May 25

Mets Can Make Hay With Long Homestand

The Mets got their season-long 11-game homestand off on the wrong foot last night, but at the quarter-pole of what was supposed to be a lost season they are sitting three games over .500. They have by far exceeded all expectations, so there’s no reason to get frantic over a slip or two.

Currently, the Mets are making do with four substantial players down by injury in Mike Pelfrey, Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole and Jason Bay. They are getting by with very little from Ike Davis. Andres Torres and Lucas Duda aren’t hitting to what was hoped. Conversely, nobody expected David Wright to still be over .400. We are at the point of the season where the BA numbers should be going down.

More on a bright note, but bullpen has been torn and frayed.

Even so, the Mets keep plugging away and if they can get their injured back – save Pelfrey – by the end of the homestand it could dictate for a promising summer.

The Mets have shown a resiliency and grit we haven’t enjoyed from them in recent seasons and here’s hoping it can continue.

Speaking of resiliency, I have not been what I expect of myself. This surgery has taken a toll. I realize I have missed posts and remain thankful to Joe DeCaro for posting for me. Over the years I’ve developed some loyal readers who have entertained and informed with their comments. I know I can’t go this alone much longer, so if there is anybody who would like the keys to the blog and initiate your own posts I’d like to talk with you.

Please send me an email at jdelcos@yahoo.com. Please include your phone. Let’s talk.

 

May 10

Terry Collins Has Changed Culture

Several times this season the Mets answered a winning streak with a losing one. They have won five straight and you wouldn’t be wrong to wonder if the other shoe will drop this weekend in Miami.

Great timing to have Johan Santana start in the opener.

COLLINS: Getting it done.

While you and I might wonder, nobody in the Mets’ clubhouse is thinking along those lines. Terry Collins won’t allow it.

The book on Collins going in was he could get uptight and lose a clubhouse. There’s been nothing to suggest he’s going that way. It does show one can adjust, and even change, over time.

Collins came with little fanfare or declarations. There was no timetable to get the Mets into contention. Instead, he promised to change the culture. His teams are prepared and seldom come out flat, with the Houston debacle an exception.

We’ve seen hustle, better pitching and defense than expected, and a manager who sticks by his players. The Mets are hitting at an extraordinary clip with two outs and lead the majors in comeback victories with 11.

Continue reading

May 07

Mets May 7 Lineup At Philadelphia

The Mets are back in Philly tonight for the start of a three-game series. The Mets won two or three last time and the Phillies continue to struggle. While nobody expects the Phillies to flounder all season, the Mets have a chance to step on them when they are down.

The lineup:

Andres Torres, cf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, lf
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, rf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Ike Davis, 1b
Justin Turner, ss
Josh Thole, c
Jon Niese, lhp

LINEUP COMMENTS: Justin Turner replaces the injured Ruben Tejada. I like Kirk Nieuwenhuis elevated in the batting order, but still want him returned to leadoff. I thought the team played with more spark with him leading off.

ON DECK: Tejada update.

 

May 01

Kirk Nieuwenhuis Move Might Have Cost Mets

Of course, it crossed my mind. Left field in Houston is a tough place to play, perhaps one of the toughest in the National League. So, when Jed Lowrie’s pop up fell between Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Ruben Tejada, it immediately raised the inevitable speculation the Mets’ newest left fielder felt awkward because it was his first time in left on this level.

As a centerfielder, Nieuwenhuis played aggressively, but on this play he appeared tentative.

“It was just a ‘tweener’ ball that I should have caught,” Nieuwenhuis said. “It dropped, and that’s unfortunate. (R.A. Dickey) was pitching a great game and I just made a mistake.”

Neither Nieuwenhuis nor manager Terry Collins blamed the mistake on the former playing a new position, but it’s on the table. There is always an adjustment period in playing a different position.

Nieuwenhuis stayed in the leadoff spot and delivered a game-tying, two-run single, but his offensive night was mixed because he was also picked off first base.

ON DECK: Reviewing April’s fast start.

Apr 27

Encouraging News About Mets Farm System

It might not happen again for awhile – they have done it only three times in 50 years  – but the Mets’ starting lineup yesterday was comprised solely of products from the farm system. Elias reported it as the first time in 41 years.

Of course, that will change when Johan Santana and others start, and Andres Torres and Jason Bay return. Nonetheless, it is a positive sign,

In this era of spiraling salaries and considering their financial situation, homegrown talent is the surest form of cost certainty. As the Mets continue to improve, both on the field and in the standings, they’ll go to the outside more in the forms of free-agent signings and trades. But, the core has to be the farm system.

The Mets will soon have a decision to make in extending David Wright, which I believe they will. Two, three years down the road if they pan out as expected, the Mets will consider signing guys like Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada to long-term deals as to avoid arbitration and free-agency. This is what they did with Jon Niese.

Building from within is not a new theory and some of the premier examples is what the Yankees did during their run, adding a key homegrown player nearly every year. There was Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.

Most of the great franchises have a core group from the farm system and this is what the Mets need to do to become an elite team. Now that they appear to have a foundation is why I think they’ll keep Wright, who is leading the team in every major offensive category.