May 26

Mets Chat Room: Hot Bay, Reyes hope to lift Takahashi.

Game #47 vs. Phillies

The last time the streaky Mets won four straight games this season, they went on to win eight in a row.

The Mets, who won two of three games over the weekend against the Yankees, will be going after their second straight series win tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Hisanori Takahashi, who replaced the injured Jon Niese in the rotation, threw six scoreless innings in a no-decision last Friday against the Yankees.

The left-handed Takahashi made the club out of spring training because of his ability to work in long relief. He so impressed in that role that he was the first choice when Niese went down.

The Mets lost three-fifths of their rotation during the last road trip, but received Takahashi’s strong game and two strong games by knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Dickey threw six scoreless innings last night in arguably the Mets’ most complete game of the season.

The Mets are starting to feel good about themselves because of Jason Bay and Jose Reyes, both of whom struggled out of the gate, could be hitting their strides.

Over the last five games, Bay is 11-for-20 (.550) with two homers, five RBI and eight runs scored. In that same span, Reyes is 9-for-24 (.375) with five runs scored.

May 25

May 25.10: Oswalt: Go for it.

The odds are long against pulling the trigger on this deal, but the Mets must seriously consider making a decisive and early run at Roy Oswalt to get an edge on the field before the trade deadline.

Make the run now as the price figures to spike in July.

And, the sooner the better, while the Mets are still considered a competitive team. How long that lasts is questionable with three-fifths of the rotation – suspect to begin with – out indefinitely.

How often will Omar Minaya get a second chance like this? After holding a pat hand during the winter, the Mets’ rotation is in shambles but now there’s the prospect of Oswalt, which would give them instant credibility as a contender. Minaya can redeem his winter with a simple phone call.

After playing a listless pat hand, he’s been now dealt a chance at an ace. Johan Santana, Oswalt and Mike Pelfrey would be as good as any trio in the league.

Oswalt is owed $31 million for this year and next with a $16 million club option for 2012. That’s a lot of money, but it is better well spent than Oliver Perez’s deal.

Oswalt also makes more sense than Cliff Lee in that his cost is definable, while Lee wants to test the market. Trading for Lee over Oswalt would be foolish, as it would be dealing for a hired gun.

For as bad as the Mets have played at times, they are still only five games behind the Phillies in the NL East. After winning two of three over the Yankees, there’s a sense of growing optimism. However, getting an Oswalt would legitimatize that optimism and spurn it to another level.

The odds might be gone, but go for it.

May 21

May 21.10: Chat Room, Game #43 vs. Yankees: Mets come limping home.

Both the Mets and Yankees limp into this weekend’s series at Citi Field, but as usual there are more issues in Queens than the Bronx.

“I always look forward to these series,’’ Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “You find out where you are as a team, and how you perform in that type of environment.’’

Doesn’t he know by now?

The Mets, despite winning last night at Washington, are reeling, almost in a free fall, and could very well be there after back-to-back series against the Yankees and Phillies.

The last-place Mets are coming off a 2-6 road trip in which they lost, by injury or performance, three-fifths of their rotation. Jon Niese, the most consistent of the three, went on the disabled list and could be joined there by John Maine, who was yanked after five pitches last night. Oliver Perez was exiled to the bullpen.

Journeyman knuckleballer R.A. Dickey replaced Perez and performed well, and long reliever Hisanori Takahashi will start tonight in place of Niese against the Yankees.
Takahashi’s move to the rotation, even temporarily, further strains the bullpen. Fernando Nieve and Pedro Feliciano, so effective in April, have been hit lately.

Further complicating matters has been an unproductive offense, which is relying on a journeyman catcher Rod Barajas and rookie first baseman Ike Davis because of the season-long power drought of Jason Bay and David Wright’s assault on the strikeout record.

Bay, although he’s been making contact lately, in on pace for four homers, while Wright is on pace for 223 strikeouts. Jeff Francoeur and Jose Reyes also aren’t hitting.

As bad as things have been, one can logically assume if Wright and Reyes, the cornerstones to the franchise, were hitting according to expectations, the Mets would be over .500 and there wouldn’t be so many rumblings about Manuel’s job security.

Despite COO Jeff Wilpon’s impromptu meeting in Atlanta in which he said he wasn’t about to fire Manuel or GM Omar Minaya, the whispers persist and are even louder after last night’s Manuel-Maine dugout blowout.

“When the owner comes down, you know something is going on,’’ said Francoeur. “But at the same time, you have to be professional. At times it can be tough, all the speculation, but I try to just play. That’s the easiest way to deal with it.’’

Manuel didn’t do much to get Wright and Francoeur on his side when he rested both this week. Both expressed displeasure at sitting, but neither criticized Manuel.

Also, neither offered much verbal support.

Before he was sacked, Willie Randolph had more verbal support from his players than Manuel has received, but the players are still hustling. That is a saving grace, but will it be enough if the Mets are pasted by the Yankees and Phillies?

Here’s tonight’s Mets’ line-up behind Takahashi:

Jose Reyes, SS
Alex Cora, 2B
Jason Bay, LF
Ike Davis, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Angel Pagan, CF
Rod Barajas, C
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Hisanori Takahashi, LP

NOTE: Luis Castillo was scratched from the line-up with a bruised left heel. … After throwing five innings in relief last night, Raul Valdes is not expected to be available for the Yankees series. … With Takahashi starting, R.A. Dickey will be the long man.

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