Jun 24

Mets Have Bullpen Issues; They should have used Tim Byrdak in the Seventh

Terry Collins said he didn’t go with Tim Byrdak in last night’s fateful seventh inning because he wanted to save him for later in the game. I suggested that earlier this morning, but I’m not buying that reasoning.

Oh, I understand it, but the game-on-the-line moment doesn’t always happen in the eighth or ninth innings. Sometimes, it is in the seventh. Had Byrdak been brought in and gotten Raul Ibanez, then maybe there’s not as issue later.

All games have turning points and key stats. Last night the bullpen headlined, but let’s not forget 1-for-14 with RISP. The Mets have been superb with two-out runs and lead the majors, but they didn’t have it last night.

Hell, one or two well-timed hits earlier and the bullpen never is brought into play.

May 10

Mets have a few bright spots along the way.

The Mets wasted another Chris Capuano outing last night, but on the bright spot they has a good outing to waste. Capuano has been up-and-down this spring, but he’s had a several starts suggest he was worth the gamble.

And, before Chris Young was injured, he had his moments, too. Ditto, Pedro Beatto.

The 2011 season hasn’t been totally void of positive developments. Ike Davis has been fun to watch, Jose Thole will continue to improve,  Carlos Beltran has stayed healthy and, despite for some concentration lapses, Jose Reyes has had a good season.

You can make statistics read anything you’d like, but the 15-20 Mets have lost 11 games this season by two or fewer runs. Improvement in the RISP category and they could be a .500 team or better. It’s not that inconceivable to believe.

In every team’s development from bad to decent to good, there are steps and one of them is learning how to win the close games. Yes, they’ve won a few, but the 11 they have lost can be, and should be gnawing to them.

Hopefully, these defeats are bothering them, making them angry and more determined to concentrate and focus when the games are close. That’s why I pointed out the other day about Reyes. Sure, they won that game, but there have been others they lost where he and others fell out of focus.

The Mets are having some good things happen this year, and their losing the close games should be looked upon as a learning experience. When Sandy Alderson is considering how close the Mets are to reaching contending status, this is something he should evaluate closely.

This is not a contending team, but it isn’t one that should be blown up, either.

Apr 10

Beltran has stud night; Young pitches today.

I admit, after Beltran’s big night my first thought was July and if he stays healthy the Mets would be in better position to make a deal at the trade deadline. I am under no illusions Beltran will return next season, even if he stays healthy, has a big year and the Mets are competitive.

BELTRAN: Has big night.

The Mets’ financial and legal situation will remain the backdrop for this season, and it will be that way until it is resolved.

That being said, it is a good sign he’s swinging the bat well, and I liked how the Mets came back and added runs last night. The Mets are a .500 team after eight games, showing signs of progress one day and their most glaring weaknesses the next.

If it remains that way, it will be a maddening, and yet a fascinating summer. There will be moments and perhaps long stretches of alert aggressive baseball and also times when their pitching gets torched and the bats fall silent with RISP. It is always that way with developing teams.

As far as Beltran is concerned, if he produces the only things that would prevent the Mets from making a deal in July would be his contract and if the team is surprisingly competitive. If, by chance, they are in contention they might keep him in the hopes of making a run.

That, of course, is wishful thinking, but isn’t that the way when one follows the Mets.

Meanwhile, Chris Young goes this afternoon. He was impressive in his first start and if he keeps giving the Mets six solid innings he’ll be fine. In this comeback season that’s about all the Mets can count on from him. So far, the Mets will take what they’ve gotten from Young and last night’s starter Chris Capuano.

The Mets go for their third series win this afternoon with this line-up:

Jose Reyes, SS

Willie Harris, LF

David Wright, 3B

Ike Davis, 1B

Angel Pagan, CF

Lucas Duda, RF

Brad Emaus, 2B

Josh Thole, C

Chris Young, RP

 

Apr 09

Capuano starts for Mets tonight vs. Nationals

I’m very anxious to see Chris Capuano tonight. As the fifth starter, he was skipped the first time through the rotation. He gets his chance as the fifth starter to pull the Mets out of their three-game funk.

After winning three straight, the Mets have lost three in a row as their pitching was rocked the last two games in Philadelphia and the offense stunt their last two games, including going a dreadful 0-10 with RISP in the home opener against Washington.

If the Mets are to turn the corner this season, they must beat the lower division teams, of which the Nationals are one.

To chat tonight, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left.

Jun 19

Mets Chat Room: Keep Pagan hitting second.

Game #68 at Yankees

I always liked Luis Castillo in the two hole because of his ability to bunt, hit behind Jose Reyes and work the count.

However, with the way Angel Pagan has taken to that position in the order, and how the Mets have played with him there, when Castillo comes back from the disabled list I’d rather have him hit eight and keep Pagan second.

Last night, Pagan broke open a close game with a two run double, something he’s done a lot of lately with an average of well over .300 with RISP.

Reyes and David Wright are hitting now, but unquestionably the Mets’ most consistent hitter this season has been Pagan.

He’ll bat second again today in a pitcher’s duel between Mike Pelfrey and Phil Hughes, both of whom are 9-1.

Here’s today’s lineup:

Jose Reyes, SS

Angel Pagan, CF

David Wright, 3B

Ike Davis, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Chris Carter, DH

Jeff Francoeur, RF

Alex Cora, 2B

Henry Blanco, C

Mike Pelfrey, RP