The more I think about it, the more aggravated I am about last night. Not so much that they lost, but in Terry Collins bringing up the possibility of a let down because of a late arrival into Chicago. It was a self-fulfilling prophesy. Think it and it might come true.
The bottom line is travel in MLB is blatantly unfair, but it is an issue that must be dealt with by all. Adversity is something a championship caliber team must overcome.
Among the Mets notes:
* Jason Bay has been cleared to work out on a stationary bike. If there are no concussion symptoms he can run and resume baseball activities this weekend in Los Angeles. Once again, the Mets have been getting production elsewhere so there’s no need to rush him back.
* Collins said Johan Santana’s starts won’t be cut short like the Nationals will do with Stephen Strasburg. The Mets will go with a five-man rotation the rest of the way. Santana is on a 115-pitch limit, and at the start of the season Collins said 28 starts would be ideal. He’s on pace for that, and if he can get to 32, it could translate into a good season for the Mets. That is, if he gets bullpen support.
* Although Daniel Murphy has been sitting against lefties, Collins said it isn’t permanent. Actually, that’s up to Justin Turner. If he hits lefties when he plays, he’ll continue to get time. Pretty simple, really. Murphy is homerless in his last 347 at-bats.
ESPN had an interesting post when it examined the starting rotations of the NL East teams. They still have Johan Santana listed as No. 1, which is puzzling.
What I found most interesting is that every team’s No. 3 starter would qualify as the Mets’ No. 1.
Edwin Jackson is reportedly on his way to Washington, where he’s the projected third starter behind Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. The Braves’ No. 3 is Tommy Hanson. Miami’s third starter is Ricky Nolasco and Philadelphia’s is Cole Hamels.
The Mets’ projected rotation is Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee.
It’s all about pitching and this is a grim reminder of the Mets’ status.
Ten walk-off losses for a season sounds high, let alone 10 for the first half. That’s the number after Frankie Rodriguez’s latest meltdown yesterday.
“The worst performance I ever had in my life,’’ he called yesterday afternoon’s ninth inning, which for all practical purposes was over before Adam Dunn’s game-tying drive off the wall.
Walking Cristian Guzman on four pitches to open the ninth was as bad a sign as there is.
Rodriguez’s implosion made Stephen Strasburg a footnote and threw away what would have been RA Dickey’s seventh win.
Ten walk-off losses out of 36 is way to high a percentage and is something the Mets must address immediately. For all the talk about the eighth inning, a band-aid needed to be put on the ninth, too.
“We have our issues,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “We can’t have an issue at the end of the game.’’
But, they do.
While the Mets’ bullpen is an issue heading into the break, so to is Jose Reyes’ health. Reyes, who has a strained right oblique, won’t play again today at Washington and is now questionable for the Reds series starting tomorrow at Citi Field.
They couldn’t be any more opposite, RA Dickey and Stephen Strasburg.
One, Dickey, is a 35-year-old knuckleballer hanging on to his career with grit, guile and perseverance. The other, Strasburg, is the rookie phenom, who despite a handful of starts in his young career already has some clamoring for him to be on the National League All-Star team.
Imagine, less than 40 career innings and already they are lobbying for him to be an All-Star. It shouldn’t happen, but you never know.
At the beginning of last week I wrote how important the Detroit and Minnesota series were to the streaky Mets.
They’ve been either hot or cold and a solid showing against two strong American League teams would be a positive showing, and going 4-2 has them on the cusp again of first place in the NL East. With a win tonight and Atlanta loss to Washington and rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg, the Mets can move into first place.
They’ll attempt to do it behind knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who is vying tonight to become the first Mets pitcher since Steve Trachsel in 2006 to win seven straight decisions.
“It doesn’t feel surreal,’’ Dickey said. “It feels like something I’ve been capable of doing.’’
The Mets will be without Angel Pagan again tonight, who remains sidelined with a muscle spasm on his right side.