5-1 against the Phillies and Yankees

Three games against the Phillies start tonight. It’s actually a big New York baseball week, as the Yankees are playing the Red Sox this week as well, and then they meet in the Bronx for the first Subway Series at the new Yankee Stadium. It’s actually a shame Delgado’s going to miss it. He had nine RBI at the place last year, and this year with the rate balls fly out of right field, I figured he’d be able to double his home run total for the year this weekend.

We’ll have to settle for Ryan Church and Daniel Murphy knocking a couple out. Fernando Martinez, if he doesn’t connect with one off the crappy Phillies pitching, will have a good shot there. But before the Mets get to the Bronx, they host the Phillies, who they are 3-1 against so far. Metsblog ran a poll, and the pessimists got their voice heard with 2-4 being the expected outcome over the next six, with 4-2 the runner up. Personally, I’m thinking 5-1. I know this is overly optimistic given the injuries, but I really think the Mets match up well against these two teams.

All four times they’ve faced the Phillies the Mets have looked liked the better team. Everyone knows that the Phillies strength is offense. Good pitching generally beats good hitting, and I’m confident in Santana, and in Pelfrey having a bounce back start. Pelfrey is also more of a ground ball pitcher, which should help against the power numbers of Philadelphia, as will Citi Field. The big question mark is Redding, who has had some good starts, and some bad ones. Supposedly he pitches pretty well against the Phillies, but I don’t know how much stock to take in that. Maybe pitching in Citi Field will help him. On the other hand, the Phillies aren’t good at pitching. The Mets have hit Happ well, have hit Hamels, and everyone seems to have hit Moyer this year. Their bullpen has been better, but it’s still not great and Lidge has looked awful.

It’s hard to predict a sweep, because anything can happen in baseball. I’d be shocked if the Phillies were to win this series. Then they’ve got a tough opponent in the Red Sox, who I don’t expect them to beat either.

Reyes Wants You

From MetsStuff

Jose Reyes wants me to cut work on Wednesday to go to the Mets game in the afternoon. Now, he must not realize by how much he’s seen me in the stands that I’m currently unemployed, but I feel obliged to obey; I’ll be at the game Wednesday afternoon. And who wouldn’t want to be given how the Mets are playing? The last five games they won, they won at home, and against Pennsylvania. Winning front and center in front of Mets fans has, and will, go a long way towards making Citi Field home, and making these fans fall back in love with this team.

I was at the game at Saturday, and it was nice and comfortable being at what amounted to a laugher. I was more amused than annoyed at Maholm’s home run 20 feet to my right. I debated things like leaving Ken in to hit and pitch three innings so he could get the save, or if they should finally get Stokes some work (as they did), instead of if they should waste outs bunting or try to steal a base to try to get the lead. It was utterly enjoyable.

Also enjoyable were our seats. Section 103, row 4, seats 1-5. The seats were not completely unreasonable at $40 face value. They turned out to be (as seats 1-8 are behind the camera well in right field) front row seats by the right field foul pole. There were negatives, as we couldn’t really see the scoreboard behind the Pepsi Porch above us, and seats 1,2 and 3 had to contend with the foul pole in front of them, which led to a lot of leaning back and forth the whole game. However, there were plenty of plusses from the perspective. A couple of people in our section started really getting on the RF Brandon Moss. We had a really good view of all plays in RF, including Wright’s triple that Moss missed, and Sheffield’s sliding catch. We also had a very good view of plays at first base. We got to see all the flies to RF arc towards us, and got to judge fair or foul, see them bounce, see the RF range over to make the catch, or miss it.

Tonight’s a big game, not for the Mets necessarily, but for Omar. The chatter is all going to be about how he failed to get Derek Lowe by giving him extra money/years that probably weren’t wise. Oliver Perez struggled, and Lowe succeeded. If the Mets rough up Lowe, it won’t look as lopsided a decision, whereas if they lose, it’ll be all about how Minaya made a mistake. Luckily, Johan Santana is on the mound, and no one doubts that he’s better than either of ’em. Here’s hoping for 8 in a row.

Keep Rolling

Big two game series against the Phillies. Until the Mets are comfortably above .500 and pushing, every series is a big series. Time to put on your hitting caps and introduce the Phillies to Citi Field in hostile style. I know I’m looking forward to seeing Ryan Howard take his best swing and fly out to right field.

You’d like to see them win both games and really get some good feelings going. Last night’s sweep in Turner Field helped, even with the error, but four in a row over the Braves and Phillies would be a big deal. It was nice to see Chipper making outs and errors to help the Mets win, and I hope to see the Mets take advantage of the Phillies sloppy pitching and poor play to win some games.

The Phillies are really, especially this year, a one trick pony. We’ve got Santana going tonight, and Pelfrey tomorrow. We’ve got a good bullpen. Hopefully our good pitching neutralizes their one trick, their offense. I’ll be at the second game in the Pepsi Porch, and I’m looking forward to a good game from that location.

ESPN’s streak for the cash contest features this game: Will the Phillies have more hits than Santana strikeouts? I’m going with Santana.

Manuel’s ‘ultimatum’

Manuel’s ‘ultimatum’ to the pitching staff is basically a case of buying low.

He knows they are better than this, and he also knows Redding could be pretty close to coming back and taking Livan’s spot anyway. So he makes this statement about one more time through the rotation and then there will be changes, but he’s really just stating the obvious. He’s taking a bet that the pitching will be better and/or Omar will make a change with the 5th starter. If the pitching gets better, he looks like he got them going, and if they don’t, likely a change will be happening anyway, and he can take credit for it. This is how he’s been winning people over since he’s been in charge.

Anyone watching these games can clearly see that the starting rotation is struggling, but also that they’re like to get better. Perez was reported to have not done what he was supposed to do in Spring Training while at the World Baseball Classic. So he wasn’t quite ‘ready’ when the season came. It’s now three starts later. He hasn’t looked real good, but there have been small signs between a raise in velocity to a couple of key strikeouts that could give you hope if you’re looking for it.

Maine was coming off an injury. I thought it would take him a couple of starts to get going, given the longer layoff from pitching in real games. He’s had some bad moments, but some good ones too. I suspect he’ll start giving some worthwhile performances soon.

Pelfrey is probably what I’d call the least worrisome. He had some tendinitis so they skipped a start, so he’s had even less. He really stepped it up last year, and It’ll probably take him a little while to start getting back to that point, and to adjust to any scouting adjustments made to him. He’s always shown promise, and I see no reason to think he won’t have a good year.

Livan however, might be more of an issue. Besides that Manuel routinely comes out and basically says he has no confidence in him, he doesn’t seem to have much left. He pitched well in the spring, but it looks like he’s getting by on a lot of trickery and smarts. Batters figure him out and he seems to crumble as he gets through the order a couple of times. Hopefully he can give us one more reasonable start, against the Marlins, and then maybe Redding will be available to get us a couple of good starts at least.

Another thing to note is Sheffield; he still appears to be done. We talked about how it was a win-win situation for the Mets, but it really isn’t. It took at-bats away from Church when he was hot. It’s taking at-bats away from Castillo when he’s hot by way of Tatis not having any fill-in time in the outfield and having to find him a place to play. Barring a sudden turn around, I think the Sheffield experiment should be terminated. However, Manuel is playing him again today. A day after getting swept, sitting Murphy another day. Who’s more likely to get a hit? Who’s more likely to score runs for Santana? Who’s more likely to benefit from a day in LF and will be here all year? Hint: It’s not Gary Sheffield.