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On the first day that players are eligible to file for free agency Oliver Perez, Damion Easley, and Matt Wise all filed. The period runs through November 13th for players to file with the league.
No surprises here. But Perez is probably the only player that the Mets have targeted to talk about another contract. Easley spent too much time suffering from injuries this season. He fought through it like a trooper but couldn’t make a serious impact on the team.
Matt Wise was a complete bust. He hurt his forearm in April and spent the rest of the season trying to recover while on the disabled list.
Mets fans hung onto our hats for Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano to get through the last two innings after another Johan Santana quality start. The typical script for these games has been the bullpen blowing the lead for Santana. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen tonight. Santana went seven strong innings giving up three runs for his tenth win of the season.
Carlos Beltran was 3 for 4 in the game. But the big RBI was Damion Easley’s on a hit by pitch in the eighth inning with the bases loaded. That put the Mets in front by a run and left the Mets crossing their fingers for the bullpen to come through. And they did…Finally!
Luis Castillo started playing rehab games in Port St. Lucie preparing to come back from the disabled list. He’s been on the DL since July 3rd with a strained left hip flexor. The word is that he could be ready to return to the Mets next week.
This is going to be a particularly hot topic when he comes back because undoubtedly he’ll replace Argenis Reyes on the roster. A. Reyes has been playing really well in Castillo’s absence as has Damion Easley. Frankly, it seems like the Mets have improved at second base since Castillo went on the DL.
My sense is that Argenis has become somewhat of a fan favorite during his tenure on the roster. He’s been friends with Jose Reyes since they were kids and he seems to have a real knack for situational hitting.
Easley’s been nothing short of terrific as well. He’s making great plays in the field and hitting with power. Castillo may have a dog fight on his hands to get playing time at second base when he gets back. The thing is he’s making $6 million this year and the Mets want to get their moneys worth out of him.
Mike Pelfrey got bombed and lost a game for the first time since May. He only went four innings and gave up five runs in the fourth inning. Joe Smith also had a bad inning in the eighth, giving up two runs on two walks and a hit.
Marlon Anderson had a big offensive game going 3 for 4 with 2 runs. That’s good to see because he’s looked completely lost at the plate recently. Anderson also looked smoother in left field than he has before. He must be shagging some fly balls because he looked more comfortable out there last night.
Damion Easley hit a big three-run, pinch hit home run in the seventh to get within one run of the Marlins but it wasn’t enough. The Mets did get a nice rally going in the ninth as well but they couldn’t sustain it long enough to tie or win the game.
The Mets are off on Thursday and in Houston on Friday with Pedro on the mound.
John Maine pitched 4.1 effective innings giving up one run on four hits and a walk. He also had six strikeouts. But he left the game in the fifth inning after experiencing shoulder stiffness.
The bullpen blew the game in the eighth inning when Joe Smith and Scott Schoenweiss were ineffective giving up five runs in the frame.
Once again, Fernando Tatis was hitting. He went 2 for 4 including a triple with 2 RBI’s. Damion Easley also went 2 for 4 in the game.
The big news was Maine’s injury and the unknown severity. Keep in mind that he’s had a dead arm and a cramped left forearm this season. Maine didn’t want to come out of the game but Jerry Manuel erred on the side of caution wisely. Maine is too valuable to the Mets because of his skill, age, and salary to take a chance on further injuring his shoulder in a July game against the Marlins.
Damion Easley’s eighth inning solo home run extended the Mets winning streak to seven games. That’s the longest streak for the franchise in nearly two years.
Oliver Perez only allowed one run over six innings but he did yield six walks. The only run he allowed was a solo homer by Brad Hawpe in the top of the fifth inning. His velocity was consistently in the mid-90’s. He’s responded so well to new pitching coach Dan Warthen.
Once again, the bullpen got through the final three innings without allowing a run. Generally speaking, the pitching staff has been sensational since Dan Warthen took over the coaching duties. Four relievers combined on the final three innings.
The Mets had a 10-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning and the bullpen did the best they could to give the game up. Jerry Manuel was ejected for arguing a disputed home run call in the seventh inning. But the Mets end up taking three of four games from the Phillies on the road for a huge win. They also go over .500 for the first time in more than a month.
Pedro Martinez pitched pretty well tonight which was a nice change from his previous three starts. He ended up going 5.1 innings giving up two runs. He threw 105 pitches though, way too many for five innings. He still needs to get sharper.
David Wright was the offensive star going 2 for 5 with 4 RBI’s and his 17th home run. Damion Easley, Endy Chavez, and Fernando Tatis had three hits apiece. Interesting that these bench guys are going hard for more playing time. Jerry Manuel’s “reward system” is definitely having an impact on the team.
Tony Armas, Aaron Heilman, and Billy Wagner were all giving up runs at an alarming rate after Pedro left the game. Notably Wagner had his second shaky outing in a row. He needs to get his game together. He already has six blown saves and almost added another tonight.
John Maine went 5.2 innings before a cramp in his non-pitching forearm forced him to leave the game. He looked much better than his previous start in St. Louis when he complained of dead arm symptoms. The cramp in his forearm didn’t appear to be too serious though.
The Mets scored nine runs, so there were many offensive stars. But Damion Easley really stands out. He went 3 for 5 last night with an RBI and has really been a consistent offensive force. It’s going to be tough for Luis Castillo to break into the starting lineup when he comes off the disabled list.
The top of the eighth was tremendously exciting for the Mets (and fans). Easley scored on a wild pitch. Then Brian Schneider came off the bench to hit a huge pinch hit two run double to right. He’s been on the bench a lot lately but after that hit he’s guaranteed to be starting today.
The Mets tacked on three more runs in the ninth to secure the game in a must-win situation for the Mets. It was a great game to watch. Both managers emptied their benches including back up catchers which is really rare for a regular season game. It was obvious that both managers were going all out for the win. Gary Cohen mentioned during the SNY broadcast that it was a playoff atmosphere and he couldn’t have been more correct.