Aug 21

Mets hope to salvage Milwaukee series behind Dickey

The Mets have had more than their fair share of gut-wrenching defeats this season.

There was the balk-off loss at Atlanta. The back-to-back games where they tied it in the ninth only to lose. But, yesterday’s meltdown to Milwaukee stung like vinegar on a cut.

DICKEY: Trying to stop the slide.

Down six to tie, then lose. It doesn’t get any more frustrating.  When the first two runners reached against Jason Isringhausen you had to know bad things were coming.

You can’t blame this on youth, because the late-inning damage was done against a veteran. Even so, as in most losses there were things that stood out, such as all the walks from Chris Capuano and the inability to hit in the clutch.

There’s only so many times you can talk about heart and grit, and the Mets have those qualities. Unfortunately, over the course of a long season, talent carries more weight.

After a surge that carried them over the .500 mark and even brought wild-card fantasies, the Mets find themselves five games under this afternoon with the R.A. Dickey called upon to stop the bleeding. Last season’s surprise, Dickey has a respectable ERA, but a lack of support has him at 5-11 and a loser in three of his last four decisions.

Today’s lineup will feature:

Angel Pagan, CF

Justin Turner, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Lucas Duda, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Josh Thole, C

Jason Pridie, RF

Ruben Tejada, SS

R.A. Dickey, RP

After today, the Mets have back-to-back series against Philadelphia and Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Jose Reyes continues to rehab his tender left hamstring. Reyes ran to first this morning without difficulty and said he’ll run the bases with more intensity this week and play in a rehab game, perhaps at Buffalo.

 

Aug 19

Mets begin tough stretch tonight

The Mets open a difficult stretch tonight with three games against Milwaukee, followed by three each against Philadelphia and Atlanta. They are three games below .500, but could be in the NL East basement by the time the month is over.

Considering how they’ve played most of the season, it would be a shame.

Tonight’s Mets’ lineup looks resembles one of those spring training batting orders sent to Fort Myers. David Wright, Angel Pagan and Jose Thole are the only Opening Day starters in tonight’s lineup behind Mike Pelfrey against the Brewers.

Nothing quite says rebuilding like tonight’s lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF

Willie Harris, 2B

David Wright, 1B

Lucas Duda, 1B

Mike Baxter, RF

Jason Pridie, LF

Josh Thole, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

Mike Pelfrey, RP

Looking at tonight’s lineup, one can envision it being on the field a lot next year, minus Harris, Baxter and Pridie.

The frequently banged up Justin Turner will sit tonight for the fourth time in seven games. Also, sitting is Jason Bay, who is on an 0-for-20 slide.

Meanwhile, Jose Reyes continues to rehab his strained left hamstring. He’s running straight forward, but not cutting corners or going full throttle.

It isn’t likely Reyes will be activated when he’s eligible, Aug. 23.

 

Aug 11

Liking how Collins handled Niese

After winning the first two games of this series, coming away with a split is definitely disappointing. It’s not as if the Mets had a realistic chance to catch the Braves for the wild-card, but after losing seven of their last 10 they are now 10.5 games behind Atlanta.

NIESE: Keeps on growing.

After another one-run loss this afternoon (that’s 18 on the season), they are headed to Arizona and San Diego, where it won’t be easy. The Mets are at their point of the season where the goals are fundamental, such as finishing above .500 and making value judgments on the future.

With the latter, I liked how Terry Collins handled Jonathan Niese this afternoon. Collins gave Niese 122 pitches worth of rope and stuck with him in the eighth when most managers would have been seduced by the pitch count and gone the conventional route.

Most managers would have yanked Niese after Cameron Maybin’s leadoff single, and definitely after the stolen base. Then, after an intentional walk and double steal, Jerry Manuel might have been on his second reliever.

With runners on second and third, Collins gave Niese a strong vote of confidence and allowed him to pitch to Aaron Cunningham. Perhaps it was a vote of non-confidence in the bullpen, but this was important to Niese’s development.

Cunningham grounded a ball to Ruben Tejada, who, instead of getting in front of the ball, tried to one-hand it. The ball went off the heel of his glove and Niese was on his way to becoming the hard-luck loser.

Even so, Niese got the ground ball he needed, indirectly rewarding Collins’ confidence.

A couple of years ago teams called the Mets asking for Niese and they wisely eschewed. It was one of Omar Minaya’s better decisions.

Niese still has a way to go, but this was definitely something to build on.

 

 

Aug 11

Mets line-up vs. Padres

There are many glaring stats that help define a season. For the Mets, their 25-31 record at home is one of them. This was supposed to be a homestand where they could make up some ground, but they are a dismal 3-5.

Here’s the line-up that will try to get it done today:

Scott Hairston, CF

Justin Turner, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Jason Bay, LF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Nick Evans, RF

Ronny Paulino, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

Jon Niese, LP

 

Aug 11

Mets have disappointing flashback last night

Just when you think the Mets turn the corner, they stub their toe.

After raving about their inspired play and fundamental execution the past few days, I should have known last night was coming. It was a virtual lock.

DICKEY: In a 1-10 rut at home.

A real stinker on so many fronts.

R.A. Dickey can’t win at home and his disappointing season continued last night, and it began early. He also didn’t help himself with his defense. I like the intangibles Dickey brings and his heart, but realistically he’s a No. 5 starter at best. But, he’s ranked higher than that with the Mets, which tells you a lot about their rotation.

I like that Dickey is a stand-up guy, and he showed that again after the game.

“Just a real sloppy game for us, collectively,” Dickey said. “And I need to own up myself. I made a poor throw in the second that led to two runs and I had an opportunity to drive in a run with the bases loaded and nobody out and I didn’t get that done. So, look no further than this locker right here because I could have left that game very easily winning.”

Well, that might be a stretch considering the other meltdowns. When you get 15 hits and receive four walks, you must score more than five runs. Thirteen left on will cost you every time.

I don’t know what was worse, the Mets’ inability to hit in the clutch or Bobby Parnell, who was raked again last night. One game, he’s light out, and the next he’s lit up. So much is expected of him, but he’s not getting it done.

And, there was Ruben Tejada’s non-slide, which can’t be excused.

Even so, the Mets made a late surge, which means they didn’t lay down, and that’s been one of the positives about this team.

On the injury front, Angel Pagan left the game with back spasms, but said he hopes to play this afternoon. I wouldn’t count on it.