September 06, 2007

Issues Down The Stretch

Obviously wrapping up and securing the division title and home field through round 1 and 2 are the priorities here. But after that, here are some pending issues.

Jose Reyes NEEDS Rest:
Can we get A Hernandez to play some short? With each new view of a pop up flying off of his bat, it's become over-obvious that he is tired. The 48 hours off ending the Cinci series, followed by the scheduled team day off, will be a nice rest period for Reyes. But a little more may actually be in order.

Keeping Castillo Healthy:
Like Reyes, Castillo needs rest. With Gotay as a solid backup, it should not kill the appearance of the offensive lineup. Defense suffers, but Castillo lightening the workload on his knees and Gotay getting at bats is a good thing; gain a bit of pop and keep the valuable, aging, number two hitter fresher for the postseason. Its a symbiotic relationship that helps the team exponentially because in addition to the rest and health benefits of Castillo, Gotay keeps a nice bat on point.

* Building arm strength.
* Properly evaluating his status for the postseason and how he should be used. Bullpen? Starting? If in the rotation is he your number one, two, three, or four starter?

Sorting Out the Rotation for the Playoffs:
'Nuff said for now. See who has it going down the stretch. Clearly the toughest evaluation the team will need to make heading into round one. And of course this impacts......

The Bullpen:
Which starter or starters will go to the pen? The Mets win games the Duke starts at a high rate. He has big stage moxy. On the flip side however, he may be the most adaptable for the pen, an area where the Mets desperately need improvement. El Duque has pitched out of the pen in the postseason before (2005 WS Champion White Sox).

I've been vocal since last November about the temptation and logic behind Pedro being used in the pen. But its apparent that isn't a popular thought and highly unlikely due to ego. Some say his arm wouldn't be capable of getting loose on short notice. But being used an inning a night might be easier on the arm than the workload of 6 at a time. I'm no doctor though.

If he takes a step back in performance over the next and final 3 starts of the regular season, it would be a major risk to let him start a playoff game. So this final stretch will determine a lot.

The team will also need to decide how many bullpen guys they carry as their bench is extremely strong and one impacts the other. And where is Joe Smith? Is he coming back soon or what? What is his chance of being on the postseason roster?

Can Mota restore our confidence in him? Can Willie resist the temptation to burn out Sosa's arm? So far he has severley overused him and I fear for his effectiveness dropping off.

The Bench:
Conine needs some ABs. In addition to the chance Delgado's hip issue lingers, Conine is one of the few attractive righty bat options off the bench. It is dominated by sweet lefty options. But other than Milledge, who starts 50% of the time anyway, Conine is the main righty pinch-hitter late in a game. He needs to get AB's in September for his timing come October.

In blowout games or games that seem to not matter (should the Mets build a more than comfortable lead in the NL east), Chavez should be in there relieving the old and fragile, but important to the postseason, Mosies Alou. Let him come off the bench late in the games like Willie has been doing, or get him more frequent starts in place of Moises.

Regarding the rest of the bench, roster decisions will have to be made and the pitching roster will determine how many bench players are carried. As always it all begins with the pitching.

Getting Castro healthy is number one priority here. All the Mets can do is sit back and wait, hoping he heals. He's on the postseason roster even if he only heals by Septembet 30 and gets no MLB ABs before the first round. Will the Mets carry 3 catchers or will they prefer to carry an extra arm in the bullpen or give that spot to a non-catching bench player?


Anonymous said...

tell it how it i brother

Anonymous said...

reyes needs to sit for a couple

Anonymous said...

what he said

Anonymous said...

konine def needs some at bats you can tell by his swings so far

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

darn right true