UPDATE, 6:42 p.m.: Johan Santana (12-7, 2.64) vs. Kyle Kendrick (11-7, 4.87).
Here’s what Jerry Manuel had to say earlier about trying to bounce back:
â€œOnce the guy says play ball today itâ€™s all behind us. As long as we entertain it in here, in the clubhouse, itâ€™ll be there. But once this game starts tonight we have to move forward. Thatâ€™s the way baseball is. Youâ€™ll have some tough, tough nights, but you have to endure that. As difficult as tough losses are, in some sense it toughens you. You have to endure some tough things if you want to be a good team.â€
I’ll have more to say during the game, including updates on Al Reyes, Ricardo Rincon and Billy Wagner, three more members of reliever row. Check back in a bit…
UPDATE, 7:23 p.m.: That’s 114 first-inning runs for the Mets, who still lead baseball.
Since you’re thinking “What’s wrong with these guys? Why can’t they play like this late in games?” I’ll give you Manuel’s quote about the late-game struggles with the bats:
â€œWe are trying to address that,” he said. “Thatâ€™s a good question, thatâ€™s kind of an issue that we have that weâ€™re trying to figure out different ways why weâ€™re having that problem. Itâ€™s just one of those things that hopefully at some point, it might be better to reverse that.â€
A wishy-washy answer to be sure. Problem is, it’s not really something they can address. He said perhaps they can improve upon the quality at-bats. Other than that, does anyone have other suggestions?
UPDATE, 7:51 p.m.: This was bound to happen to Santana, who has thrown a lot of pitches in recent starts because the games have been close. We’ll see how well he can buckle down. The Mets still need him to go six or seven, even if he must reach deep.
The bullpen tossed eight innings last night and Manuel said both Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis were unavailable tonight. Can the offense bail them all out for once?
UPDATE, 8:04 p.m.: Daniel Murphy is now 0 for his last 14.
Also, I don’t know what Jose Reyes was doing there. Sure, he ran on the pitch, but he hadn’t reached second base and it was clear Shane Victorino had it. Rather than stop and run back to first, Reyes rounded the base and then jogged back to first. Not his best effort.
UPDATE, 8:32 p.m.: Here are a few updates, courtesy of Omar Minaya and Mets PR czar Jay Horwitz:
â€” Billy Wagner has returned to New York. He saw a doctor yesterday and told Minaya the swelling had subsided. What’s that mean? I don’t know if it means much. Wagner is still throwing off flat ground (playing catch) and has no timetable as to when he’ll return to a mound. That’ll be the big step. If he feels pain throwing off a mound? “That would probably be it, similar to John Maine,â€ Minaya said.
So there you have it. There’s no timetable on Wagner. Not great news, even it he does feel better.
â€” Marlon Anderson will start in LF tonight for Port St. Lucie.
â€” Al Reyes pitched another scoreless inning last night. He had two K’s. Minaya said he looks good, but he’s still working on getting his arm strength back. I asked if Reyes could be promoted before Sept. 1 and Minaya said probably not.
â€” The team activated Ricardo Rincon today and shipped him to New Orleans. Rincon had been on loan to the Mexico City Reds of the Mexican League. The Reds won the championship, in case anyone cares. Rincon, a lefty who hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2006, is another candidate come Sept. 1.
â€” The Mets still haven’t named a starter for Sunday. Knowing Pedro, it’ll probably be up to him.
UPDATE, 9:05 p.m.: Here’s the real question: With Dan Murphy 0 for his last 15 and taking poor routes to fly balls in LF (he looked like an old Hideki Matsui chasing that ball hit by Pat Burrell), I’m surprised Jerry Manuel didn’t pinch-hit Fernando Tatis for him in the top of the sixth.
I know it’s hindsight, but Tatis may be the best option in LF right now no matter who’s pitching.
Burrell, by the way, had been 0 for 9 with 10 LOB in the series before hitting that leadoff double.
UPDATE, 9:18 p.m.: That’s all we’ll see from Santana, who was good over six innings but not as good as the Mets needed him to be: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K (106 pitches).
As I said before, they keep asking him to bail out the bullpen and a slumbering late-game offense. He’s done it for six weeks, just not quite today.
UPDATE, 9:50 p.m.: Who would’ve thought it? Carlos Delgado with 30 home runs.
He has truly been a monster, 19 HRs and 58 RBI since June 27th. … That’s now the 11th time Delgado has hit 30 HRs in a season.