Spin? What spin? The Mets played horribly on this homestand. At least there is nowhere to go but up! All teams play with a long season with peaks and valleys. The Mets have started out in the valley, but I’m not, and neither is anyone else, going to be able to give them a fair evaluation until they’ve had a peak to compliment it. If they counter the 4-9 start with a 10-2 stretch, it puts them in a completely different stage than if their pinnacle is a 8-4 stretch. The adage is you’re never as bad as you look when you’re losing and never as good as you look when you’re winning. It might be smart to give them more than 8% of the season before we go insane trying to quantify the team.
So take solace that any ten, or 13, game stretch does not make or break a season, and definitely not one in April.
The Mets cannot play this badly all season, the pitchers will get better, will settle in.
The offense has actually looked pretty good for the most part. Willie Harris mostly stinks, and Brad Emaus hasn’t really shown much, but Daniel Murphy has and Jason Bay will be back in a couple of weeks.
It’s a long season, with many ups and downs. So we started on a bit of a downer, but that doesn’t mean their aren’t peaks ahead. What’s that quote from Fight Club?
“It’s only after you‘ve lost everything that you‘re free to do anything.”
Now hopefully the Mets can stop playing like they’re sleepwalking through the game and generate some wins.
Tags: april, baseball adages, baseball quotes, fight club, fight club quotes, it's early, it's only when you've lost everything that you're free to do anything, Mets, mets homestand, never as bad as you look when you're losing, never as good as you look when you're winning, New York Mets, offense
Could this be the final test for the Mets?
I hope it’s not, but if they fail it may mean the figurative end to their season. The next two weeks are very critical, and the first order of business is just flat out winning games. The Mets have played very well at home this year, and they’ve got three games against the tough Cardinals, and then three against the not so tough Diamondbacks. There can be no excuses: They have to win games. Omar’s job, provided he still has one, is to bring in reinforcements after that. The trading deadline is next weekend, and the Mets are in need of some help. No longer can they play waiting games or decide they don’t like the price. When you drop as many games in the standings as the Mets did, you no longer have the luxury of pretending you’re not desperate for help.
After the Diamondbacks the Mets again head on the road. It’s this road trip that could prove to be critical, as they face the Braves and the Phillies. The Braves have been amazing lately, and the Mets have been making just about every other ballpark look to them like Turner Field did around the turn of the century. By falling so far back, it’s become imperative that they make up ground by beating the competition in front of them. Losing and falling further behind could very well be a death blow.
The Mets have been extremely streaky this year and they really are much better than they’ve shown lately. If they take that streak and turn it into a hot stretch where they’re again a team that’s tough to beat, they could climb right back into this race. There is still a lot of baseball to be played and August could be a good month for them. After they play the division rivals on the road, they come home for the Rockies and the Phillies before going on a road trip that one would describe similarly to the Cleveland-Baltimore trip they took that they were successful on: they play the Astros and the Pirates. Another home stretch with the Marlins and the Astros provides plenty of time to fight their way back into this race before facing the Braves again at the end of the month.
Can the Mets ace this next test and fight their way back into relevancy again? I don’t know. Neither answer would surprise me, but I’m certain they’re capable of it. They often say you need to get hot at the right time and if the Mets can capitalize on that by beating up on the division rivals, as the Phillies did in 2007, they can certainly win this division.
Tags: Atlanta Braves, Baseball, division, getting hot, homestand, Mets, mets cardinals, mets test, New York Mets, NL East, offense, Omar Minaya, Philadelphia Phillies, reinforcements, road trip, season, test, winning streak
The Mets have not been playing good baseball lately. This poor play brings up debate and questions about what exactly the problems are. Is it an easy fix? Something that takes time, money, or trade?
Could it be the managing?
Maybe. Jerry Manuel is not a good manager. He’s operating as a lame-duck manager and as Steve Popper remarked today, A manager that everyone in the clubhouse suspects is not here for the long haul may lose a little authority in the dealing with long term situations such as standing up to Jose Reyes and being the final authority on if he is in the lineup. The flip side of this is the question of whether Manuel’s lack of authority in such situations is what led to his job security being as tenous as it is in the first place.
Manuel seems inept at managing road games or close games, often burning outs with useless bunts, refusing to use his best pitchers on the road or burning through the bullpen at record pace. Still, the Mets have the talent and ability to win games, and if enough games are going to come down to the point where they are won or lost on a misguided bunt call in the third inning, the Mets probably won’t win enough games for it to matter.
Is it the offense?
Some fans are thinking so. Some seem to have given up on Beltran and Bay, and point out that the pitching has rarely kept the Mets out of games. Surely if players like Bay continue to underperform, the Mets will not win. However it’s probably safer to say Jason Bay will hit more like the 1000 games before he became a Met, than the 90 or so this year. Beltran has returned, one of the most talented players in the game, and while we’re still not sure what effect the brace and lingering bone bruises are going to have on his overall play it’s safe to say he’s a solid upgrade over Jeff Francoeur. Castillo will return soon and put up a respectable OBP that provides more run scoring opportunities. Reyes will be back in the lineup and allow us to send Tejada back to Buffalo for more seasoning. It’s easy to get worked up over slumps and scoring droughts, but the Mets offense overall is pretty good.
How about the pitching?
Behind Johan, one of the best second half pitchers ever, the Mets currently have Pelfrey, Niese, Dickey and Takahashi. Dickey has been wonderful, and Niese is contributing as well. Mike Pelfrey’s struggling with a little bit of a slump, but he’ll fight out of it and win games for the Mets in the second half. Takahashi has struggled, looking more suited for a long relief type role out of the bullpen. This would be the obvious place to upgrade on the team, and rumors are that Omar is indeed looking for something that won’t cost the farm, but I’m not convinced the pitching is keeping the Mets out of games. In fact they’ve been in most games, rarely getting blown out or finding themselves down six runs in the seventh inning. Takahashi has had some bad starts, but he’s also had some good ones. Johan even had a couple of bad starts in the first half.
The Mets injuries, coupled with some slumps, are what’s causing the recent struggles. Some of the other categories may be making it worse such as Jason Bay slumping or Takahashi having a poor outing, but overall it’s the injury to Luis Castillo forcing us to play lesser or unready players in Cora and Tejada. It’s Reyes slow recovery from the strained oblique. It’s Beltrans bone bruises keeping him out the entire first half. Ike Davis went through a typical rookie slump, but after two home runs last night may be coming out of it. You can’t get much worse than Rod Barajas lately, and he may be forcing Jerry’s hand in using Thole more, who has done nothing but hit while he’s been on the Mets.
It’s easy to overreact to slumps and scoring droughts, but the Mets have the talent to make the playoffs this year. There is a lot of time left, including plenty of games left against the division leading Braves. Destiny is in their own hands. Beltran is getting up to speed, Jose Reyes is supposedly just about recovered, and Luis Castillo is set to return by next weekend. Johan’s a second half pitcher, more help may be on the way, and Ike Davis may rebound from his first major slump a better player. The second half of the season is going to be very exciting, and I can’t wait.
Tags: Baseball, Carlos Beltran, fire jerry manuel, fire manuel, injuries, jason bay, jerry manuel, managing, Mets, mets woes, New York Mets, offense, Omar Minaya, Pitching, Pitching Depth, pitching upgrade, second half, slumps, trades
This Mets team can be pretty scary. I certainly thought they had a chance to be very competitive coming into this year, but it would’ve been hard for anyone to predict it would evolve the way it did. The team may be the team you’d least want to face in the National League, because you never know what you’re going to get from them, they can hit you from all angles. People talk about Philadelphia’s offense being scary, but when you get down to it the Phillies are a team built on offense; if you pitch well against them you can win any of the games.
The Mets can baffle a team’s offense on any day. It could happen via R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball dancing towards the plate, or it could happen with Pelfrey’s dominate sinking fastball. The next day Jon Niese could unleash his curveball, or Johan Santana could be on the mound with his two Cy Young awards. The bullpen has also been very good, regularly racking up scoreless innings. They’ve got some hard throwers, some specialists, and Frankie Rodriguez.
Offensively the Mets have the talent to beat a team in a couple of ways. They’re capable of hitting big home runs one day, and the next day battering pitching to a tune of 14 runs without a long ball. They’re aggressive, steal bases, take extra bases on base hits, capitalize on errors and play hard. They’re capable of coming back from deficits, don’t quit until the game is over, and even if a starting pitcher is shutting them down, they’re capable of waking up against a reliever and winning a game.
They seem to have the right mixture of confidence and cockiness, and all reports suggest they have great clubhouse chemistry. (Winning will do that) Even if they don’t make a trade, it looks like they’ll be getting Carlos Beltran back to the lineup which would be about as big a mid-season acquisition as you can find. They’re already in prime playoff position, and they’ve got plenty of guys looking to have a better second half including Johan Santana, Jason Bay, Luis Castillo, and Jose Reyes. This is a team to look out for, and it’s looking like the final series before the All-Star break against the Braves is going to be a big one.
Tags: Baseball, bullpen, good teams, great teams, Home Runs, Johan Santana, jon niese, Mets, mets are scary, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, NL East, offense, phillies suck, Pitching, r a dickey, scary mets, starting pitching, winning, winning baseball
Pitching wins. That’s the common refrain around baseball, and there is a lot of truth to it. So while many Mets fans may have been upset that the Mets offense is struggling, even against position players in a 20 inning game, I’m ecstatic that the pitching has been so good. It’s too early to tell for sure on the starters. Some velocity numbers seem suspect, but static numbers do not tell you everything. Pitch counts, and pitch speeds, are something that many managers and baseball experts are still working on. 20 years ago these things were barely more important than who won the airplane race. (On a side note, I kinda miss the airplane race. It was so perfect for the Mets, since Jets from LaGuardia fly over constantly.) Let’s give some guys a couple of starts to build up arm strength and get the early season jitters out of the way before we judge what they’re capable of for the season.
If the pitching is going to be this good, the Mets are going to rise to great heights. Santana is going to win games; I really don’t think there is anything to worry about with him. He’s had a little less velocity than we would like so far, but he’s also fresh back from surgery, and a slow starter. He did get up to 92 by the end of his appearance Saturday, and I hope it’s just a matter of getting his arm strength up to mid-season form. You could probably say the same thing about Oliver Perez, who looked masterful the night before. Perez mixed and matched pitches and location and speeds like a pro. Like Santana. He was _nothing_ like the Ollie we know. He wasn’t good Ollie, or bad Ollie. He was just a pitcher doing his thing. There wasn’t wildness, or getting unfocused. He was pitching, not throwing, as the adage goes.
There’s not enough to say about Pelfrey. He’s amazing. He leads the team in ERA, in wins, even in saves! He threw a masterful game in the low-oxygen Colorado game, threw a bullpen early Saturday and then still demanded the ball from Manuel in the 20th inning for the save on Satuday. If there’s anybody on the team you’re ready to say “Throw out 2009, it’s 2010 now and that’s what counts” with, it’s Pelfrey.
Now, the offense hasn’t been great. However, the offense is also underperforming. Bay, Pagan, Castillo, Reyes are all better players than they’ve played so far, and there is little reason to think they won’t get better. That will win games. They’re 4-7 right now and once the offense clicks they could easily rattle off a winning streak. Once we get Murphy back, or Murphy comes back and doesn’t improve and Ike shows up, the offense will get a boost as well. Like Murphy or not, he’s not the automatic strikeout that Jacobs is.
A lot hinges on tonight. Every other pitcher has shown that they’re going to put up some good games this year. Even Niese’s quality start is perfectly acceptable out of the 5th guy. Maine is the only holdout, and after scrapping the changes that didn’t work this spring, he’ll revert to what’s given him success in the past. It might be too soon to expect him to have that nailed down and for him to pitch a gem, but a competitive game over six innings or so that gives the Mets ample opportunity to win the game would be a great start.
The offense will work itself out, but if the pitching can do what it’s started to show it can do, this 4-7 record will be a mere slow start in a great season.
Big two game series against the Phillies. Until the Mets are comfortably above .500 and pushing, every series is a big series. Time to put on your hitting caps and introduce the Phillies to Citi Field in hostile style. I know I’m looking forward to seeing Ryan Howard take his best swing and fly out to right field.
You’d like to see them win both games and really get some good feelings going. Last night’s sweep in Turner Field helped, even with the error, but four in a row over the Braves and Phillies would be a big deal. It was nice to see Chipper making outs and errors to help the Mets win, and I hope to see the Mets take advantage of the Phillies sloppy pitching and poor play to win some games.
The Phillies are really, especially this year, a one trick pony. We’ve got Santana going tonight, and Pelfrey tomorrow. We’ve got a good bullpen. Hopefully our good pitching neutralizes their one trick, their offense. I’ll be at the second game in the Pepsi Porch, and I’m looking forward to a good game from that location.
ESPN’s streak for the cash contest features this game: Will the Phillies have more hits than Santana strikeouts? I’m going with Santana.
There seems to be a desperate need among some fans for the Mets to upgrade their offense. Some people are overly freaked out to the point (not that it takes much for some) of screaming and yelling about the Wilpons and/or Minaya and the inevitable ‘please spend like the Yankees’ pleas.
They’re off-target. The offense we have is fine. The one area I’d like to see improved is the bench, and this isn’t something you sign Manny Ramirez for. I’d be reluctant to sign an outfielder if it limits Murphy’s playing time, and I think Castillo is going to have a more than acceptable year. Even without those two positions, which was basically where the Mets were last year, they scored the second most runs in the National League (ahead of Philadelphia). Some of it was bad situational stuff, which you have to pin on both HoJo, and Manuel’s lineup and pinch hitting selections. Hopefully both of these get better, but one of the things that definitely will help is the better bullpen. For two years now, repeated blown saves have overshadowed the offense. The Mets weren’t flat in 2007, the bullpen just gave back the lead too often. The Mets weren’t unable to get a big hit in 2008, the big hits just were just obscured by the bullpen giving the lead back, or making the game so out of reach that the big hit that was needed was a 6-run home run.
The Mets will seem to hit better in 2009 even if the lineup stays the same. The Mets will be more capable of winning that 3-2 game, and suddenly their offense will be plenty.
This team needs to find that Grand Slam so they can get over this malaise and start winning games again. You’d have thought the Mets bringing up Grand Slam machine, Fernando Tatis, would help them shake off the disaster that was Chan Ho Park and 2007 and get their very own 2008 four run dinger.
It wasn’t a manager or coach change that the Mets needed. It isn’t a Zephyr call up or a mid-season trade. It wasn’t the off-season acquisition of an Ace. No, what this team needs is a grand slam, and when they get that sweet quadruple helping of runs batted in, this team will take off towards the ultimate prize, October and the World Series.
I don’t buy the argument that the Mets are .500 over the last 162. It’s a misleading statistic. This team has rarely played .500 baseball. It’s played better and it’s played worse. Talent wise we all know they should be better. Anyone that tells you otherwise is either disappointed, or a Mets hater.
The biggest, and main reason for their failures has been their inconsistant hitting. They often fail to do the situational stuff, like get guys in from third, or get a big hit with runners on. They’re doing better at scratching and clawing and adding on than last year, but often they only do this, failing to have the big 5-6 run innings. Some of this can be attributed to lack of power, notably the decline of Carlos Delgado, who’s actually hit the ball well lately. However, as Keith would tell you, they didn’t always used to look for the damn 3-run home run. Could this be all the problem is? Rather then trying to simply bloop one or make solid contact up the middle, everyone’s trying to drive the ball high and far? Could someone please tell the Mets that a ground ball often scores the run as easily as the sac-fly, so stop worrying about driving the ball or long home runs and just get a hit. Maybe more guys could score from second and go first to third if every hit didn’t look like it could be caught causing them to have to hang back.
I’ll even give the Padres two of these games. Wagner is going to have the occasional blip, so maybe you give them Sunday. And the offense isn’t always going to be on, maybe an opposing pitcher actually pitches well, and maybe the Padres can take one of those other three. Still, the Mets should’ve been able to take those other two, and they have no excuses. They’re backing themselves against a wall for no reason.
100 games left. You could project numbers, guess or estimate what everyone is going to do. And you’d be wrong 95% of the time. The Mets are capable of winning anywhere from 45-70 of the remaining games. The Phillies are capable of losing anywhere from 40-60 games. Looking at the big picture is what got them into trouble last year. I say they look at being in position to take the division back from the Phillies by their next meeting in early July. That is 22 games prior to a four game series. Probably 23 games if you factor in the Yankee makeup. There is no reason why they can’t play one game better than the Phillies every week, and be in a competitive place by July.
Who knows where they’re going to go, how they’re going to play, or if the Phillies are going to keep this pace. It’s up to the Mets, and the most infuriating part of it all is that we could be on a train ride headed for a wreck with no way to get off.
Oh, and could they go ahead and announce the Yankee makeup date already? If they’r really planning on doing it in two and a half weeks, it’d be nice to know. Especially if they make it at an iffy time like Friday afternoon.
Something just hasn’t been right with this team on the West Coast. Maybe it’s all the travel, which would be a poor excuse, or maybe it’s something else. This failure to get runners in is the biggest frustration of them all. You’d almost excuse a small offensive blip, especially in San Diego, but the way they’re getting the hits and the runners and just not getting them in sucks. Some of it’s just poor execution, and some of it even seems luck and good defense, like Hairston’s great catch on David Wright’s hit the other night.
Time to turn the page, get energized by Pedro and take the final game of the series. Then use the off day to recover from jet lag, and beat the tar out of the Diamondbacks and Rangers.