The Mets have been in a free fall, plummeting towards worthlessness and erasing all the good will they achieved this season. It’s not totally their fault; They’ve been struck with a lot of injuries, and Sandy Alderson traded two expendable, but useful, parts for prospects once it was obvious the Mets weren’t going to make a real run at the playoffs. Still, despite the occasional fight they show, they’ve also showed a fair amount of looking flat too. They misplay balls, take bad approaches at the plate, and make bad decisions.
Take last night’s game. The Mets got guys on bases with plenty of opportunity, and turned around and let Worley off the hook. They refused to swing the bat and struck out five times looking, all with runners in scoring position. They worked Worley, but as soon as they gave up the lead they made 12 consecutive outs letting Worley go deeper in the game than he probably should’ve. They misplayed balls in the outfield and made bad throws.
This isn’t to say the Mets have quit. They look more depressed than disinterested. They press and make desperation plays or throws, or look almost fearful at the plate. The word I would use is lost. They look like they don’t know what to do, and have lost some of the routine and instinct that guides most baseball play in an effort to try to do too much.
You can see the effects already. People talk about the Mets as if they’re a horrible disaster of a team, despite playing competitively for a good chunk of the year. The stories about financial disaster are back, false rumors about not being able to spend money and sign players. They’re writing off 2012 without having any idea what will happen with the prospects or free agents this offseason.
Just like the Mets bounced back from 5-13 early, they’ll bounce back from this as well. They won’t play this badly the rest of the way, and that last month will set a tone and provide a lot of info about the off-season direction they need to take. But they have erased much of the goodwill they got for playing hard and being resilient during the midseason. Some may write a positive story overall about the season, but most will dismiss the Mets as anything worth thinking about no matter how this season ends.
Faith and Fear in Flushing also has a post today, as probably many Mets bloggers do, about free falling and not being able to get up. Great minds thinking alike and all that.