Jun 28

Kirk Nieuwenhuis Could Be Out When Jason Bay Returns

Kirk Nieuwenhuis is in the midst of a horrid 3-for-26 slump, looking so bad he sat yesterday against a right-hander. He’s likely to sit again tonight against lefty Chris Capuano.

Nieuwenhuis is striking out in 33 percent of his at-bats (once every three), and has 15 since June 15.

Terry Collins is careful not to quash Nieuwenhuis’ confidence, saying he’s giving him a mental breather. However, one can’t help but wonder when that breather will turn into “the need to play everyday.”

If we see Nieuwenhuis sitting more and more, don’t be surprised if he’s sent down to play every day when Jason Bay returns.

Jun 27

Mets Terry Collins Angry At Team

If last night’s postgame media session with Mets manager Terry Collins was animated, you could’ve seen the steam coming from his ears and his face getting fire engine red. Collins was clearly angry, and when asked about the lousy umpiring, said they didn’t leave all those men on base.

True enough.

After Monday’s throwaway game, you would’ve thought the Mets would have stormed Wrigley Field and taken no prisoners. Nope. They responded with ugly baseball. Bad pitching all around, no clutch hitting, hesitant baserunning and porous defense. They brain cramped their way through nine innings.

What the Mets accomplished last night was to make us think for the first time they were morphing into “the same old Mets.”

Say it ain’t so.

 

Jun 23

Ike Davis Comes Up Big For Mets

Yes, I know, Frank Francisco got the save last night and backed up his boast, but not before getting into trouble. Fact is, he’ll blow a key save opportunity soon enough.

The biggest thing that came out of last night was Ike Davis’ homer in the first against lefty Andy Pettitte. I wrote earlier how that match up would be key in this series.

Davis delivered last night and that was the difference and supported Jon Niese. You have to give credit to Terry Collins for sticking with him when Davis was struggling.

Jun 22

Yankees Represent Challenge For Lucas Duda and Ike Davis

There are several things I’d like to see happen for the Mets this weekend. If recent history is any indicator, they will be swept by the Yankees. Trading sweeps is not a way to make the kind of progress Terry Collins needs.

We’ve seen it before with the Mets. They’d come into the Yankees’ series on a roll and get dumped on. And, at home, too. That needs to stop, and here’s what we need to see.

* With the Yankees throwing left handers Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda (tight hammy) need to have a good series. Raking would be nice, but don’t get stuffed. It is easy to envision them getting shut down, but their development requires standing in against tough lefties.

* The bullpen bridge to Frank Francisco must produce. And, the sometimes shaky closer needs to show his mettle. Of course, the best thing would be to get quality innings from the starters.

* The RA Dickey success is no fluke, but the Yankees have a way of cutting down hot pitchers a notch. A strong game on national TV Sunday night against Sabathia would be a great way to start a long road trip.

There are other things I’d like to see, but if the Mets produce the above three, it should be a successful weekend.

ON DECK: Interleague play.

Jun 21

Mets Sweep Orioles: Dillon Gee Shines

What, you expected three straight shutouts? Well, truth be told, as the game – and Dillon Gee – rolled on, so did I.

GEE: Terrific.

Gee was terrific, giving the Mets yet another strong start, and extended their scoreless streak to 29, until surrendering a homer in the eighth. The bullpen took over and didn’t exactly cruise over the finish line.

There was a bases loaded walk to force in a run, but even so, it was good to see Frank Francisco struggle and work himself out of trouble. Not all saves can be cruise jobs.

With the sweep, the Mets have now swept two and been swept twice in their last four series. Not the kind of consistency Terry Collins is looking for, I am sure.

The Yankees are up next, but I’m doubting a sweep this time. There’s a buzz at Citi Field and will be this weekend. Here’s the probables:

Jon Niese (4-3, 3.82 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (3-2, 2.77) on Friday, followed by Chris Young (1-1, 3.06) against right-hander Ivan Nova (9-2, 4.32) on Saturday. Sunday is prime time with  R.A. Dickey (11-1, 2.00) going againt CC Sabathia (9-3, 3.55).