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Friday Applesauce

It was linked to in this FanPost, but it deserves another plug. At Beyond the Boxscore, Sky Kalkman breaks down the National League MVP race using clutch performance, playing time and defense, among other things. Sky clarifies the "clutch" point thusly:

Let's start with that last claim, that performance in clutch situations matters. No, I don't think clutchiness is a real skill -- that is, you can't predict who's going to be clutch in the future. But looking back over the season, the players who performed better in the clutch did help create more runs for their teams, leading to more wins.

John Maine could be back on the field by Monday. He is scheduled to throw to live batters on Saturday, and if things go well he could conceivably pitch in a real game when the Mets return for Shea's final homestand next week.

Jerry Manuel's sense of humor keeps the Mets loose. I'll admit that after two years of "we battled" from Art Howe and three-plus years of "I'm going with my guys" from Willie Randolph, to watch a press conference where the Mets' manager is actually candid and doesn't use baseball platitudes as a crutch is refreshing.

At MetsGeek, Alex Nelson looks at the pitchers the Mets will face this weekend at Turner Field.