Friday, June 12, 2009

Fatigue, weakness and the Mets

Tonight was already a bad night before John Maine joined the crowd on the DL with fatigue and weakness in his shoulder. Maybe I should go on the DL - I'm getting fatigue and weakness from watching the Mets continuing to blow leads to the Phillies and fall in extra innings.

Tonight's loss wasn't quite as bad as Wednesday's. You couldn't expect any more out of Tim Redding than what the Mets got - seven good innings with three runs allowed. And I liked Jerry Manuel's handling of the bullpen much better tonight.

Yesterday, I criticized Manuel for bringing in Bobby Parnell to face the lefty heart of the Phillies order. Tonight, Parnell faced the righties, while lefty Ken Takahashi came in to face Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez. Though a lefty, Takahashi actually had bad numbers against lefty hitters. But he was a better choice to face them than Parnell, who had given up one homer and almost more the night before.

All right, so it turned out that Takahashi was not a better choice than Parnell. But at least the move made sense at the time. In hindsight, what should Manuel have done? Brian Stokes? .344 BA vs. lefties. Manuel did not want to use K-Rod in a tie game, though maybe he should have.

The real problem is that the Phillies have a great middle of the lineup - and the Mets do not.

With all the injuries and slumping players, there is nothing Manuel can do to salvage the lineup. But at least take Gary Sheffield out of the cleanup spot. Sheffield is two for his last 25, while number 5 hitter David Wright leads the NL in batting. Put Wright behind Carlos Beltran so at least the Mets have part of a strong lineup.

Sheffield batting fourth is made by the late-inning defensive switches. In both of the last two games, Sheffield came out for Jeremy Reed in a double switch, leaving the relief pitcher batting cleanup. In the late innings, having Wright hit behind Beltran is a lot better than having to pinch-hit whatever is left on the Mets' bench.

The Mets are criticized for not being tough enough, but if nothing else, the latest injury will give them a chance to show how tough they are. Suddenly, having Livan Hernandez and Tim Redding in the rotation does not seem so bad. It is not likely to last, but it could at least until Maine and/or Oliver Perez get back.

Speaking of Perez, my friend Roger and I wondered if he would be the secret replacement in the rotation for Maine. After all, it is not clear how badly Perez is hurt, or even if he is hurt. Perez has pitched well against the Yankees in the past, and might not do any worse than whatever sacrificial lamb is sent out to the Yankee bandbox mound.

Then again, the same reasoning was used for Perez' last start in Philly.


The Subway Series is here, and my main reaction is to pray for rain, so at least one game will be played when the Mets have more healthy players. At least Johan Santana is pitching one of the games, so I'll say the Yankees take two out of three. Then again, Santana gave up four homers in his last start at Citi Field, which does not bode well for his debut in the Bandbox that Trost built.

Squawker Lisa, the Mets may have lost the series to the Phillies, but they have beaten Philly four times this year and still lead the season series, 4-3. Slightly better than the Yankees vs. Boston. And Jonathan Papelbon still has only one blown save all year, courtesy of the Mets.

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