Mets happy with the players they have

Mets happy with players they have

MIAMI -- Manager Jerry Manuel was not happy following Monday night's loss to the Marlins, and that's no surprise. But he did not pick up the phone. He did not call general manager Omar Minaya. He did not request a trade. He did not complain.

"Sometimes we here in our positions as coaches and staff, we'll react right after a loss," Manuel said. "We're like a fan. We'll say, 'I need this right now. I need this.' But it's the general manager that has to be able to keep everything in its proper place."

Which means it's the GM who is paid not to overreact. These Mets continue to rank among the hottest teams in baseball. Manuel knows it. Minaya knows it. And both also know that trading for a new player might not produce the desired results.

So instead they'll play on Tuesday with their current group of personnel -- the same group that has won 15 of its last 20 games, the same group that continues to lead the National League East. Even with Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline looming, the Mets aren't quite so keen on the idea of messing with their current formula.

"When we're in the position that we're in and the players are playing the way that they're playing, you hate to come out and publicly ask for different things," Manuel said. "But I don't put it past our front-office people [to] do something."

History says that they will, given their deadline deals for Oliver Perez two years ago and Luis Castillo last season. But this July, the Mets' farm system is, perhaps, weaker, and the pool of available players is growing thin. The possibility of the Mets springing a deal -- for a corner outfielder, a reliever or anyone else -- is fading.

And maybe that's not such a bad thing. Fernando Tatis, with a newly minted hold on the starting job in left field, is among the team's hottest hitters. Other than some hiccups on Monday night, the bullpen has pitched quite well. And the rest of the team is playing as smoothly as it has since the first two months of last season.

Perhaps Raul Ibanez or Jason Bay or Brian Fuentes can add something to that mix. But perhaps any one of those players might subtract something, as well.

"There are so many different variables," Manuel said. "What if this happens to the team? What if this piece doesn't fit?"

One piece that does fit is Perez. Perhaps the Mets' most consistent pitcher this month -- imagine that -- Perez has posted a 1.34 ERA over his past five starts. Along with Carlos Delgado, he is among the most significant reasons why the Mets have been so hot. Keeping that hot streak intact against the Marlins on Tuesday night would only solidify his status as one of the team's most important pieces.

To do so, he will have to defeat Marlins lefty Scott Olsen, who holds a 3.12 ERA at Dolphin Stadium.

Pitching matchup
NYM: LHP Oliver Perez (6-6, 4.15 ERA)
Perez held the Phillies to one run through 7 2/3 innings on Thursday, further cementing his reputation as a big-game pitcher with 12 strikeouts -- six with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley in the batter's box. Even though he finished with a no-decision, he wielded an almost unhittable slider and an accurate fastball for most of the afternoon until he plunked Howard in the eighth, loading the bases and prompting a call to the bullpen. The Marlins last saw him on May 28 -- prior to his recent successes -- hammering the southpaw for five runs in six innings.

FLA: LHP Scott Olsen (6-5, 4.07 ERA)
The 24-year-old was hurt by the big inning in his last start, a loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Thursday. A four-run fifth inning put him in a bind. He was hurt by two homers, and he's allowed at least one in five straight starts. In that span, opponents have collected eight homers. Olsen took his first loss since June 17. He had been 2-0 with three no-decisions over that stretch.

The Mets have promoted left-hander Jonathon Niese to Triple-A New Orleans, and he will start for them on Wednesday against Tucson. Niese, 21, is widely considered the best pitcher in the Mets' farm system. ... Right fielder Ryan Church increased the intensity of his cardiovascular workouts on Monday and will take batting practice on Tuesday for the first time since going on the disabled list with post-concussion syndrome. At best, Manuel said, Church could rejoin the club at some point during the next homestand. ... Marlins outfielder Cody Ross is 7-for-17 lifetime off Perez, with three home runs and 10 RBIs. For his career, Ross has hit nearly 50 points better off left-handers than righties.

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Up next
• Wednesday: Mets (Mike Pelfrey, 9-6, 3.67) at Marlins (Josh Johnson, 0-0, 3.71), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Mets (Pedro Martinez, 3-2, 6.25) at Astros (Brandon Backe, 6-10, 4.73), 8:05 p.m. ET

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.