More Woes For Mets After Latest Loss

FLUSHING, NY – Jon Niese pitched six innings and his defense helped a bit. However the New York Mets starter, in his fourth outing, threw a season high 113 pitches and walked five which did not help. More so, the Mets offense has become a concern as they were limited to four hits as the Houston Astros took a 6-1 win at Citi Field Tuesday evening.

Coming off a win Sunday in Atlanta, that snapped a seven-game losing streak, New York returned home before a slim crowd in the first of four against Houston, and now have dropped 11 of their last 13 games. Last week the talk was frustration from Mets manager Terry Collins. Now there is the talk about being concerned.

“We’ve got to stop it. I’m very concerned about it,” said Collins regarding the latest loss which matched the third worst start in team history at 5-12. “Late in the game we continue to give up big hits.” He was referring to 3-1 Houston lead that got away in the eighth when the Astros scored three.

Until then, the Mets could not get to Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez. His fourth outing of the young season was his best, seven innings, and after an Angel Pagan double in the second inning he held New York hitless until Carlos Beltran in the seventh inning hit a solo home run. The ball hit to left center-field was his third of the season, all coming at Citi Field, and three of his seven career hits against Rodriguez have been home runs.

The concern is about Bobby Parnell and the Mets bullpen. The pen has pitched the most innings among all teams in baseball in three weeks and Parnell has been ineffective after a strong spring. Parnell balked in a run and allowed a two-run single to Angel Sanchez.

The right hander Parnell revealed later that he has been quietly struggling with feeling in the middle finger of his pitching hand. It is a concern, as Parnell has been slated as the eighth inning guy out of the pen. “It’s a concern of mine,” said Collins who would not comment about Parnell undergoing an MRI on Wednesday before the Mets take on the Astros in the second game of four. “I haven’t seen the real good fastball and I want to know why.”

“I’ve been fighting it and felt I could get through it,” said Parnell afterwards about the discomfort. In eight outings, Parnell has given up nine runs with a 6.14 ERA in 7.1 innings.  “I’m having a hard time gripping the baseball and feeling it,” he said. Though Collins would not offer any comments about whether the team would have an MRI done or give the struggling reliever a rest.

Rodriguez (1-2) allowed three hits, on three walks, and struck out a season high seven with an effective curve. David Wright struck out once and went 0-for-4, now hitless in his last 16 at bats and among the top three among strikeout victims in the National League.

“I had excellent location tonight,” said Rodriguez who allowed one run in 7.0 innings in his lone start against the Mets last August. “Everything was good. “I want to stay consistent, throw a lot of quality starts.”  He said about the Beltran home run ball, “It was a changeup, more like a batting practice fastball.”

But the Mets may need more batting practice to generate runs because their starting pitching has been keeping them in games until the late innings and the offense has scored six runs in their last four games. The five walks were also a season high for Niese (0-3) as the Mets dropped to 1-7 at home including losing their last six at Citi Field.

“I didn’t feel right,” he said. “I felt a little off.” His defense helped a bit in the third inning, thanks to Wright who dived and tagged Carlos Lee on a close play at third. But Scott Hairston did not help Pedro Beato out of the pen in the seventh. He was charged with an error when he could not catch a Lee ball that was hit deep to left,   glancing off his glove. The play resulted in a Houston run.

Pagan is also struggling at the plate. The double was his only hit in four at bats, and he stranded three runners. Another of the four Mets hits was a double by Ike Davis, the 16th in 17 games for the team and fourth in the league.

“He like a lot of these guys is a key part to this club,” commented Collins about Pagan’s struggles at the plate and about many of the Mets hitters possibly being too aggressive with their bats. “We got to get him going,” he said. And that includes Hairston, who went 0-for-2 striking out twice, another player that Collins would like to see revert to the short swing that was seen in the spring.

Said Pagan, “Tonight was a tough night for the whole team. We have to keep battling. It will change, it will change.” There may be some help, at least some optimism as the injured Jason Bay is slated to return Thursday night at Citi Field. Bay went 4-for-4 and with two home runs and four RBI playing for St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League in a rehab assignment.

“I know with him in the lineup, when healthy, he will do a lot of damage,” added Pagan about Bay who is 5-for 9 in three games down in Florida.  But the Mets need more than Bay at this point.

Because Collins is no longer frustrated and now expressing concern as they give the ball to knuckleballer (1-2) R.A. Dickey Wednesday evening in game three of the series against Houston.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Angel Sanchez, Bullpen, Career Hits, Carlos Beltran, Eighth Inning, Game Losing Streak, Houston Astros, Jon Niese, Middle Finger, New York Mets, Pagan, Parnell, Pitches, Rich Mancuso, Right Hander, Seventh Inning, Strong Spring, Top Story, Tuesday Evening

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on April 20, 2011

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Audio: Astros Top Mets

The New York Mets fell to the worst team in the National League after their 6-1 loss to the Houston Astros. Although Jon Niese pitched well in the game Wandy Rodriguez who has been awful this year, looked like Cy Young out there against the hapless Mets.

Bob Trainor’s post-game sound is below:

Jon Niese

Angel Pagan

Terry Collins

Bobby Parnell

Wandy Rodriguez

Brad Mills

Posted under Angel, Bob Trainor, Brad Mills, Cy Young, Game Mp3, Game Sound, Houston Astros, Houston Post, Jon Niese, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Pagan, Top Story, Trainor

This post was written by Bob Trainor on April 20, 2011

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Audio: Mets Bust Out

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications offers these soundbites from the Mets 8-2 win over the Cardinals at Citi Field yesterday.

Jon Niese

Jeff Francoeur

Carlos Beltran

Adam Wainwright

Tony LaRussa

For More Info contact Bob at TrainorComm@gmail.com.

Posted under Bust, Cardinals, Carlos Beltran, Contact Bob, Jon Niese, Mets, Mp3 Audio, Mp3 Tony, New York Mets, Soundbites, Top Story, Trainor

Audio: Mets See Red

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications offers these soundbites from yesterday’s 3-1 Reds win over the Mets at Citi Field.

Jon Niese pitched seven-plus innings, but the Met offense was stopped by Bronson Arroyo to give the Amazins their first home series loss since May.

We have full audio coverage below.

Jerry Manuel

Jason Bay

Jon Niese

Alex Cora

Dusty Baker

Bronson Arroyo

For More Info contact Bob at TrainorComm@gmail.com.

Posted under Alex Cora, Audio Coverage, Bronson Arroyo, Citi, Contact Bob, Dusty Baker, Jason Bay, Jon Niese, Mets, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Reds, Soundbites, Top Story, Trainor

This post was written by Bob Trainor on July 8, 2010

To Get A Pitcher, The Mets May Have To Give Up Some Talent

The Mets’ June cruise has not only made them relevant in the National League pennant races, but subsequently also at the July 31 trade deadline.

With management believing this is no fluke and the Mets will continue to play alert, aggressive baseball, there are serious discussions not whether they should trade, but whom to trade for – and just as important, whom they should not trade.

Their interest, despite this remarkable run by the rotation, must remain pitching. First rotation; second bullpen.

There is a sense of calm derived from how well Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey have pitched, and a feeling of optimism with Jon Niese’s run since coming off the disabled list.

Slots four and five are a house of cards.

R.A. Dickey, despite being sterling since coming up from Triple A, is sailing unchartered waters. There’s every reason to think, until he does this for another six weeks or so, that the magic dust might be blown off that dancing knuckler.

Afterall, the Mets have these few starts as a frame of reference, not a lengthy resume.

Hisanori Takahashi is pitching well overall, but has shown some cracks. Plus, he’s better suited for the bullpen, which, as a side note is getting a much deserved break during this stretch after being run into the ground in April and May.

And, seriously, who is really counting on John Maine and Oliver Perez? I mean, beside their mothers?

There are two names out there that stand out like neon on a dark night: Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee.

Either would look good in Met pinstripes. Because of the length of his contract (through 2012 with the option) the Astros don’t have to trade Oswalt. Consequently, he carries more value to the Astros to the Astros than Lee does to Seattle.

Because the Astros hold some leverage, he’ll cost the Mets a lofty price in prospects, plus the $39 million remaining on his contract if they pick up the club option.

Lee, however, will cost only prospects and the balance of his $8 million contract. Lee, however, has repeatedly said he wants to test the market, and reportedly that could mean as much as $23 million, which is Santana and CC Sabathia-type money.

Do the Mets really want to pay that much? I’m thinking no, even if it means draft choices in return.

However, reportedly the Mets are more interested in Lee than Oswalt, and depending on the prospects demanded, could opt for the rental.

For prospects – and they can’t all be high end if the Mets accept Lee moves – for a chance at October is worth it.

Seattle wants young pitching in return, which means either Niese or Jenrry Mejia. Both are too important to give up for a rental, plus if the Mets are thinking they could contend, dealing Niese for pitching makes no sense because they would still need to add a pitcher.

They aren’t going to trade a promising lefthander who already has tasted success and comes on the cheap for somebody who’ll be at LaGuardia moments after the season ends.

There are other intriguing options, such as Arizona’s Dan Haren, who’ll cost prospects and the balance of his contract, which is in the second year of a four-year (plus 2013 option) for $44.75 million package.

Other options to explore are Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona and Jake Westbrook, or Oakland’s Ben Sheets. Oswalt and Lee are better, but far more costly, especially if the latter bolts.

As much as I believe Mejia should be in the minors learning to be a starter, I wouldn’t want to deal him for Lee unless I could sign him. I would be more willing to deal him for Oswalt or Haren, pitchers who figure to be here for several years.

In the end, I’m figuring the Mets to pursue Lee but eventually settle for a second tier arm.

I think they’ll keep both Niese and Mejia, but might have to deal from this group: Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole, Dillon Gee and Fernando Martinez.

Somebody good will have to go.

John Delcos has covered Major League Baseball for over 20 years, including more than ten in New York on the Yankees and Mets beats. You can read Delcos on his blog,http://www.newyorkmetsreport.com, where he hosts a chat room for each Mets game.

Posted under Astros, Bullpen, Club Option, Fluke, Frame Of Reference, House Of Cards, Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Lofty Price, Magic Dust, Mets, National League Pennant, New York Mets, Night Roy, Oliver Perez, Pennant Races, Pinstripes, Roy Oswalt, Serious Discussions, Top Story, Trade Deadline, Unchartered Waters

This post was written by John Delcos on June 19, 2010

Roll The Dice With Oswalt

Just because Roy Oswalt told a friend he would accept a trade to the Mets doesn’t mean he’s in Manhattan on the off-day looking at apartments.

Depending on what “friend” you talk to, Oswalt would also accept trades to Philadelphia, St. Louis, the Yankees and Washington Nationals. However, if it means getting out of Houston, a chance at the playoffs and perhaps an extension, the list of places suddenly favorable to Oswalt could grow.

The Mets have been getting sterling pitching from rotation fill-ins RA Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi – together they are 9-2, but Takahashi is only 2-1 as a starter – but that’s not to say all their pitching concerns have been answered.

We don’t know how long this run will last as neither Dickey nor Takahashi are proven over the long haul. We don’t know that about Jon Niese, either, and John Maine continues to throw 88.

If the Mets are to get Oswalt, they should strike now while it is early. The closer to the deadline, the more the Astros will be asking.

After standing pat over the winter in the pitching market, general manager Omar Minaya has a chance to add an ace that would make his rotation arguably the best in the National League with Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and Oswalt.

However, there comes a price tag, not only in terms of prospects, but in dollars.  Oswalt is owed $31 million for the remainder of this year and $16 million next season, and a $16 million club option for 2012 (also includes a $2 million buyout).

That’s pricey, but he would make the Mets formidable for the next three years.

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 because he’s gone after the year.

Oswalt would represent less a risk than Lee. He is somebody the Mets should roll the dice with — now.

Posted under 31 Million, Ace, Astros, Club Option, Hired Gun, Ins, Johan Santana, John Delcos, Jon Niese, Long Haul, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Omar Minaya, Philadelphia St, Price Tag, Prospects, Ra Dickey, Remainder, Roy Oswalt, Takahashi, Top Story, Washington Nationals

This post was written by John Delcos on June 14, 2010