Sep 17

Mets fall short … again.

At least R.A. Dickey is finishing his season pitching well despite today’s 1-0 loss at Atlanta. Eleven straight quality starts, but Dickey will be the first to admit two walks in the eighth inning to set up Chipper Jones was anything but quality.

The Mets need to run the table to finish .500, and that won’t happen. They will finish with a record worse than last season, a summer when the bottom fell out.

We can look at a myriad of statistics that define a season, but the Mets have lost 25 games this year by one run and another 11 by two runs. Losing 36 times out of 79 defeats encompasses the Mets’ two most glaring weaknesses: hitting with runners in scoring position and an inability of their pitchers to make that one quality pitch to escape an inning. If the Mets are .500 in those games they are leading the wild card race.

That’s why Terry Collins’ outburst the other day was not only justified, but warranted. The situation demanded such a response. The Mets are a rebuilding team with a grocery list of flaws, but for the most part overachieved this season.

You want to see them play with the kind of intensity that can overcome many of those flaws. That is what this team has to take with it into the offseason as it looks forward, and it is Collins’ job to remind them.

They cannot afford to enter the winter with a defeatist attitude.

 

Sep 07

Collins waffling on Parnell?

One of the many things about Jerry Manuel that drove me crazy was his inability to make, and stick, with a decision. For the most part Terry Collins has been the opposite, but there are waffling signs with him on Bobby Parnell.

PARNELL: Is Collins waffling on him as closer?

After Parnell’s blown save against the Nationals, Collins said Parnell would stay in the closer role because he wanted to display faith and avoid a kneejerk decision.

Collins wasn’t so supportive after last night, and suggested Parnell might need some non-save opportunities to bolster his confidence.

There’s no question about Parnell’s stuff, but his command is what has gotten him in trouble. Wildness isn’t just walking batters, but falling behind in the count and having to come in with the fastball.

Of course, that’s consistent with every pitcher.

As Parnell needs to develop confidence in his secondary pitches, he also has to get some from his manager. Collins said he’d get a chance to win the closer role, and that means overcoming rough stretches. That’s hard to do when it’s not the ninth inning, because part of becoming a closer is coming to grips with it being the final inning.

This is a prime learning opportunity with games that have meaning, definitely more of a test than during spring training.

No, I can’t say Parnell will ever become a quality major league closer. I can’t say he won’t, either. But, we’ll never know unless Collins sticks with him for the remaining three weeks. Manuel sabotaged Parnell as a starter several years ago. Here’s hoping Collins doesn’t do the same as a closer.

That’s in the best interest of Parnell and the Mets, because if you look at the other options – Manny Acosta, Pedro Beato or Jason Isringhausen – you realize Parnell has the highest ceiling for 2012.

 

Sep 06

Mets’ injury updates

Ike Davis has been working out for Terry Collins while the Mets are in Miami, and will return to New York after this series to be examined by team physicians.

Davis has been saying surgery won’t be needed on his left ankle, and is hoping the Mets’ doctors will confirm his self-diagnosis. Davis is expected to shut it down for the remainder of the season.

The Mets eschewed microfracture surgery over a month ago with the hope the injury would heal with rest and it would not be needed. So far, that gamble has paid off, we won’t know for sure until spring training.

Meanwhile, Johan Santana will throw a bullpen session today and pitch in a minor league playoff game Friday. Santana is hopeful of pitching a couple of innings in a major league game next week.

The Mets aren’t expecting Jon Niese of Scott Hairston to return this season.

 

Sep 04

The need to ride this out with Parnell

Tbe Mets were hot on this date in 1974 as Ray Sadecki beat the Cubs for their seventh straight victory and tenth in their last 11 games.

Then Bobby Parnell coughed it up the next day in the ninth inning at Washington. Ooops, that was last night.  Another in a long line of excruciating defeats this season. And another kick in the gut after a hot stretch.

With the season lost, we’re just trying to find things to hold onto over the winner and Parnell, as the closer, isn’t providing us with the warm and fuzzies.

Parnell has the best stuff, but stuff is useless if you don’t know how to use it. They are searching for answers younger than Jason Isringhausen, and the Mets are hoping Parnell will win the job.

Let’s face it, there’s really nobody else on the current staff that is inspiring.

Confidence is a fragile thing for a closer, and Parnell’s over the past few years has been like china. Jerry Manuel gave up on Parnell as a starter in a lost September after a handful of starts, but at the time Manuel – and rightfully so – was worried about his job and needed every win he could get. Terry Collins isn’t in the same position, so I’m hoping he’ll ride with Parnell to see how he rebounds.

A pat on the back is essential for his development at this stage.

 

Aug 23

Salvaging the season. Duda in right tonight.

The Mets will take the field shortly in an effort to avoid falling eight games below .500. After stumbling out of the gate, the Mets have been playing competitive baseball for a good part of the summer.

August has been a disaster.

The Mets have a little over five weeks remaining before winter, but David Wright said there’s a lot to play for.

“We just can’t allow ourselves to just play out the season,’’ David Wright said. “It’s obviously a bad situation to begin with. And the last thing you want to do is just go out there and play the games for the sake of playing the games. Hopefully people realize that there’s a lot on the line going into next year, and we clean some things up and get some things going.’’

After missing two months with a stress fracture in his lower back, one might think Wright is trying to salvage 2011 from a statistical perspective, but collectively the rest of the season is to set up 2012. Wright isn’t about the stats as much as he is trying to establish a mentality to build on.

For one, Terry Collins said he wants to see more of Lucas Duda in right field, something he’s hinted at several times. Duda will be in right field tonight, and Collins said he’ll play there more often with the rosters are expanded in September.