Padres, Peavey Top Mets 6-5 April 16, 2009

Score 4.16.09The rubber game of the series started well for the Mets with Carlos Delgado hitting a 3-run homer in the bottom of the first. But it didn’t last long as John Maine fell apart in the third inning and only lasted through five. He gave up 7 hits and 3 walks totaling 6 runs.

Maine’s velocity looked good but his control wasn’t. His pitches consistently were over the middle of the plate. It was a poor outing especially considering the news that Mike Pelfrey may have to miss a start due to forearm tendinitis.

The Mets looked like they might come back when Ramon Castro hit a 2-run homer in the eighth inning off Duaner Sanchez. But the Mets couldn’t put anything else together to tie up the game.

The Mets lose their second series of the season. This one particularly hurts, losing a home series to a team from the west coast that doesn’t figure to contend this season is tough.

The Mets drop to 4-5.

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Manuel Works Mets, Media With Mind Games

Jerry ManuelJerry Manuel has been busy working the local beat writers to his own ends this spring. And as such, he’s been working us in the blogsphere that write and talk with friends and fellow fans about the Mets.

Is he really going to hit Luis Castillo leadoff? Is he really going to platoon Ryan Church and Fernando Tatis in right field? Does he really think Daniel Murphy is a better hitter than Ryan Church? Is he really going to play Brian Schneider more frequently than last season? Why is he discussing these issues with the media before telling the players that are impacted?

Manuel is proving himself to be a master manipulator, using the media and us for his own purposes. He’s verbalized the fact that he’s going to challenge his players this year. We just didn’t know he was going to do it through the media.

Although Manuel took over the Mets last June, we were used to three plus years of Willie Randolph’s stoic personality. Randolph didn’t give us much except a quiet, occasionally bewildered, discussion of the day’s events.

Manuel is using all of us to push, pull, and prod the players. He’s poking at them with his comments, giving confidence to some while putting others on notice. He clearly knows what he wants from the players and is busy preparing them mentally as well as physically for the season.

I like what he’s doing this spring. Each player needs to be treated differently, in the way that will draw the most out of them during the season. Castillo and Murphy are getting confidence building comments. Church, Jose Reyes, and Ramon Castro are being challenged to improve.

While I applaud Manuel’s ability to read his players, I take his comments with a grain of salt. I anticipate that Reyes will get the vast majority of games batting leadoff, and Fernando Tatis will get most of his playing time in left field. I’d like to see Manuel take advantage of Ramon Castro’s big bat at least twice a week. But Manuel is sure showing that he’s a manipulator… He’s gone gangsta on the media.

Mets Roster Moves- Castro, Figueroa, Cancel, and Rincon

Catcher Ramon Castro went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained quad today, and the Mets recalled Robinson Cancel from Triple-A New Orleans to replace him on the roster.

The Mets also optioned Argenis Reyes to New Orleans and purchased the contract of Nelson Figueroa. Figgy will likely replace John Maine in the rotation while he’s on the disabled list. Maine may even be lost for the season with bone spur problems in his throwing shoulder.

Figgy did a decent job in his first couple of starts for the Mets early this season. But the competition quickly caught up to him.

The Mets received pitcher Ricardo Rincon back from a loan to Mexico City. He was assigned to New Orleans.

Mets Injury News- Maine, Castillo, and Castro

Pitcher John Maine pitched a simulated game yesterday attempting to recover from a strained rotator cuff injury. He declared himself ready to pitch to the media assembled to track his every pitch. He threw three innings and plan to pitch a bullpen session today. The plan is for him to come off the disabled list and pitch against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.

Luis Castillo has been playing rehab games in Port St. Lucie preparing to return from the disabled list from various hip/leg/knee injuries.

To make room on the roster for Castillo, the Mets may put Ramon Castro on the disabled list to give him time to recover from an ankle injury. The Mets thought he’d be okay to play by now but the ankle is still bothering him.

Mets Lose To Phillies In 9th 8-6

This was an incredibly demoralizing loss. The Mets led 5-2 going into the ninth inning, coming off an excellent eight inning effort by Johan Santana. The bullpen imploded before our eyes in the ninth. Duaner Sanchez, the default closer due to Billy Wagner being unavailable, gave up three straight hits before being pulled. Joe Smith, Pedro Feliciano, and Aaron Heilman threw gas on the fire allowing the Phillies to take a three run lead after scoring six in the ninth. Unbelievable!

Ramon Castro and Carlos Delgado both homered in the game but shockingly it turned out not to be enough.

Endy Chavez was thrown out twice at home in the game. That’s right, I said twice. Luis Aguayo’s judgement to send him was seriously in question because Chavez was thrown out by a mile on both plays.

The bottom line is that it’s another wasted good start by Santana and the Phillies take sole possession of first place. Those amazin’ Mets. Unbelievable…

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Video Highlights

Mets Split Series With Reds With Extras Win

Mike Pelfrey came back to Earth a bit today, but he was still pretty good. He went seven innings and gave up five runs. Although he only threw 89 pitches in the game, which is a good sign. He did give up three big home runs today though which is odd for Pelfrey.

The Mets got huge offensive games from Jose Reyes (4 for 6, 3 R, 3B, SB), Ramon Castro (2 for 5, 1 R, 2 RBI, HR), and Carlos Delgado (3 for 4, 1 R, 2 RBI, HR). Delgado has raised his average to a respectable .261 for the season. That’s not far below his .279 career average.

Robinson Cancel had a clutch double in the tenth inning that started a rally in which the Mets scored two runs to take the lead for good. Billy Wagner locked down the tenth inning for the save to secure a 2-2 series split with the Reds. Wagner struck out the side for those of us getting concerned about his shaky outings recently.

The Mets come home for an off day tomorrow and start a big three game series with the Phillies at Shea on Tuesday. With the win today and a Phillies loss, the Mets are tied with the Phils for the lead in the NL East and .5 games up on the Florida Marlins.

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