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Close Games an Early Concern

Mike SteffanosFriday, April 17, 2009
By Mike Steffanos

Game 9: Padres 6 - Mets 5

Sorry to be so late with this. I've been pushing myself way too hard lately, and wound up passing out on the couch last night.

I'm tempted to make something out of the Mets poor start this season, but then I read all the sensationalistic crap in the papers and find myself almost embarrassed about being tempted to go there.

Look, 9 games out of a 162 game schedule is really only 1/18 of the way into the season, and it truly is ridiculous to make too much out of what has happened. The fact that some writers are willing to make that much out of so little probably says something about today's baseball coverage.

Still, to deny that areas of concern have cropped up would be equally silly. The Mets need at least two of the Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez and John Maine trio to pitch well, and they have only two good starts between them in six outings.

It's hard to get a read on Maine and Perez yet. Both are still sort of going through spring training, and both have shown the ability to get through most of their innings unscathed. On the other hand, both have experienced a truly horrible inning in their first starts. I want to give both at least 5 or 6 starts before I draw any real conclusions.

As for Pelfrey, we need to see if this forearm tendinitis is a lingering problem. As Joshua Robinson breathlessly points out in the New York Times, "Forearm tendinitis is an injury that sometimes comes with ominous connotations, the result of a player's compensating for more serious damage to his shoulder or elbow."

The author wants us to read this and remember the other times a pitcher was diagnosed with tendinitis and it turned out to be more serious. Of course, tendinitis is a fairly common problem for pitchers, and when it clears up without an extended visit to the DL, we don't tend to remember those any more that we remember what we had for dinner on a random night ten years ago.

So yeah, there's reason to be concerned with Pelfrey, and the Mets have a track record of downplaying injuries. Still, it's not a story for the press if it just turns out to be simple tendinitis.

If there is one single thing that really does bother me nine games into 2009, it is the Mets 1-4 record in one-run games so far -- and the one win was opening day in Cincinnati. I forgave a lot from last year's club because they battled back in so many games when the bullpen imploded. It's harder to deal with losses when the Mets can't seem to pull out the close ones. Again, it's early, but if that trend was to continue I would have a real problem with this team.

Okay, that's enough of that. Our friend Gary Sparber has pictures posted from Citi Field that are absolutely stunning.

View John Maine's Full Season Stats

Box Score

Comments (5)

These are the games that they should be winning (Padres/Reds)against lesser teams. I knew the Marlins would be tough if they're young talented pitchers could pull it together, and they basically outpitched the Mets. Again Mets have had their opportunities, but true to the many times the last two seasons, have not cashed in. Early, but annoying at this point.Go Mets 2009!

To early for the pitching, I agree. But the RBI hitting is the same for the past 2years or more and that is what drives me crazy. we easly lead most teams in runners left on base. That trend continues and we need to address that.

too small a sample size. I think it comes down more to you win some, you lose some.

I think the long spring, and the cold April have kept people from really getting into a rhythm too. They've gotten a lot of guys on, but not necessarily in. I predict a stretch where they're just tearing into people though. a week where they score 60 runs.

Ceetar makes a good point.

Virtually all players experience a lull time sometime during the Spring Training grind, and with the timeline extended me may be sailing into uncharted territory. Which is not an excuse; rather a thought that maybe we need to wait a while before we pronounce just what the Mets hold for us this season.

Guys, with due respect, if you're saying it's too early to panic, I agree and said as much. As far as me being concerned by losing 4 straight 1-run games, though, like anyone I get to decide when I am concerned.

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