There it was, the sixth inning and Chris Young was cruising. We have been here before. It is the third time around the order when Young loses it. Trouble is, it happens so quickly. An infield hit and a couple of batters later, Adam LaRoche homered with two strikes.
You’d take two runs over six innings every time from Young, but it would help if the offense scored. Home runs in the ninth from David Wright and Jason Bay were cosmetic more than anything.
There are two ways to avoid the late-inning Young woes. The first is to pull him out after five regardless. The second is to pull him once a runner gets on. Trouble is, with what the Mets have in the pen, you’re talking rock and hard place.
And, all this came after a team meeting in which Terry Collins wanted to salve the Mets’ growing wounds, which is now in the form of a six-game losing streak, their longest of the season.
The Mets aren’t pitching well, at least not in the pen and recently from R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana. They aren’t hitting. I wrote yesterday how the Mets were on the edge and their season was on the verge of slipping away. Nothing has changed and there aren’t any signs of things getting better.
One thing Collins told his players that if change was to come it was to be from within. There’s no promises of adding relief pitching or a right-handed bat. It could happen, but Collins said not to count on it.
In saying so, he said count on this summer slipping away.
Talking to reporters today in Atlanta, manager Terry Collins said Jason Bay could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday. Bay is currently at Triple-A Buffalo on a rehab assignment.
He is on the DL after sustaining a concussion, June 15.
Meanwhile, Lucas Duda is out of today’s lineup with tightness in his left hamstring. Duda hoped the tightness would dissipate during the All-Star break but it did not.
“It’s been bothering him for a while, and he thought the rest was going to help him,” Collins said. “And it’s stiffened up on him a little bit. We’re going to give him a couple of days’ rest, use him late in the game if we need him.
“But, as I told him again today, I’d rather have him on the bench than have him start the game — especially in this humidity — and have it cramp up and have to pull him out in the third, because then it really shortens the moves you can make.”
The Mets spent a good bit of time speaking of team chemistry as for a primary reason why they have played so well in the first half. You’ll hear more about that today, and deservedly so.
PARNELL: Has been terrific.
It is for that reason why Bobby Parnell – who has been pitching lights out lately – will relinquish the closer role once Frank Francisco is able to come off the disabled list. For the same reason why Jason Bay went back to left when he last came off the DL, is the same reason why Parnell will stop working the ninth – chemistry.
The Mets have been a tranquil bunch the first three months – with their aggressiveness limited to the field – and Terry Collins won’t mess with that state. The Mets signed Francisco to be their closer, and as long as he’s physically able, Collins is apt to keep it that way.
The thing that could alter that is Francisco’s injury lingering, but reports have him coming back shortly after the break.
Parnell has pitched well in the role, well enough to stay there and well enough to prove he can do the job, but chemistry is a fragile thing and Collins won’t tamper with it now.
The pattern is inescapable: Three times is not a charm for Chris Young.
YOUNG: Falters again late.
When Young goes through a batting order for a third time hitters tee off on him as if it were batting practice. However, yesterday’s decision by Terry Collins to stick with him was understandable, and still a learning experience.
It is also an indictment on the major league’s worst bullpen, which has a lofty 5-plus ERA.
Young was cruising and was at only 67 pitches entering the seventh. There was no indication he was about to falter. Moments later, say seven pitches, the lead was gone.
Johan Santana (5-4, 3.00 ERA) tries to up the Mets’ winning streak to four when he opposes right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (0-4, 4.04) at 7:15 p.m. ET today at Dodger Stadium.
The Mets aren’t planning on shutting down Santana for the remainder of the first half following tonight’s start. It sounds like a good idea, Terry Collins said there’s no need as the left hander has held up well physically. There was concern after the 134-pitch no-hitter, but that has dissipated as Santana rebounded after a rocky start against the Yankees.
* Rueben Tejada continues to play well since coming off the disabled list. Last night he reached base a career-high five times.
* Ike Davis was fined $750 for inadvertently touching umpire Manny Gonzalez with this glove Tuesday in Chicago. There will be no suspension. It was good to see MLB go in that direction. In viewing the replay it was clear there no deliberate contact. Davis apologized to Gonzalez and the umpire acknowledged the contact was accidental.
* Jason Bay will attempt to run this afternoon. With the All-Star Game a week away, shutting Bay down for the rest of the first half would be good idea.