May 07

Ruben Tejada Injury Provides Test As Mets Go To Philly

Ruben Tejada has a strained right calf and will be replaced in the line-up tonight with the Mets in Philadelphia. Justin Turner is at shortstop, but the DL for Tejada is contingent on MRI results.

The Mets are waiting as they start taking batting practice.

The Mets’ resiliency will again be tested this young season as it was when Andres Torres went down, David Wright missed several games with a fractured pinkie, Mike Pelfrey being lost for the season, Jason Bay out again and Ike Davis struggling at the plate.

That’s a lot of things going wrong early, but nothing severe enough to derail this season.

Things are never easy for the Mets and haven’t been since 2007. And, it is never easy in Philadelphia, and won’t be this week with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee starting for the Phillies.

Still, with injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, the Phillies aren’t the same team that has lived on top of the NL East the past five years. In an odd quirk of scheduling, the Mets are already making their second trip into Philadelphia. They won two of three the first time, but who doesn’t expect a different Phillies team this week?

I am not and will not say the Mets are a championship caliber team this early in the season. The questions they had to open the season remain and with Tejada’s injury there are more.

Even so, the Mets are playing with a grit and intensity nobody expected and that’s something to build on. Nobody knows how this season will unfold, but there have been several unexpected developments saying there could be fun baseball this summer.

Earlier I wrote the last thing the Mets wanted was to be buried deep in the NL East by the time the weather warmed and the kids got out of school. The Mets needed more than anything to give their fan base a reason to care about this summer and they’ve done so.

ON DECK: Tonight’s Philly Lineup.

 

Sep 26

Big Pelf? Nope. Big poof.

Did you really expect Mike Pelfrey to beat Roy Halladay yesterday? Neither did I … nor did I expect him to outpitch Halladay in any capacity.

PELFREY: Ends disappointing season on flat note.

What I expected was Pelfrey to pitch with pride and intensity. I hoped after this letdown of a season, in his final start he would step up and close out with a performance to give him a good taste going into winter.

Instead, he gave us another sour start, and himself a lot to think about in the coming months.

He proved he was a Big Poof instead of a Big Pelf.

“I wanted to finish strong.  That obviously was the furthest thing from it,’’ said Pelfrey, who gave up five runs on nine hits in three innings.

On a positive note, at least he was back in the clubhouse in time to catch the end of the Giants game.

Pelfrey finished 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA and a myriad of questions and concerns about his future with the Mets. How can there not be with the Mets losing 22 of his 34 starts?

Continue reading

May 05

Even against the best, the Mets had chances.

We saw what the Mets could do a week ago.  They were proficient in tacking on runs, scoring late and getting hits with two outs, and – surprise – with runners in scoring position.

CAPUANO: Strong effort wasted.

 

However, they were also doing that against Houston, Arizona and Washington. Teams not much better than them.

Now we are seeing what they can, or should I say, can’t do against the National League’s elite arms.

They were taken down last night by Tim Lincecum. Before that it was Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Those games also featured wasted pitching outings by Jon Niese, Chris Young and Chris Capuano.

Maybe it will get better when Jason Bay and Angel Pagan return, but their absence is really no excuse. Major league hitters must find away to manufacture runs. Even against the best, the Mets must play better than their current pace, which would net them 65 victories.

That’s good enough for last place, not much more.

As dominating as Lincecum was last night, the Mets left nine runners on base and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. They had their chances.

This isn’t a team without opportunities. This is a team not good enough to convert them.

ON DECK: Even though he is playing well, Beltran will be tough to deal.

 

May 04

It won’t get easier against Lincecum.

The Mets have lost four of their last five games after winning six straight, and it won’t get likely won’t get any easier against Tim Lincecum, their third Cy Young Award winning pitcher over their last four games, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay being the others.

LINCECUM: Presents a big challenge.

Lincecum is 2-3 with a 2.90 ERA, numbers that say he’s not getting any run support. Of course, the Giants’ offense is why there’s been a lot of Jose Reyes talk the past couple of days. Yes, the Giants are interested. Why wouldn’t they be?  There are other teams as well, but let’s face it, only a few that can afford to sign him to a long-term deal.

Reyes reached base six times last night to raise his on-base percentage to .377, which isn’t what neither him nor the Mets would like it to be. Reyes has been hot over his last 12 games, hitting .367 with four doubles and eight runs scored in that span.

The Mets are wondering what to do with Dillon Gee, and a spot in the rotation isn’t out of the question should Chris Capuano struggle tonight. Capuano has alternated wins and losses in his last four starts. He gave up four runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings in his last start Thursday at Washington. The week before he gave up one run in seven innings against Houston.

During his pre-game talk with the media, manager Terry Collins touched on the following issues:

* Jason Bay will return to the lineup tomorrow after leaving the team on paternity leave.

* Johan Santana is progressing in his rehab, but didn’t offer a date when he’ll start throwing off the mound. Until that, it’s all speculation.

* Angel Pagan is maybe a week away from returning from the disabled list.

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

 

May 01

Mets performed as expected in April.

Where did that winning streak go? It was here a moment ago. Instead, it has morphed into a three-game losing skid, which could reach four tonight against Cliff Lee, and keep going when the San Francisco Giants come to town this week.

The Mets closed April at 11-16 and in last place in the NL East, about what most people expected from them. But what most counted on was win two, lose three. Nobody expected the Mets to be as streaky to the extreme as they have been. Losing this way is more frustrating because it preys on your frustrations and fears.

The pitching is going to dictate the Mets’ success this year, and that didn’t disappoint in April, where it was poor for most of the month save a week stretch in which it transformed the Mets into a representative baseball team. The key was Mike Pelfrey, who regressed from last summer. There were occasional bright starts, but for the most part the rotation remains a source of concern, as does the bullpen, which has proven to be highly combustible when overworked.

There’s nobody in the rotation that you feel confident will take you to the seventh. Jon Niese was solid yesterday against Roy Halladay, but who can’t see him bailing after four in his next start.

Pedro Beato and Jason Isringhausen have been dependable. Francisco Rodriguez is still a tight rope act. Bobby Parnell was supposed to be the eighth inning answer, but we don’t know much of his failures are talent or injury related. The remainder of the pen is a hold-your-breath propostion.

Offensively, Daniel Murphy has been solid and Carlos Beltran has performed more, and probably better than expected. Ike Davis has taken a positive step and Jason Bay has played well since coming off the disabled list.

David Wright still strikes out too much for me and is not dependable in the clutch. I still want Jose Reyes to strike out less and walk more.

There are days when the offense can be daunting, yet others when it is puzzling. That pretty much describes the Mets as a whole, which hasn’t been a surprise.