Aug 24

Free fall personified by non-slide

The freefall some have been waiting for all season is here. After being blown out last night in Philly for the second straight game, the Mets have lost 17 of their past 22 games. Some were in excruciating style. Some, like the past two games, were simply ugly.

PAGAN: Shameful display.

Nothing was more ugly, or discouraging than Angel Pagan’s non-slide into the plate to open the game.  He was either lazy, stupid, not paying attention or faked out by catcher Brian Schneider. Your choice which is worse.

He should have been benched on the spot. When you stop thinking, you stop trying, and there appears no stopping the Mets in their fall to the basement.

To me the whole night was summed up by that play. He should have put Schneider on his butt. It was the type of play Pagan made two years ago excuses were made for his inexperience. Those excuses don’t apply any longer. Probably, with Scott Hairston injured, Terry Collins had no other choice but to start him today.

Ugly was also compounded by the loss of Jon Niese with a rib cage pull. Niese iitially injured his back last week in San Diego, and aggravated it pitching to Hunter Pence last night.

He admitted he should have said something, but didn’t. Just a dumb, dumb thing to do.

Niese has been in a funk for awhile, with a 6.82 ERA over his last six starts, lasting an average of 5.1 innings. If he’s been hurting even before San Diego, then add another dumb to the list.

The Mets are now at the point with Niese that they should consider shutting him down for the season. Seriously, what’s to be gained by throwing him out there again?

Niese wasn’t the only disappointment last night.

The frustration started early when they stranded five runners in the first two innings courtesy of five strikeouts. All of them looking.

Defensively, this was a spring training game with players over throwing the cutoff men and going to the wrong base.

The only positive coming out of last night was Lucas Duda’s continued hot inning. He was in right field last night where he should have been for the past two weeks.

He’ll be in right again this afternoon when the Mets try to avoid being swept. Mike Pelfrey will have the honors.

I don’t know about you, but I have little faith in Pelfrey today, and with good reason: He has a 7.58 ERA in two defeats against Philadelphia this year.

Here’s this afternoon’s lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF

Ruben Tejada, SS

David Wright, 3B

Lucas Duda, RF

Jason Bay, LF

Nick Evans, 1B

Josh Thole, C

Justin Turner, 2B

Mike Pelfrey, RP

 

Aug 17

Slipping away

We knew they weren’t going to win this season, but for awhile there they were fun to watch. They were aggressive, hustled and more importantly, competitive and made us think of what could have happened had they been intact all season.

The Mets missed David Wright for two months, are without Ike Davis for the rest of the season, haven’t had Johan Santana all year, watched Mike Pelfrey regress, had Jose Reyes on the disabled list twice, and haven’t gotten a thing from Jason Bay. All this under the specter of a possible fire sale, which saw only Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodrigue depart.

Even so, the Mets have hung around the .500 mark, but lately they’ve started to play like we thought they might. The Mets have lost 12 of their last 16 games after last night in San Diego. And, it won’t get any easier with Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Atlanta coming up to close out the month.

Remember when Fred Wilpon said he wanted the Mets to play meaningful games in September? There are different interpretations of the word “meaningful.”

There’s no pennant race, and won’t be for awhile, but I’d like to see the Mets close with a spark and intensity they’ve had for much of the season.

I’d like there to be some fun down the stretch.

 

 

 

 

Aug 15

Decisions to be made as Mets begin series in San Diego.

Lucas Duda is at first base tonight in San Diego, but manager Terry Collins said that might change soon and he could be moved to right field for the rest of the season.

With the Mets skidding and now four games under .500 and 11.5 games behind in the wild-card hunt with four teams to jump and two games from the cellar, what was expected is being realized and we’re on the slow slide into winter.

It’s time the Mets’ decisions are made with 2012 in mind.

A couple of decisions involve Duda and Ike Davis. The expectation is Davis will play first base next season, but his ankle is a question. The current stance is to wait several weeks before deciding on whether microfracture surgery will be necessary.

The injury has not improved, and as with Carlos Beltran, there’s a strong possibility surgery will eventually be needed. The healing time for this surgery, as it was with Beltran, is often lengthy and waiting another month only puts him behind that much in his rehab.

That’s why the surgery decision should be made sooner rather than later.

If Davis comes back he’ll play first, the logical place to play Duda would be in right field. Duda has not played there enough to present a big enough window to prove he’s that answer.

That’s why, with Nick Evans capable of playing first, Duda should be in the outfield for as much as possible.

If Duda busts out in right – as Daniel Murphy did in left a couple of years ago – the Mets would want to know that know that before starting their off-season shopping.

The Mets are also in position now to make decisions on five roster slots. Jason Bay, Chris Capuano, D.J. Carrasco, Willie Harris and Angel Pagan have already cleared waivers, meaning they can be traded to any team until the end of the month. Teams routinely put players on waivers to ascertain interest. It also indicates a willingness by the Mets to deal these players.

Bay, we know, because of his gagging contract, isn’t going anywhere. However, Capuano and Pagan could provide value to a contender. Based on their performance so far, the Mets must have a sense of what they want to do next year. If there’s limited interest in bringing them back, then they should get what they can for them.

 

Aug 01

Today in Mets’ History: Cycling with McReynolds.

For some reason, perhaps because he was quiet and never appeared to break a sweat. Perhaps it was his unemotional demeanor, but Mets fans never warmed up to Kevin McReynolds.

McREYNOLDS: Quiet talent.

However, on this date in 1989, McReynolds hit for the cycle and drove in six runs in an 11-0 rout of St. Louis.

McReynolds’ best season with the Mets was in 1988 when he hit .288 with career highs in RBI (99), stolen bases (21 without being caught), and hit 27 homers.

Originally signed by San Diego, McReynolds was traded to the Mets in a deal that sent Kevin Mitchell to the Padres. The Mets traded McReynolds to Kansas City in 1991 in a multi-year deal that brought Bret Saberhagen to the Mets. In 1994, the Royals traded McReynolds back to the Mets for Vince Coleman.

So, you can see McReynolds was a magnet for players carrying “questionable’’ baggage.

McREYNOLDS CAREER

McREYNOLDS BOX SCORE

 

Feb 01

Alderson wants to cut budget in the future

I wrote the other day to not expect the Mets go crazy next winter when the contracts of Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and possibly Francisco Rodriguez come off the books. Sandy Alderson pretty much confirmed that this week.

“Our payroll going into the season will be somewhere between 140 and 150 million [dollars],’’ Alderson said.

Then he drooped the other shoe.

“I think that’s significantly higher than we’d like it to be on an annual basis.’’

Ouch.

With the Phillies’ spending beginning at over $160 million for this season, can the Mets realistically expect to compete if they want to go “significantly,’’ lower?

With Alderson not defining what a significant reduction will be, it doesn’t take a stretch to reason the Mets don’t figure to spend extravagantly in the market, but will use the farm system to develop their team.

Building from within is the preferable way to go, but requires considerable patience and luck. To make it work, as San Francisco did last year, one must also develop pitching and the Mets don’t have any major league ready arms in the near future.

Building from within also requires the willingness to shop the market to patch the holes and in that regard we don’t know of Alderson’s aggressiveness when it comes to pursuing free agents. Even if the Mets slash their budget next year, he’ll still have greater resources than he did in Oakland and San Diego.

When he was hired, Alderson said he understood New York was a different animal and he had act to keep the fan base interested and excited.

So far, we’ve been told to wait. And, we’re hearing it again.