more HR this season then he has all last season, as evidenced by his love affair with his four-seam fastball. While this isn’t a horrible Pelfrey outing, giving up three in the first inning is a bit demoralizing.

Manny Acosta came out, decided that he likes allowing XBH to righties, specifically doubles and then home-runs to light-hitting utility men. Acosta went one and two-third innings, allowing four runs on five hits walking two and striking out one giving up two home runs. Acosta, for the most part has been atrocious this year. He has allowed more runs than innings pitched, and more hits while only striking out four. A trip to Buffalo seems in the cards, maybe upon the return of Taylor Buccholz. D.J. Carrasco got the last out of the eighth.

The offense was stifled by Matt Harrison, consistently struggling to make solid contact. Their only run was scored when Ronny Paulino doubled, advanced to third on a Daniel Murphy IF single and then scored on a Ruben Tejada single to center.

Jose Reyes – 0 for 3 with a walk. Grounded into a DP on a laser beam that Adrian Beltre ate up. Jose is beginning to hit the ball into the air a lot more, and that is when trouble ensues.

Scott Hairston – 0 for 3 – two fly outs (barely leaving the infield) and a tailor-made GIDP. With the Mets carrying six OF’s (Pridie, Pagan, Bay, Beltran, Harris, Hairston) how much longer until Hairston gets the axe?

Turning Point

Manny Acosta doing his best impersonation of a bad pitcher. Or, himself. Either/Or.

Game Ball

Jason Bay – 3 for 4 with a strikeout. They may be singles, but contact is contact. At some point, these singles may become doubles. Baby steps.

On Deck

The Mets will head into tomorrow to face Rangers righty Alexi Ogando and will send out Jon Niese. Game time is 4:10 PM. In other notes, I wonder how the Mets will respond to the intense Texas hit in the middle of the day.

Jun 23

Wright cleared; Capuano injured; notebook.

David Wright was cleared today to resume baseball activities and will head tomorrow to Port St. Lucie to begin his rehab.

The Mets are talking about two weeks, but we’ve heard that song before. There’s a lot of torque to a baseball swing and we don’t know how his back will respond to that stress.

It is premature to discuss where Wright will hit in the order when he returns, just as it is too soon to assume he’ll be back in two weeks and step right in.

This should come under the category of: No surprises here.

Chris Capuano pitched a strong six innings, but left today’s 4-1 victory over the Athletics with pain in his right abdomen.

There was no word from the Mets after the game whether Capuano would miss his next start.

NOTEBOOK: Pitching prospect Matt Harvey and third baseman Jefry Marte will participate in the Future’s Game as part of the All-Star festivities in Phoenix. … Mets starters have a 2.62 ERA over the last 27 games. … Second baseman Ruben Tejada is in a 2-for-29 slump. … Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee will pitch against Texas this weekend. None have faced the Rangers.