May 31

Mets Chat Room: Frenchy and Takahashi are hot.

GAME #52 at Padres

After dropping two of three in Milwaukee, the Mets continue their unlikely road trip tonight in San Diego against the National League’s best team.

They’ll be doing it with a suddenly hot Jeff Francoeur and lefthander Hisanori Takahashi, who has gone from the bullpen to a mainstay in the rotation.

Francoeur has six hits in the last two games after manager Jerry Manuel gave him the advice of not listening to everybody else’s suggestions.

It got to the point where Francoeur was thinking about too many things – head, hands and feet placement – instead of just seeing the ball.

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May 30

Mets Chat Room: Avoiding the sweep edition plus other questions.

GAME #51 at Brewers

Can you believe it?

After starting the week in scintillating fashion with a three-game shutout sweep of the Phillies, the Mets are in danger today of being swept by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Here’s something to mull over: The Brewers had won only six home games this season, and could have half that with a victory today.

It has been a disappointing first two games, with Jerry Manuel pulling Johan Santana after eight scoreless innings Friday and Fernando Nieve spitting the bit yesterday, turning his start into nothing more than a long relief appearance.

It was infuriating to learn Manuel didn’t consult Santana on how he was feeling before yanking him. What a disrespectful thing to do to the ace of your staff.

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May 13

May 13.10: Chat Room, Game #35 at Marlins: Classic pitcher’s duel.

The Mets begin an eight-game road trip tonight in Florida in a classic pitcher’s duel: Johan Santana vs. Josh Johnson.

Something has to break because both pitchers dominate the opposition, with Santana 6-1 with a 1.66 ERA in eight career starts against the Marlins. Johnson is not the type of pitcher a team in a hitting funk likes to face. He is 7-1 against the Mets, including 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA in five home starts against them.

The Mets’ lone victory over Johnson came Opening Day at Citi Field. The Marlins, however, won the next two games of that series.

The Mets need to get Jose Reyes going. Reyes is mired in a season-long slump, which hasn’t been helped by the move to third in the batting order. Reyes is batting .228 with a .283 on-base percentage. He is hitting .242 since being moved out of the leadoff spot.

Clearly, he’s not performing well hitting third. He’s trying to do too much with the ball. He’s better off going back to first where he’s more comfortable. Hitting is all about comfort, and Reyes looks uncomfortable at the plate. He’s reaching for pitches and is swinging with more of an uppercut than he has in the past.

However, manager Jerry Manuel is insistent on leaving Reyes third in the order ahead of Jason Bay. Manuel’s theory is Bay will see more fastballs with Reyes on ahead of him. The problem is Reyes isn’t on much these days. And, Bay only has one homer on the season, so where he has benefitted I’m not sure.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Johan Santana, LP

NOTE: I have my class tonight and won’t be home until nine. Hope to see you then.

May 09

May 9.10: Chat Room, Game #31 vs. Giants: Mother’s Day edition.

Happy Mother’s Day all. Greetings to all moms. Enjoy your day.

The Mets go for the sweep today of the Giants, which would be their tenth straight win at Citi Field. It will be Oliver Perez against Tim Lincecum, perhaps the game’s best pitcher.

After a dismal start, the Mets are only a game out of first place causing me to wonder where they might be if Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur were hitting at all.

Bay has been getting better at-bats since the team returned home and has driven in first-inning runs in the last two games. Francoeur, after a hot streak to open the season, hasn’t been the same since the 20-inning game in St. Louis.

Francoeur admits to lunging and swinging at pitches outside the zone. He doesn’t have the same patience he had at the start of the season.

Things won’t get easier today against Lincecum.

Luis Castillo is out of the lineup with a bruised left heel and will be replaced by Alex Cora. Rod Barajas returns behind the plate.

Barajas made an interesting comment the other day about Perez, saying he fights himself too much and too quickly when things start to go against him. Perez is the kind of guy who needs a lot of stroking.

Here’s the lineup for the 17-13 Mets behind Perez:

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

May 04

May 4.10: Seeing is believing.

This falls under the `I’ll believe it when I see it’ category. Carlos Beltran is taking soft toss BP in Port St. Lucie and is hopeful of running, then resuming baseball activities later this week. “It all begins with running,” Beltran told reporters in Florida. There is no timetable for Beltran’s return until he begins running. Until then, everything is merely wishful thinking.

I thought of Beltran last night while watching the Mets’ offense sputter in losing to the Reds. Oliver Perez did his job, and so did the bullpen, but the game was lost at the plate. The Mets were cooked the last two games in Philadelphia, but last night was a winnable game, and losses like that ultimately come back to haunt a team.

Last night also reinforced the streaky nature of this team. It is capable of winning seven straight one week and going on a losing streak the next. As evidenced by their record, the Mets are barely a win-one, lose-one type of team.

Save for a few games, the offense has been inconsistent all season, and Beltran’s absence is a big part of the reason.

Losing Beltran forced Jerry Manuel to juggle his line-up by moving Jose Reyes to third. The problem is Reyes is not a No. 3 hitter and it has weakened the leadoff position. Reyes is not playing his normal game, two hits last night notwithstanding. Nor is his replacement, Angel Pagan, a leadoff hitter.