As I sit here writing this, the Mets are in extras against the Reds. After what was a phenomenal week, ending the home stand, the Mets have hit a skid. Granted, I will take a 5-1 week all the time (Sun-Sat). But the end of the series in Philly has left a horrid taste in my mouth. After dominating 3 less-than-stellar teams and going 9-1 on a critical home stand, NY has dropped its last 2 against its main rival. I was not as frustrated about Saturday’s loss (although, I always hate to them…and watching Pelfrey get blitzed). After winning 8 in a row, losses are to be expected and a lot of times, crushing losses. That’s just baseball. -side note: what a play by Davis to get Votto at first…love this kid. Love his defense- It was more Sunday’s loss that was so disheartening. Although it is still early in May, this was a big series. The Mets were hot and had a big test. Played a great game on Friday to get at least a win and got bombed on Saturday…how would they respond? Especially in the lion’s den? Coming right out of the gate and watching DW5 hit that bomb…I was psyched and thought that Saturday was behind us. Even after Santana gave up the 2 HRs (both were after he had 0-2 counts), he still looked good. And then Barajas’ huge 2 run shot…it just looked like they were over the hump and going to make a statement. Especially with Santana on the mound. And then it happened…the walk to Moyer was the breaker…after that, everything was a blur. I didn’t even make it through the inning before catching up on my DVRed tv shows. -side note: I have a feeling that Chuck is ending, unfortunately-
This brings me to my point…can the Mets respond from such a disheartening weekend? And what does this team want from this year? They have showed how much potential they have, pitching the way they have (both starting and relieving). With no one other than Wright (and not BA-wise) really on track (maybe Francoeur), only good things should be coming from the offensive department, right? Well, tonight, they start a 3 game series in Cincy…a team they can take 2 of 3 from. And then back home. So, this is a time to show that the speed bump was just that…and not a huge pothole. -game has gone to Top 11, now- Ollie looked solid, tonight, going 6 innings, only 2 runs. 4 BBs, though. But, again, I will take that from him.
So, I might have been wrong about hitting Reyes in the 3 hole…sort of. They have won 7 of 9 games, entering tonight, with him hitting in that spot. But, it has not been due to Reyes, whose average is down to .217. I think that they have to continue as things are…but only because there’s not a lot better option. Bay finally hit a HR last week…but still waiting for him to break out.
Ok, so, I also want to bring up something else that is going on in sports…the NBA Playoffs. More specifically, the Spurs/Suns series. I’ve been a Suns fan for years (don’t ask) and definitely have my feelings about the Spurs. But this is going to be a tremendous series. With all of the history between the teams and the Spurs maybe reaching the edge of their dominance and the Suns playing better defense. This is what the playoffs are all about. People are finally starting to come around on the Suns and pick them to actually beat San Antonio. They have home-court. Amare has been playing out of his mind; Grant Hill has revived his career. -Game to Bot 11, Acosta in- I know the Cavs/C’s series is going to be great, as well, but this should be a series that goes at least 6 games. Its tough for me to see either team beat the Lakers, but…to finally vanquish the Spurs might give Amare just enough reasons to stay in the Valley of the Sun.
Hopefully, the Mets will pull this one out and can go for the series win, tomorrow…and…no…Nix homers off of Acosta for a 3-2 win…3rd loss in a row
Tuesday, 7:10, Great American Ballpark, Maine vs. Arroyo…
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…