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.

 

Jul 08

Mets at Giants to close first half

After their strong showing in Los Angeles, the Mets attempt to close out their surprising first half in San Francisco, with R.A. Dickey going against Ryan Vogelsong.

A reoccurring story line to the Mets’ first half has been whether they will deal All-Star shortstop, Jose Reyes, who was placed on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring.

General manager Sandy Alderson said it is unlikely Reyes would be traded, and the team is interested in signing him to an extension this winter.

Reyes said his camp wants to negotiate after the season, and the Mets have not made an offer.

The Mets are now saying it could take longer than two weeks for Reyes’ hamstring to heal, which isn’t surprising considering his history with muscle pulls, first early in his career, and recently with his strained oblique. This is not an athlete with quick recuperative powers.

In the interim, the Mets are getting a good look at Ruben Tejada, who is proving not to be an easy out.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF

Justin Turner, 2B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Daniel Murphy, 3B

Jason Bay, LF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Josh Thole, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

RA Dickey, RP

 

Jul 05

Reyes sits again; lineup posted vs. Dodgers.

Jose Reyes took batting practice tonight from both sides of the plate and jogged off the field. It was a positive sign, but not enough for Terry Collins to change his mind.

“To get Reyes for one game tonight or tomorrow and then lose him for three weeks is just stupid,’’ said Collins, not daring for a second to attempt the Jerry Manuel Two-Step when it comes to injures.

The Mets, on the verge of being swept by the Yankees, Sunday, will be going after their third straight victory tonight at Los Angeles.

Here’s tonight’s lineup behind Mike Pelfrey:

Angel Pagan, CF

Justin Turner, 2B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Ronny Paulino, C

Jason Bay, LF

Daniel Murphy, 3B

Ruben Tejada, SS

Lucas Duda, 1B

Mike Pelfrey, RP