Jun 07

Mets doing well despite all that’s happened.

PELFREY: One of the players who haven't performed.

Believe me when I say this, but I am not taking a drink of the Kool-Aid. I never expected the Mets to contend this season and don’t expect that to change.

I still think over the next six weeks the Mets will attempt to shed payroll in the names of Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Francisco Rodriguez. I don’t know what will become of David Wright, but I know they won’t, and can’t, trade him now because he’s injured.

Despite the low expectations from this team coming out of spring training, and regardless of the maddening ball they play at times – they still don’t hit with runners in scoring position and I can’t believe Reyes didn’t get that ball the other night – they are fortunate to be 28-31, an amazing three games under .500.

If they had any kind of bullpen, the Mets would be over .500 and we’d be thinking about the wild card.

Even though that’s not the case, the Mets are playing some surprising ball considering all that’s gone awry. Truth be told, when you look at all their issues, they are  lucky they aren’t ten games or more under.

Let’s look at it:

* They haven’t have Johan Santana all season and don’t figure to get him until July, if at all. That’s an immeasurable loss.

* Their de facto ace, Mike Pelfrey, has been inconsistent. Not Oliver Perez inconsistent, but he hasn’t taken the next step expected of him after last season. There were many who thought he could evolve into a 20-game winner this year.

* Chris Young is out for the season. He was a reach anyway, but pitched well in spots before he was injured.

* R.A. Dickey, last year’s surprise, has been off, although he’s pitched better lately despite being 3-6.

* Jon Niese had high expectations, but is 4-5 after a slow start.

* The Mets’ bullpen is ranked 25th in the majors with a 4.37 ERA, and has a 10.43 ERA over its last 14 games. The Mets have been outscored 42-18 in the seventh inning and 38-26 in the eighth. They have been outscored 103-65 from the seventh inning on.

* The Mets have lost eight games when leading after the sixth inning.  The Mets have lost nine one-run games and four two-run games.

* Josh Thole has been hot lately, but overall his .234 average has been a disappointment. Defensively, he’s had his problems with passed balls and throwing out runners.

* Ike Davis has been on the disabled list since May 12, and there’s no word on his return.

* Wright is on the disabled list with a stress fracture of his lower back, but prior to that was hitting .226 with 18 RBI.

* Jason Bay was on the disabled list to start of the season, but has rebounded to hit .216 with two homers and 10 RBI. Rebounded, of course, was written with sarcasm in mind.

* Angel Pagan was on the disabled list for a month, and last year’s surprise is hitting .229 with home homer and 10 RBI.

This was supposed to be an ugly summer, and despite all that’s gone wrong it hasn’t turned out that way. The Mets have been remarkably competitive and it makes one wonder what things could be with a healthy roster, some players performing to their expectations and a better bullpen.

When you look at the total picture, which also includes the distractions from ownership and the potential of a roster purge, the Mets have played surprisingly well and fortunate to be where they are record-wise.

If we could be sure the team would stay intact the rest of the year, and even add a piece, it could make for an interesting summer.

Would be nice to find out, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards.

 

May 24

Looking at Wilpon’s criticism of Beltran.

It’s not like Fred Wilpon wasn’t telling the truth.

Let’s face it, Carlos Beltran isn’t the player he thought he signed after the 2004 season. It’s true, injuries sapped his talent and forced him to move to right field in the final season of his $119 million contract, and the last two years have been a waste.

THE STRIKEOUT: Nobody forgets.

The contract and signing have looked more and more a bust as the team slid out of competitive status.

Wilpon called himself a schmuck for signing Beltran based on a strong playoff series while with Houston in 2004. Beltran had problems his first year getting acclimated to New York, but there was a toughness to him. Afterall, this is guy who played with a broken face after a gruesome collision with Mike Cameron in late 2005.

Beltran played hurt and for the next three seasons produced numbers, but no, they weren’t the numbers Wilpon had hoped for when opening his checkbook.

Beltran rebounded from his first year in New York to hit 41 homers with 116 RBI in 2006, but never reached that height again and slid to 33 homers and 112 RBI and 27 homer and 112 RBI in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Decent numbers, but more was expected for that kind of money.

And, as with most Mets, there was criticism about hitting in the clutch.

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May 17

Today in Mets History: Milner unloads vs. Expos.


MILNER: Had big day vs. Expos.

Nicknamed “The Hammer,’’ because he could rake, John Milner is another whose career never lived up to its expectations because of injuries. In his case a succession of hamstring issues.

A left fielder and first baseman, Milner broke in with the Mets in 1971 and played through the 1977 season. He was traded to Pittsburgh (1978-81), played with Montreal (1981-82) and spent the latter part of the 1982 season back with Pittsburgh.

On this date in 1972, when he hamstrings were still fresh and had a lot of spring, Milner drove in five runs in a 12-2 rout of the Expos at Shea Stadium.

Milner finished with a career .249 average with 131 homers and 498 RBI.

Milner died Jan. 4, 2000, at age 50, from lung cancer.

CAREER RECORD

BOX SCORE

 

UP NEXT: Tonight’s line-up against Florida.

May 06

Bay needs to produce – and now.

BAY: He can't be smiling now.

I am not a big stats guy. They can be telling, but also misleading. With some numbers, you can twist them into meaning anything you want.

That’s not the case with Jason Bay, whose numbers have been fundamentally telling and just plain bad. He  hit six homers with 47 RBI while batting .259 last season. I am aware of the injuries and having a slow start, but he had enough of a window – 401 plate appearances over 95 games – to understand that’s terrible.

An  injury this spring  has limited him to 11 games and 48 plate appearances, but has only .256, with one homer and three RBI to show for it. Not a great window, but one that says it can’t go on like this much longer.

Of all his numbers, his 14-5 strikeouts-to-walks ratio is most telling. There’s not much plate presence.

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May 03

Mets’ May 3 lineup vs. San Francisco.

With tonight being the first pro sports event in NY since bin Laden was killed, it figures to be an emotional night at Citi Field.

The Mets donated 4,000 tickets to servicemen for tonight’s game. Marine Corps Sgt. Elizabeth Quinones will perform “God Bless America’’ during the seventh inning stretch. The Mets also booked a color guard for the pre-game.

Here’s tonight’s lineup against San Francisco:

Jose Reyes, SS

Daniel Murphy, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Ike Davis, 1B

Lucas Duda, LF

Josh Thole, C

Jason Pridie, CF

R.A. Dickey, RP

 

NOTES: Jason Bay was placed on the Paternity Leave List to be with his wife, Kristen, for the birth of the couple’s third child. Replacing Bay will be Lucas Duda, who was hitting .257 (19-74) with four doubles, three home runs and nine RBI in 21 games for Triple-A Buffalo.