Over the last week, the Mets have been on a tear. And the key has been the starting pitching. Oliver Perez had the iffy start on Wednesday against the Cubs that resulted in the Mets only loss, since last Sunday. I think he did enough to keep the heat off of himself in the rotation. He went 5 innings and only allowed 3 runs. That’s…ok, not terrible…and that is what the Mets need (at the minimum) from him and John Maine. The problem on Wednesday was the bullpen. Newly-acquired Manny Acosta got wrecked in that game…as did Takahashi. John Maine got hurt in his start on Friday against the Braves. He was pitching better than his first few starts, but then he got hurt. That just seems to be how it goes for Maine, unfortunately. I’m not entirely sure what needs to be done with him. It’s really hard for me to see the Mets re-signing him in the off-season. I would wish him well and enjoy it if he succeeds some place else…but he just has been so inconsistent over the last 2-3 years, whether it be pitching or injury.
Jon Niese had 2 very nice starts last week. Not quite what I want to eventually get out of him (5 and 2/3 with 1 run and 5 and 1/3 with 1 run). But he’s not getting crushed and he is striking out people (7 and 6, respectively). Unfortunately, a lack of run support has stopped him from getting a win, in either game. Still, I am liking what I am seeing from him and look forward to his starts, now.
Johan and Pelfrey are both looking amazing. Each got a win last week and looked very strong, doing so. Pelfrey could get another win, tonight, pending the outcome (which is stuck in the 6th due to a rain delay…Mets are up 1-0, though). Pelf looked good (but not), tonight. He did not have the control we’ve seen him exhibit this year. He allowed 10 baserunners in 5 innings, but still managed to get out of it every time, extending his scoreless streak to 24 innings. If he does win tonight, he will be 4-0 with a .69 ERA…early Cy Young candidate, anyone?
Now…to the hitting. Sigh. Still…not good. Its getting better, as they are getting timelier hits…but, no one is tearing the cover off the ball. They still only have 50 hits over the last 7 games (including tonight’s that hasn’t been called yet). Yet, assuming they win tonight, will be 6-1?? That’s just baseball, I guess. Still waiting for the Jason Bay that we heard about all off-season. He’s picked it up the last couple games, but still no HRs and 5 RBI, while hitting .269. David Wright is a little better, but not much 3 HRs, 10 RBI, .222. Francoeur: 3, 10, .286. That’s around what I expect from him.
The Mets have called up Ike Davis. I was originally against it, but it seems that maybe its what this team has needed. He has looked right at home, playing 1st base. He’s also hit very nicely in his 7 games. 1 HR, a couple RBI, and a .318 average. Granted, its only a week, but he looks like he could be the real deal. And to have left-handed power is only going to help.
So, there has been a lot of talk about Jose Reyes hitting in the 3rd spot in the lineup. It has been thrown around quite a bit over the past couple years. I’ve thought about it in different circumstances and I finally made a decision as to what I feel about it. Under ideal circumstances (Beltran being back, Wright and Bay hitting like they are capable, etc), I am supremely against it. However, given what is going on now, I absolutely love the idea. And for these reasons:
- David Wright has not been (W)right. I still think something is up with him. Maybe its mental. Maybe there’s an injury somewhere that no one knows about. Maybe he’s just trying too hard. Or maybe (gulp) he’s not as good as we all thought he was?? I hope like everything that its not the last one. But…whatever the reason…he is not the center-piece of this lineup, right now.
- Carlos Beltran is not healthy and it doesn’t look like he will be, anytime soon. Hopefully before the All-Star Break, but…I’m not holding my breath. So, we need to move on…at least for a while.
- I know his average doesn’t reflect it now (but who on the Mets is sporting a nice BA), but I think that Angel Pagan belongs near the top of the lineup. He is making strides as a base runner. He has the speed. You can hit him in the leadoff spot, followed by Castillo, Reyes, etc..
Monday, 7:10, Citi Field, Kuroda vs. Perez…
Well, a pitching performace it was. Both starters executed very well and had their opponents at bay. Randy Wolf worked into the 8th before exiting with a runner on 2nd and Gary Sheffield due up. Perhaps, he should have stayed in as Wade could not retire Sheffield and Angel Pagan raced home from 2nd on Sheffield’s ground ball to shallow right field, tying the game at 2. Tim Redding also looked very impressive in his Mets debut. After a shaky 1st inning where he gave up 2 runs on a hit, Redding settled down and worked a very solid 6 innings. I believe he could have gone longer, but his place in the order came up in the 7th and Manuel elected to “quit while he was ahead.”
The Mets, who had scored 24 runs in their first 3 games on this road trip, have been stymied by some quality pitching the last couple games. They were shut out on Sunday night and scored only 2 runs on Monday night. The worst part about it is that they don’t seem to be hitting the ball very hard. No Met had made very good contact on Sunday until Tatis in the 7th. Tonight, they had a few solidly hit balls, but not to the extent we’ve been seeing over the last few weeks.
LA Cars in Traffic:
- Foot problems again plague the Mets, as Ryan Church skips 3rd base. With 2 outs in the 11th inning and RC on 1st, Angel Pagan hits a ball deep into the right center gap and Church could walk home. However, he skipped over 3rd instead of touching it. The Dodgers appealed and won. He could have walked home…I don’t understand why he wouldn’t have stopped and just touched it. Pagan ended up at 3rd, so Church would have had time…the game was all but lost on that play.
- If you think that was fun, you’ll love this. With a runner on 1st and no out, Xavier Paul hit a fly ball to left center and Pagan and Beltran were there and neither one caught it. What an inning…It reminds me exactly of the opening game against the Cardinals when Beltran missed home and the Murphy fell down in left…
- It get better…After the bases were loaded in the 11th with no out (forcing the Mets to use Beltran as a 5th infielder), Stokes gets a shallow fly ball to left field for an out. Then, gets a ground ball to 1st that should seemingly end the inning, but Jeremy Reed throws the ball over Castro’s head, allowing the winning run to score…Stokes was absolutely pissed and I don’t blame him an ounce. He got himself out of the toughest jam in baseball and absolutely no one helped him out…these games happen (I guess), but championship-caliber teams don’t screw up THAT many times in a row in THAT many clutch situations…
- Jose Reyes missed another game with that calf…Alex Cora was put on the DL with a torn ligament in his thumb…Ramon Martinez was called up from Buffalo and arrived 15 minutes before the game started.
- 8 of the 11 Mets hits were with 2 outs…nice to see, but would also like the rally to begin a little earlier…
- Angel Pagan had his first career 4-hit game…
Tuesday, 10:10, Dodger Stadium, John Maine vs. Chad Billingsley…