Aug 05

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #107; salvaging the homestand.

Hi guys. Sorry for the late post. I think, if you want to boil down last night’s game, it was the embodiment of all things wrong with the team this season.

Johan Santana, as usual, had a start in which he could have won wasted. The bullpen, especially K-Rod – high expectations gone sour? – let him down. And, let’s not forget about the failure to hit in the clutch.

On a night in which they needed their “A’’ game, the Mets came up with a C at best. Let’s face it, giving up a dozen runs isn’t going to win you many games.

There was a glimmer when Sean Green found it, but he’s lost it again, gone as far as Albert Pujols’ grand slam.

After winning three straight against Colorado to open this home stand, the Mets have hit another skid. Today’s game against the Cardinals is about salvaging the homestand.

This time, the hole indeed might be too deep. West Coast trips are never easy, and we know what happened the last time the Mets were in San Diego. Swept away, they were, and soon after Willie Randolph was gone.

Then there’s Atlanta and Philly looming again. Three weeks from now, they could be 15 games or more behind.

By that time, it might be time to consider shutting down Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran for the remainder of this lost season.

Jul 16

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #88; second half begins.

METS CHAT ROOM

METS CHAT ROOM

One of the major storylines last offseason was the Mets’ decision to give Oliver Perez three years instead of four years for Derek Lowe.

The pitchers face each other tonight in Atlanta as the second half of the season begins. My confidence level in Perez is about zero. There’s just something about him that screams bust.

PEREZ: Who knows what to expect?

PEREZ: Who knows what to expect?


The Mets are within striking distance in the NL East. Teams have come back from a lot greater holes in far less time. The Mets know that from blowing a seven-game lead with 17 to play in 2007. It has been done, but rarely by a team with as many glaring deficiencies as these Mets.

1. Perez is only one of three major concerns in the rotation. There’s John Maine’s shoulder, which nobody really knows will be ready. Plus, Livan Hernandez has been hit hard lately, so the bloom is off his fast start.

2. Don’t expect Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran back before the end of the month. Carlos Delgado will be back sometime in August, but by that time the competitive part of the season might be ove.

3. The bullpen started off so well, but has been worn down by the workload. Sean Green and Bobby Parnell have run hot-and-cold. Pedro Feliciano is being run into the ground and JJ Putz is on the DL. The way things are going, Billy Wagner, if he returns, won’t be a luxury but a necessity.

4. There’s been little consistent power production. It’s hard to believe Gary Sheffield leads the team in homers. Jeff Francoeur might add something, but the hitter they really need is Wright to step up.

5. The farm system is barren as we’ve frequently heard before. There are few major-league ready players to come up to help the Mets, which also means there are limited trade options. The Mets will not make a blockbuster kind of deal at the trade deadline.

Here’s the line-up that will take a crack at Derek Lowe:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Alex Cora, SS
Brian Schneider, C
Oliver Perez, LP

Perez (2-2, 8.78 ERA) will make his second start for the Mets since coming off the disabled list. Perez earned the victory against the Dodgers, but threw only five innings and gave up seven walks. Perez had no record against the Braves last year, but had a 3.72 ERA in 19 1/3 innings against them.

May 11

Notice how we haven’t heard the word “edge” lately.

No, not for a minute do I believe the Mets’ winning streak is tied to GM Omar Minaya’s comments about some of his players lacking a certain “edge” to them.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the last game the Mets lost was one started by Oliver Perez that Saturday afternoon in Philly. The Mets came back to make a game of it before losing on a bases loaded walk from Sean Green.

From then on, they’ve played the way they said all along they were capable of.

Why?

The Mets are 12-3 when they get a quality start, which by definition – three runs in six innings – is kind of mediocre when you stop to think about it. Mets starters are 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA in their last seven starts.

When a team pitches well, and that should continue tonight with Johan Santana, then everything else falls into place. There’s less pressure on the offense and less strain on the bullpen. Games are crisper, smoother and played with a certain – what’s the word I’m searching for? – edge if you will.

The Mets are playing aggressive, alert baseball, and there are no worries about heart or calls for leadership.

Once the pitching goes in the tank again, and there will be a stretch when things don’t click again, we’ll hear about “edge” and grit and leadership.

May 08

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #28; trap series against Bucs.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

We’ve seen it all too often, the Mets rise up in a big series and then stumble against teams they should beat. Hey, that is the essence of the collapses of the last two years.

The Mets have won four straight, beating the sweeping a pair of two-game series against the Braves and Phillies. The Pirates are in for three this weekend before Atlanta comes to town next week.

The Pirates are team the Mets should beat, but they can be a pesky team especially since their pitching has been decent this spring.

Even with their modest four-game winning streak, there are still holes in the Mets’ game, beginning with the offense. Last night they scored a bunch early, but their bats went to sleep and they had to hold on to win.

K-Rod has been lights out, and Bobby Parnell has risen above Sean Green in the pecking order. Green has not pitched well, and Pedro Feliciano has also taken his lumps.

The room is open, but I have to take care of some things and I’ll join you later.

Apr 07

About Yesterday ….

A lot of things stand out about Opening Day, but two in particular are important to me.

The first is the effort by Sean Green who finished for Johan Santana and worked the seventh. We’re optimistic about JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez on the back end, but the bridge to them was an issue. If you go by the weakest link in the chain theory, then there were none yesterday.

It will be interesting to see how Jerry Manuel juggles the back end when he wants to give K-Rod or Putz a day off. Having confidence in a guy like Green makes it all the more easier.

What I didn’t like yesterday was how the Mets hit with RISP. That’s been an on-going problem the last two years. It’s only one game and the weather yesterday was horrible, but another hit or two and the game was a blowout. Playing with a lead is always easier and you know there will be games when the pitching gives it up and it’s not Santana on the mound.