The Nats (3-11) head up to Flushing today for a three game series against the New York Mets (6-9) in their brand new ballpark, City Field.
The Mets are a ball club well known for their large but more importantly well read fan base. As a result the Mets have a collection of some of the best fan blogs around. I reached out to some to get their take on the status of the Mets and their views on the upcoming Nationals series.
We contacted several Mets blogs and to our delight we got a hold of some of the best out there, and hopefully with this we can broaden relationships and give the readers of The Nats Blog the best experience possible.
We spoke to: Will from Mets Fans Forever (MFF), Joe D from Mets Merized Online (MMO), JJ from and New York Mets Global Blog (NYMGB)
1. The Mets are off to a 6-9 start, are you disappointed with how things are going right now?
"Definitely. Although I wouldn't say I'm surprised by their early performance, it's still disappointing to experience. The sad part is I don't see an easy way out right now given the current makeup of the rotation after Johan Santana."-MMO
"This early in the season you try not to look at wins and losses, it's more about how the team has been playing. Clearly the team has had it's struggled, but its hard not to be optimistic."- NYMGB
"As of now I am disappointed. Other than Johan Santana you have no idea what you're going to get out of the other four pitchers. Also the Mets can't seem to hit with RISP. THat needs to change. The bullpen I believe is fine, but in order to hand the ball to Putz and K-Rod the Mets have to be winning which they are not."-MFF
2. What do you think of the new ballpark? Better than the new Yankee Stadium?
"Citi Field is a wonderful throwback to the old parks of baseball's golden era. It's unique in many ways and has plenty of character and charm. I'm not sure what to make of the new Yankee Stadium yet. It seems to be more of a temple than a ballpark and for the $500 million dollars more that it cost to build, I still prefer Citi Field for my money. If they were going to have it look so similar to the previous Yankee Stadiums, why didn’t they just renovate and modernize instead of spending all that money?" -MMO
"Mets' fans had known Shea for 44 years, so obviously Citi field will take a little getting use to. It's a beautiful park and has spectacular food and views. My only issues with the stadium is that there are a bunch of seats that have a limited view of the playing field, and the stadium itself seems a bit too similar to Citizens Bank and AT&T(Pac Bell.) Overall it's gonna take some getting use to before it really feels like home." –NYMGB
"I've been to Citi Field twice and it is beautiful. Great food, great enviornmnet. I miss Shea but it had to go. Even if you don't like baseball you'll have a good time. Also the Mets do plan to add a Mets HOF since Citi is lacking Mets memories. I have not been to Yankee Stadium yet, but from what I've heard other thatn their insane ticket prices, it's really nice."-MFF
3. Six Mets starters are hitting above .300 coming into this series, what are you thoughts on how the line up is working right now?
"It’s not working at all right now, but if those averages hold, it will eventually get better simply because it has to. Manuel just decided to change things up a little with the batting order, and that might finally get things moving in the right direction." -MMO
"Carlos Beltran is coming into the series red hot with the bat, and should carry the team through the next 6 games. Other than that the Mets have had no trouble getting on base, which can be seen by their ba's, but they've had an awfully hard time driving in runs. So until the Mets are hitting with RISP I think the offense will be lacking."-NYMGB
".300 hitters mean nothing to me, if you can't get runs in. Now if they were scoring runs it would be great. With the way Luis Castillo has been hitting I think you should put him in the 2 hole, and OF Dan Murphy in the 7th hole. Also Jerry Manuel should flip-flop David Wright, and Carlos Beltran. Put Wright in the 5th spot, and Beltran in the 3 hole." -MFF
4. John Maine, Oliver Perez, and Mike Pelfrey have struggled, do you see them turning it around this year?
"Here’s the thing, predicting performance is so hard to figure out because there’s so much stuff you have to consider. But the Mets knew Maine was coming back from an injury, and they certainly understood they were playing with fire when they increased Pelfrey’s workload last season. They knew how wildly inconsistent Oliver Perez was when they resigned him. You can gamble on one of those situations, but the Mets gambled on all three. Maybe Maine can turn it around, Pelfrey too, but all three?" -MMO
"It's still very early in the season. Between the three they've made a combined 8 starts. As young and talented as all three of them are I think you have to believe they'll be strong over the course of a full season." -NYMGB
"I think Maine will turn it around, it's just a matter of when. In his first start he gave up only 2 hits. In his 2nd start he was dreadful, he couldnt locate his fastball, and was all over. His 3rd start, his pitching line may not look good, but it seemed to me that he was just missing his location. As for Perez, this is what he is. You look up inconsistent in the dictionary you will see his name. When he's good, I think he can ben better than Santana.He gets SO, many 1-2-3 innings, limited walks. But when he's bad you better hope to god that the offense shows up that day. He doesn't strikeout any batters, and most importantly he walks WAY to many batters. I think it's a mind game with him. For Mike Pelfrey I hope he does well, but to be honest I have no idea. Is his arm injury still affecting him? Who knows. All I can say is that he's so important to that rotation." -MFF
5. What do you think the Mets have to do to be successful against the Nats in the coming series?
"Hit with runners in scoring position, get to the Nationals bullpen early, and make sure our starters all throw strikes." -MMO
"Starting pitching. Tonight's game will showcase Johan Santana who has been ridiculous so far this year. We'll have to wait and see what Maine and Perez can do."-NYMGB
"Well I hope this is the series the Mets break out. Their is little chance the Nats win the series opener with Santana pitching. Also I don't want to be mean, but the Nats just aren't good. This is the team the Mets should beat up on. In their last game the Mets scored 8 runs. Hopefully this trend of scoring continues. Also the second game I think is an important one, with Pelfrey pitching. Every Met fan in the world is wondering how he'll pitch after being skipped in the roation. If he does poor, then I will be worried. I'm really hoping for a sweep, which I think they could do, if Pelfrey shows up, as does the offense."-MFF
6. How do you see the Mets finishing this season?
"It’s too early to hit the panic button, so I have to believe they will win the division. But, I’m making an assumption that the Mets will come to their senses and make a deal for Jake Peavy, Roy Halladay or some other top of the rotation pitcher."-MMO
"Once again, it's all about starting pitching. If they Mets' starters can get their act together they should easily make the playoffs. That being said, if they have another collapse this season or flat out don't make the playoffs, expect major changes come next season."-NYMGB
"They better make the playoffs or changes are gonna happen, like a new GM. This year their final series is against the Astros, and not the Marlins. Which is real real nice. That being said if the Mets continue to play like they've been playing there is not a shot they make the playoffs. I could definately see the Mets trading for another ace at the deadline, or even before that. In my opinion it comes down to their starting pitching, and how they perform."-MFF
7. What moves do they still need to make?
"I answered that question above, but if I was to pick another area I would say they need a masher like Carlos Lee or Jermaine Dye in leftfield. There’s a lot to like about Daniel Murphy, but he has no power and the Mets are having trouble driving in runs. Plenty of guys getting on base, but nobody is driving them in."-MMO
"I'm actually pretty happy with the team's roster right now. They bullpen has lived up to its billing, the offense is their, and I think we have the starters to win. There was a lot said about second base and the corner OF spots during the off-season, but so far Castillo, Church, and Murphy have all been hitting, and with the exception of Murphy defense hasn't been an issue. The added depth of Sheffield, Tatis, and Reed also are above the league average."-NYMGB
"It's too soon to tell, but probably another starting pitcher. They just don't have the depth. Jon Niese their number 1 pitching prospect is horrible so far in AAA, so you can't count on him. This is the reason why they should've gotten Lowe. Even if they had to overpay him. If indeed Roy Halladay and Jake Peavy are available, I think the Mets will make a major play for one of them. And at least one of them should be on the trading block come the deadline. If Ryan Church and/or Dan Murphy hit a major slump, I could see Omar Minaya adding another power bat in the OF."-MFF
8. If the Mets are in the same position they have been in the last two years, on top of the NL East at the beginning of September, do you think they will have the make up to keep it together this time?
"If the Mets go into September with a lead of 7 or more games, they will win the division. The only significant move Omar Minaya made this off season was to ensure that a bullpen collapse will not happen again. He ignored a few other important things, but he did get that one thing right by acquiring K-Rod and Putz."- MMO
"If the Mets can be up 5-10 games with 20 to go, I think this year the Mets would be a lock. Two years ago it was the offense and the lack of an ace pitcher to rally around. Last year it was the bullpen. I think Johan, K-Rod, and Putz all address those issues, and on a stretch run the Mets will be able to win 2 out of 5 even without an offense, which is all they would need."-NYMGB
"Tough question, nobody knows. Even if they have a 7 game lead with 8 games to go, every Met fan will STILL be worried. Last year we all thought they could do it, that of course didn't happen. But come September they should have a stable bullpen which obviously will be very important. Hopefully come September the Mets will have SP, and a conistnat offense. But like I said before you just don't know."-MFF
9. Favorite all time Mets Memory?
"Robin Ventura’s grand slam single in game five of the 1999 LCS will always be my favorite memory. It sent shockwaves down my spine that still resonate whenever I think about it. I own the DVD of that game and whenever I’m having a bad day, I’ll just pop that in and everything’s alright." -MMO
"That's a tough one, being a younger Met fan its hard for me to remember the 69' or 86' teams so i will have to got with Robin Ventura's grand slam single against the braves in the '99 CS."-NYMGB
"That's a hard one, I would go with Endy Chavez's catch, but they lost that game. I would have to go with the first game played in New York after 09-11-01. I was at this game, and this is a game I will never forget. The atmosphere I can't describe. And when Mike Piazza hit that HR, I truly thought Shea was going to collapse right then and there because of the stomping of the feet, and the noise. It was so loud I couldn't hear my friend next to me. It was a great moment not just for the Mets, but for the city. Little fact Chipper Jones said that was the only game that he didn't care who won. The game was just so emotional."-MFF
Thanks to Mets Merized, New York Global Mets Blog, and Mets Fans Forever for contributing.
The New York Global Mets Blog also cross interviewed The Nats Blog about the upcoming series, check it out.