The Braves visit New York for the second time this month to face the Mets at Citi Field. I exchanged questions with Chris McShane of Amazin' Avenue regarding this series. Their questions can be seen here.
What grade would you give Terry Collins in his first year as Mets manager and why?
I'd give Collins a B+ in his first year as the team's skipper, mainly because he's managed to avoid doing anything awful. The team seems to like and respect him, which seems like an important thing for major league managers, and any of his in-game miscues have probably been easier to forget since the Mets haven't been contending for quite a while now.
It does sometimes seem like Collins is operating on a different plane than Sandy Alderson. He's proposed some wacky ideas like making Pedro Beato a starting pitcher or Mike Pelfrey a closer. He also took a while to put Lucas Duda in right field once Carlos Beltran was traded to the Giants, and he stuck with Jason Isringhausen to finish games for a while after Francisco Rodriguez was traded. For the sake of the team's future, it's important that he continue playing Duda in right and letting Parnell pitch in high-leverage situations, but since he's shown that's likely, I won't hold it against him.
More after the jump.
Jose Reyes is undeniably the cog that makes the Mets offense work. What's his injury status and do you think his absence from the lineup has led to the team's 6-15 August record?
Reyes' absence since he left the game very early on August 7 is definitely one reason why the team has struggled to win games this month. Including that game, the Mets have scored 4.24 runs per game since Reyes went down with the hamstring injury, a bit lower than their 4.47 runs per game on the season. Pitching has been the big issue lately, especially the bullpen, and the team can use any help it can get at the plate to compensate for the runs they're giving up.
Speaking of injuries, how is Johan Santana progressing in his recovery?
Santana was progressing pretty well all summer, given the circumstances, but he had a setback after throwing three innings in a Low-A rehab start. It wasn't anything serious, but the prescription was rest. That's exactly what he's gotten since then, but it sounds like he'll be throwing off a mound again soon. I'm not surprised at all that he didn't pitch this year, but I am cautiously optimistic that he'll be ready to begin 2012. That's far from a certainty, though.
Jason Isringhausen has been the closer since Francisco Rodriguez was traded and has recorded seven saves. Bobby Parnell just recorded his first. Are either of them the closer next year or do the Mets look elsewhere?
I'm not sure whether or not Isringhausen will even be playing baseball in 2012, but either way, Bobby Parnell goes into 2012 as the Mets' closer. Sandy Alderson's front office isn't going to waste big money on a closer, and Parnell is easily the best in-house relief pitcher. It'd be nice if he kept his walks down, but his strikeout rate is really good despite the general lack of movement on his fastball.
Another question on Jose Reyes: Jose is a free agent this offseason. In your opinion, is he playing for the Mets in 2012 and why do you think so?
Yes, Jose Reyes will be wearing a Mets uniform in 2012 and beyond. It's understandably a question that's come up several times this season, but I think both sides will come to terms on a fair deal. Even with likelihood that payroll will be reduced overall, the money will be there in the budget to pay Reyes. If there's anyone for whom you'd go above and beyond, it's Reyes. He's a top player in general, and when you account for his position, he's even more valuable.
Some people have suggested that perhaps Reyes' value on the open market has taken a hit with his two trips to the disabled list with a tight hamstring this year. I'm not sure that's really the case, but I suppose it gives the Mets a little something to keep down the cost of bringing Reyes back.
Finally, I think there's pressure on Alderson to bring Reyes back. No general manager should run a team based on what the fans think, but most Mets fans seem to understand that the team couldn't be turned into a contender in just one year. If Reyes signs elsewhere, though, I'd imagine a significant contingent of Mets fans will lose their minds.
Thanks to Chris McShane for taking the time to answer these questions. Let's have a great series!
SCHEDULED PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday, August 26, 7:10 p.m. EDT
#15 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jul 14, 1975
|2011 - Tim Hudson||13-7||26||26||1||1||0||0||170.2||140||66||57||12||42||122||3.01||1.07|
#38 / Pitcher / New York Mets
Aug 19, 1978
|2011 - Chris Capuano||9-11||26||24||0||0||0||0||145.1||157||80||76||21||44||123||4.71||1.38|
Saturday, August 27, 4:10 p.m. EDT
#49 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jan 29, 1986
|2011 - Jair Jurrjens||13-5||22||22||2||1||0||0||146.0||134||46||44||11||42||87||2.71||1.21|
#43 / Pitcher / New York Mets
Oct 29, 1974
|2011 - R.A. Dickey||5-11||27||26||1||0||0||0||167.0||168||77||69||17||43||109||3.72||1.26|
Sunday, August 28, 1:10 p.m. EDT
#36 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Dec 26, 1987
|2011 - Mike Minor||4-2||10||10||0||0||0||0||55.2||64||28||27||1||19||52||4.37||1.49|
#35 / Pitcher / New York Mets
Apr 28, 1986
|2011 - Dillon Gee||11-5||24||21||1||0||0||0||127.2||109||66||62||13||57||85||4.37||1.30|
Remember, Sunday's game is in question due to Hurricane Irene. A couple of possibilities have been presented in the event the game cannot be played. The first is playing on their next mutual off day, which would be September 8. The other is playing on the day after the regular season ends (September 29), but only if it impacts the playoff race. The Mets do not want to play a doubleheader because they already have one scheduled for Monday.