Monday, August 30, 2010

Mets are on the Road to Mordor

What's the best way to punch the final nail in the coffin of the 2010 Mets? How about a 10 game road trip that starts with a 4 game stint at Turner Field?

Unlike Frodo's journey, the Mets trip to Mordor will end with them being tossed into the fire and being incinerated on contact. There's been this false air of hope surrounding the Mets for most of August. Can they go on a run? Is the Wild Card attainable? Will the pitching and the bats come together in perfect harmony?

This week we will have our answer and I'm telling you now it's no.

The fact that over the past two weeks the Mets have lost 3 games to the Astros and showed an inability to deal with rivals in the NL East losing multiple games to the Phils and Fish just shows you this team is going nowhere. Let's take off our Polyanna glasses and see this team for what it is. And a trip to Atlanta will do just that.

The Braves have a team that is missing its franchise player. They have a young pitching staff save for a top notch veteran in Hudson. And I bet if you tried you couldn't name any players not including McCann, Prado and Heyward. They are a team that should be in third place but because of good management, the right role players and a reliable bullpen they have turned into an NL contender.

They are the exact opposite of the New York Mets and have been for the better part of two decades. As much as it pains me to say this, the Mets organization should learn from the Atlanta Braves. They built a perennial contender on pitching and home grown talent who faltered for a year or two only to come back into contention after a brief hiatus.

It's time to learn from our nemeses. Start taking notes during Monday night's affair.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The 2010 Season in One Word: Tease

The Mets are the biggest tease in baseball. From April's good start, to June's epic streak, to July's West Coast implosion, to August's hint of hope, the Mets have done everything they can to string Mets fans along while not actually accomplishing anything.

Last night's loss to the Marlins was a microcosm of this concept. The Mets seemingly are on their way to another typical defeat on the heels of a great comeback win against one of the best pitchers in the NL. Instead of folding like an origami they chip away only to fall short with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The greatest tease of it all is that seemingly every other team that's ahead of them in the standings lost last night. There was a perfect chance to gain some ground and put together some semblance of interesting September baseball, but instead the Mets fall back to .500.

It's interesting that on a number of Mets blogs, there's still talk of making a run in the Wild Card. There are postings of Wild Card standings. There's talk about what needs to be done to make a run.

Do you think that's happening amongst Marlins' faithful? Doubt it. They let Cody Ross go. They're playing with an outfield that isn't of legal drinking age. And yet they're ahead of the Mets in the standings. Have been since July.

It's time to let go. Play the season out. Enjoy watching baseball if you can, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking something is going to happen this year. We've had about 5 months worth of proof to show us that it's just not happening.

Don't be a tease.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

These Mets are Amazing

Amazing in so many ways that you might not always consider. Last night's fall behind/comeback win that was capped off by, wait for it, a Luis Castillo walk off single was a great win for the team. They were able to defeat one of their arch nemesis pitchers in Josh Johnson. They were able to provide run support for one of their starting pitchers for a change. And they were able to get the big hit when they needed it.

Those are all positives. But that's only a fraction of what makes this team amazing.

It's amazing that Luis Castillo batted .300 and we all hate him so much that we don't complain about a guy who's batting below .180 being our starting second baseman.

It's amazing that Mets fans have more confidence in a win when R.A. Dickey takes the mound than Johan Santana.

It's amazing that Mike Pelfrey was mentioned as a Cy Young contender earlier this season.

It's amazing that the Mets can buy a run off of Zach Duke, but pound Josh Johnson who has an ERA of 0.79 over his last few starts.

It's amazing that Jeff Francoeur's average is around .250. It's amazing that he doesn't pop up or strike out every time.

It's amazing that Josh Thole has become a strikeout machine after batting over .400 for the better part of the season.

It's amazing that Rod Barajas carried this team through April and May, but is no longer here.

It's amazing that Bobby Parnell is throwing Vermont cheddar when all of a sudden KRod is no longer in the picture.

It's amazing that this team was 10 games over .500 a week before the All Star break and is now only a game over.

It's amazing that Oliver Perez is still in the major leagues and will make more than any other pitcher on the Mets not named Santana.

It's amazing that after the pain of the last 3 years and a horrid July/August, that I'm still watching every game.

Some things are beyond explanation.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mets Are A Tease

Just when you think the Mets are on the right track, they slip back into the mediocre club you know they are. During today's broadcast even Gary Cohen got caught up in the Mets tease of a win streak stating that they might find themselves back in the Wild Card race next week.

Wishful thinking Mr. Cohen.

The Mets had an unbelievable opportunity this week to make baseball interesting again, but instead they split the series against the Astros and failed to sweep the Pirates behind another complete game by Johan Santana. And so the Mets find themselves in no better place than where they were a week ago.

Treading water seems to be the plight of this team. They can't seem to go anywhere.

So the Mets return home to face the Marlins and soon the rest of the NL East will have their way with them.

Mets Love Rain and the Pirates

Two of the Mets favorite things occurred last night. First they got to play the Pirates. Second it was a rain shortened game.

Last night marked the second rain shortened game of the year that the Mets came out victorious. I can't say I remember the last time the Mets won multiple shortened games in a single season. It was a welcomed outcome though as Jon Niese was able to preserve his arm and it prevented the Mets bullpen from ruining another starter's great outing.

The Mets bats have come alive against the Pirates, but that's like saying it's cold in Canada. You kind of expect that outcome. The thing is the Mets have been awful this year against teams under .500. In fact they're about 7 games under .500 against losing teams.

You have to beat the teams you're suppose to beat if you want to be competitive. For once the Mets are doing just that and anything but a series sweep would be unacceptable.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Second Coming of Anderson Hernandez

The Mets have a long and storied history of tremendous fielders who couldn't get a hit if their life depended on it. Rey Ordonez. Rafael Santana. Anderson Hernandez. And now Ruben Tejada.

Tejada is a young and inexperienced player at the plate. At 21 years old it's amazing that he's even at the major league level playing every day. But we all know the reason why he's here. Necessity.

Tejada would not be in the majors if the Mets didn't have an injured Reyes to start the season and an abysmal Luis Castillo at second. Alex Cora was beyond awful so they released him and made Ruben Tejada the fixture at second base for the remainder of the season. Tejada has the fortune of being a versatile player at the right place and at the right time.

His glove is masterful. I openly admit there have been at least two games in which Ruben Tejada should have notched a save because he prevented hits and runs from happening that any of the Mets other options would have had no chance at stopping. The problem is Tejada has one major flaw. He can't hit worth a lick.

As a replacement for this year, it's worth having Tejada around. None of the other Mets second baseman could hit either so the fact that Tejada is currently batting a whopping .177 is overlooked. I keep hearing Gary Cohen talk about how he's hard to strikeout and makes good contact, but that's because pitchers don't care about striking him out because whenever he hits the ball he's an automatic out.

I'd like to think/hope that Tejada can develop into a major league hitter or at least be serviceable with an average around the .240 mark. But I don't think Tejada is built to be a major league hitter.

Only time will tell but like Anderson Hernandez and Rey Ordonez before him Mets management and Mets fans will soon grow tired of his amazing glove and demand some results at the plate. Tejada may have the rest of this season to enjoy his time in the spotlight, but come next spring he may find himself back in the minors struggling to earn his way back.

Prove us wrong Tejada. I hope you do.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This is 500 Baseball

The Mets have had every opportunity to jump back into this race, and at every turn they choose to slam the door shut. The Mets should have swept the Houston Astros this week giving them a much needed boost of confidence and setting them on the right track as they head into another winnable series in Pittsburgh.

Instead, the Mets leave Houston splitting the series because of their inability to get any type of run support. The starting pitching has been unbelievable although recently the long ball has been the Achilles heel for Santana, Dickey and now Misch.

We were fooled earlier this year into believing this was a pennant worthy team. We soon forgot about the depression that hit us during the winter and how bad we expected this year to be. Well, it turns out we're soon to forget, but the Mets are here to remind us. They are a .500 ball club. Nothing better.

This team needs some serious retooling in almost every facet of its makeup. Coaching, pitching, hitting, bench. All of it needs work. While the Mets just sent the hype machine that is Fernando Martinez back down to the minors, they should turn his bus around and send him right back.

Put this season in the books. Treat it like spring training. Let's see what the kids can do so we can be prepared for next season and not question whether someone will be able to contribute or not.

It's hard to admit it because you want to have a reason to watch baseball, but this is a mediocre team without an identity and a lack of consistent talent. In other words, it's .500 baseball.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't Write Off KRod Yet

KRod did a horrible and down right despicable thing last week when he got into an altercation in the family clubhouse area after the Mets game with the Rockies. It's inexcusable and he should be punished for it by the Mets and the law if that is what the system ultimately decides. But I'd still consider him to be on my team next year.

The Mets are using this opportunity to try and save face with the fan base.They're posturing to get rid of KRod, but not for the moral standards by which the orgnaization wants you to believe they posses. They want to get rid of him to save money. The almighty dollar.

Let's not fool ourselves. The Mets are a business and they have every right, and are obligated, to find ways to be profitable. But exiling KRod isn't smart business.

Here's why. Would you want Kobe Bryant to be on your basketball? Hmm, yup. What about Ray Lewis? Do you want him on your defense? Even though he's not as spry as he used to be I'd absolutely want him on the Giants. These are guys who arguable have done worse things than KRod (allegedly in Lewis' case) and were publicly vilified for it. But yet here they are both on the same teams that contracted them before their public troubles unfolded. Why? Because sports fans forgive when a player can perform.

KRod had been at the top of his game since coming to the Mets before the altercation last week. The Mets have zero options for future closers. Takahashi might be ok for the rest of this season but I can't see him being a long term solution. Parnell? 102 mph fastball is stunning, but ne needs to do show his stuff for more than one game before being crowned the successor. So if the Mets are looking to save money by voiding KRod's contract due to moral clauses, they're still going to have to go out and spend money to replace him next season.

Sure they might get someone for less money, but they'll also be most likely getting someone with less talent which may in turn result in fewer saves, more Mets losses, and more outcries from the fan base. It's a vicious cycle. Also the KRod contract is not even close to being the worst contract money-wise that the Mets have on the books (see Bay, Castillo, Beltran, or Perez).

Banishing Krod gets the Mets 15 minutes of reprieve from the media. They'll be applauded for "doing the right thing." But in another year, they'll be in hot water for not having an 8th inning or a 9th inning arm in the bullpen.

Whether it's right or wrong, sports figures are able to be forgiven for their misdoings. KRod needs to pay for his misdeeds. He definitely needs some psychological help and counselling. He should get it. He should pay his dues. And come spring of 2011, we'll be ready to welcome him long as he performs well.

Just ask Ron Artest, Big Ben, and Santonio Holmes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Santana Can't Handle Hunter Pence

After singing Santana's praises following his last start, he seriously let the Mets down on Tuesday night. A very winnable game was flushed down the toilet because Johan Santana couldn't get out one Hunter Pence. Pence accounted for all 4 runs on two swings of the bat, both being homers.

The Mets scored 3 runs on 8 hits which for them is an unbelievable offensive onslaught. David Wright even tallied his first RBI of August with a game tying home run in the top of the 8th. While the Mets had opportunities to score more runs, squeezing out 3 runs against a horrid Astros offense should be enough to win for a top pitcher like Santana.

Instead the dream of a series sweep and igniting some energy into the ball club is flushed away and replaced by a familiar sub .500 feeling.

Again, it's one bad inning from Santana that put the Mets behind the eight ball and unable to notch the win. Off the top of my head I can recall at least 5 starts in which this issue has plagued Santana and all of them ended in Mets losses. And so the pain continues.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Already Looking Forward to 2011 Mets

The hope of success in 2010 is gone. You can watch the Mets games if you enjoy pain and disappointment, but I'm already thinking about 2011.

For some reason, I think 2011 has the potential to be interesting. Sure, that's what every Mets fan says about the next season, but for once the cards might fall in the Mets favor. The Mets have some truly awful contracts on the books next year, but even with those abysmal deals there's a silver lining.

First off it's a contract year for Beltran & KRod. Beltran will be playing for his last major payday and nothing is a motivator like the almighty dollar. Having an awful comeback in 2010, I believe Beltran will have a big year as he woos the Mets and other teams into giving him a few more dollars and years to add to his quiver. KRod has been lights out of late. In 2011 he'll put his personal issues to rest and like Beltran be on a quest for another big time paycheck.

Secondly, it's Jason Bay's second year. In 2005, Carlos Beltran was awful. He did nothing for most of the year after coming from small markets in Kansas City and Houston the year before. In 2006, Beltran broke out in a major way and we got to see the player we hoped we'd have. I honestly believe the same will come true for Jason Bay. Playing in New York is a major adjustment. Concussion aside, Bay will be ready in 2011. He's a guy that works hard and plays hard, and his sophomore season should be a significant improvement.

Lastly, the kids are going to grow up. Jon Niese is turning into a really solid middle of the rotation pitcher. Ike Davis will have been through his rookie slumps and be ready to start the season as the everyday first baseman. Tejada will play winter ball and develop his swing. Who knows what Kirk Nieuwenhuis will do if given the chance to perform?

All of this and I haven't mentioned Johan Santana, David Wright or Jose Reyes. Sure there are negatives like what's the deal with Mike Pelfrey, what do you do with Oliver Perez/John Maine, and how do you solve a problem like Luis Castillo? But for now there's hope. It's something to look forward to.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Almost Perfect Dickey

Cole Hamels was the lone blemish against Comeback Player of the Year candidate, RA Dickey, last night. It just figures that a pitcher would get a hit to blow the Mets chance at their first no hitter in team history. 

Dickey commented after the game that he could have blamed Jeff Francoeur for not throwing Hamels out at first, but decided to push through and finish the game. Not only has Dickey proven to be a tremendous asset on the mound, but his comments after the game are made for the New York media.

Dickey followed Santana's lead and came out with the goal of finishing the game and leaving no room for any bullpen drama. I don't think I can imagine how horrible this season would be without Dickey. It's bad enough the way the Mets have played over the last month, but with another question mark in the rotation we would have derailed back in May. Dickey should have 10+ wins by now and is pitching well enough to be considered the #2 starter in the rotation.

For the first time since June, the Mets finally won back to back games. Of course we have Pat Misch on the mound today against Roy Halladay so enjoy the feeling while it lasts.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Johan Santana is Underappreciated

In a 24 hour span the Mets went from winning back-to-back games for the first time in months to utter disappointment to pure chaos and criminal charges to back to baseball. The reason for this turnaround is one man: Johan Santana.

We don't fully appreciate what we have in Johan Santana. You think I'm being hyperbolic? Remember earlier this year when you were making the statement that Pelfrey was really the #1 starter because Santana was on the decline? Remember when you talked about how if the Mets got another top notch starter they would be the #1 starter and Santana would be 1a. Remember when you thought Santana's best days were past him?

I do and I was wrong.

Johan Santana has the best winning percentage after the All Star break than any other active pitcher. We know he's a second half stud, yet we want to write him off when he doesn't perform well in April. Sure he's had some horrific starts that are inexcusable from a #1 starter, but the body of work that Santana has produced in a Mets uniform should be legendary. But it's not.

The Mets have a 15-20 game winner for the last three seasons, but the lack of run support and bullpen implosions have prevented Santana from being that perennial Cy Young contender. His ability to acknowledge situations where he knows he needs to dominate for the good of the team is unparalleled and he rarely lets us down.

Before yesterday's game he approached Jerry Manuel and said, "Don't bother coming out to get me today." That's a guy who knows what he needs to do for his team to win. With the circus of KRod, the devastating loss the night before and the early game to be played, Santana put this team on his back and carried them to victory.

He's done this before. He'll do it again. Don't let the side show that has become this Mets team blind you from the fact that we have one of the best pitchers in the game on our side.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Mets Will Drive You Mad, Just Ask K-Rod

The Mets will drive you absolutely insane. To call Wednesday night's loss devastating sadly sounds so repititve that you might as well just call it another Wednesday in Flushing. While I mildly resort to tossing remotes and pillows, the Mets have made KRod so frustrated that he's throwing his father-in-law around.

After Tuesday night's loss (yawn), KRod was asked by reporters how he felt about not getting called into the game in the tense 8th inning when the Mets were desperately trying to hold onto the lead. Silly reporters. Don't they know the outcome would probably have been the same if the Mets brought in KRod? Some people never learn.

In any case, KRod erupted, unlike the Mets bats, and went on a tirade basically telling the reporters to get out of his way. I had hoped he was hunting for Jerry Manuel's head, but instead the decent guy that KRod is took his frustrations out on his in-laws. But before we jump to conclusions, maybe his father-in-law deserved it? Doesn't make it right, but hey...

Oh KRod. It was only a matter of time before the losing, disappointment, sadness, apathy and vile circus that has become the New York Mets finally sent someone over the edge. Let this be a lesson to family members of Mets Lifers out there. Stay away after a bad basically come see us in October when it's all over.

It's amazing how in the span of an hour the Mets can go from a potentially great win and opportunity to sweep a series to utter implosion that ultimately results in physical blows. That's the effect of Mets baseball.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trying to Stay Positive as a Mets Fan

Last night's game was a great pitching performance all around, but it's hard to get excited about Mets baseball after last week's let down and a serious lack of wins since the All Star break. However, I'm trying to look at the glass half full and find a few things to stay positive about at least for today:
  • Mike Pelfrey looked fantastic on the mound...his pitching was good too.
  • The Mets haven't lost a game in two consecutive days.
  • All winning streaks start with 1 win.
  • The Rockies are a team that's worse with runners in scoring position than the Mets.
  • Pray Rod has pitched consecutive 1-2-3 9th innings his last two starts and pigs are flying over NYC.
  • Jeff Francoeur is unbelievably consistent...he swings at every first pitch.
  • The Phillies got spanked.
  • Yesterday's starting lineup consisted of 8 players who came up in the Mets farm system.
  • The Mets are finally starting to man up and sit players who can't perform regardless of contract size.
 The last point is my favorite. It's about time the Mets starting putting the play on the field as the preeminent indicator of who deserves to be marched out there every day. If that means the kids play, so be it. It's signings like Castillo, Perez and Cora that have put us in a bind the last two seasons with injuries and inconsistencies.

I welcome the chance for the kids from the farm to see what they can do. This year is done for the New York Mets so let's start planning the right way for the future.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Vicious Mets Win Cycle

History show us the Mets are by and large a streaky baseball team. They have ups. They have downs. But like the economy there seems to be a cycle to this madness.

The good news is that given time the team usually finds a way to climb out of the hole they find themselves in. The bad news...well, there's lots of it.

According to the cycle outlined in the chart above the Mets are smack in the midst of their decline. The sad part is they're plummeting at a faster pace than previous downturns and it usually takes a good 3-4 years before there's a recovery back to the top of the food chain.

Every team has it's skids, but the last 4 seasons, starting with Yadier Molina's home run, have ushered in what is arguable 4 of the most painful seasons in modern baseball history.

And history shows the potential for more to come.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

One Run Games Are Mets Kryptonite

The Mets are 14-22 in one run games this year. That's 36 games decided by a single run. Sunday was no exception. The Mets battled back against arguably the best pitcher in the National League in Roy Halladay but leave Philly with nothing to show for it.

When the Phils knocked out Dickey with a 6-2 lead I could have sworn that was it. Halladay would cruise to victory. But like the Mets often do, they teased you enough to keep you interested only to ultimately come up short in the end.

The Mets record in one run games is a microcosm of their season and the last few years. They can't seem to get that one big hit when they need it. And in the 7th inning when Beltran came up with runners on 1st and 2nd I was actually hoping they'd pinch hit for him because Beltran looks as bad as Castillo at the plate.

Another road series loss. Another series loss to the NL East. Another disappointing weekend of Mets baseball.

Welcome back to the feelings of 2009. Until the Mets can find players that are able to have some semblance of clutchness, we're going to see a lot more of these 1 run losses.

On a side note, big kudos to the bullpen who were in total lockdown for a change, but yet again one massively bad inning from a starting pitcher ruins what should have been a good baseball game.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ruben Tejada Knotches His First Save

Johan Santana pitched most of the game in masterful fashion. Jeff Francoeur was the lone player to drive in a run. Pray Rod amazingly pitched for 5 outs without giving up a run. But Ruben Tejada is the one who saved the game for the Mets.

The recently called up babyface second baseman went 0 for 4 on the night. In fact, he'll probably hit a shade over the Mendoza line for the rest of the season, but he proved what a liability the Mets had at second base with Castillo and Cora.

Tejada made three separate plays tonight that drastically affected the outcome of the game. All three of these of the plays would have been impossible for Castillo or Cora to make because of their lack of quickness. But Tejada has the agility, the speed and the youthful ignorance to be able to make some amazing plays in the field.

Tejada was able to save the Mets from back to back crushing defeats not with the bat, but with his glove, or more specifically his young legs. So long Alex Cora. You're a great character guy, but character doesn't get you W's. Castillo, you're on notice.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Gut Punching Entertainment

Just when you think you can't sink any lower, the Mets find a way. The Mets teased their way to a 2-1 lead behind a solid performance by Jon Niese only to have the rug pulled out from under them by Bobby Parnell and the bullpen as they gave up a 6 spot in the bottom of the 8th.

A nice bounce back performance in hostile territory is now replaced by an epic fail. But such is the way of the Mets. In the 9th inning the Mets score 3 runs they could have used earlier in the game only to fall short. Typical Mets. Dangle a carrot, then slap you with the stick on which it hangs.

There is no hope for 2010. There hasn't been hope since a Johan Santana pitched game at the end of September 2008. And even the year before that was nothing but delayed psychological torture for Mets fans.

The Mets might very well win tomorrow, but don't be fooled. There's a kidney punch lingering in the shadows.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pelfrey's Epic Fail

Mike Pelfrey is unraveling before our very eyes. During Wednesday night's matchup with the Braves, Pelfrey came undone and every Mets Lifer knew it was over. You could just tell that once Pelfrey got into trouble and some ridiculous errors forced him into a tough spot that Pelfrey would not man-up and grind out a gritty inning like Dickey, but rather come unglued and bring his team along with him.

There's plenty of blame to go around. Mets didn't get hits with runners in scoring position. Ridiculous errors extended innings when they should have been over. But I'm sorry. Pelfrey is the goat of this one. In what was potentially his biggest start of the season and coming off a gutsy comeback win yesterday, Pelfrey crumbled under the pressure.

He's become almost as unreliable as Oliver Perez. What? Pelfrey has 10 wins you say? Yes, he does but since he got win #10, Pelfrey has reverted back to the timid, unstable and inconsistent pitcher that he was last year. How on earth does Jon Niese, a rookie pitcher, have more poise and control than Pelfrey?

The Mets lost two out of three from the Braves. Their play throughout the three games was lacking the intensity and focus that you would have hoped from a team with their season on the line. But the saddest thing was the paltry performances you received from your supposed top two pitchers in Santana and Pelfrey allowing the Braves to score runs early and dig holes your team would struggle to get out of.

Meanwhile, perennial journeyman R.A. Dickey, without his best stuff, manages to fight through 7 innings and put the Mets in position to try and win.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Frenchie's Monkey Finally Leaves Back

Jeff Francoeur has been abysmal this year. He's been relegated to bench warming duties and rightfully so. But last night, Frenchie finally had a moment in the sun and it couldn't have happened in a better situation.

Jeff Francoeur smacked an opposite field home run not only to help the Mets win a much needed game against the Braves, but he did it in the town he loves, against the team he thought he'd be with for his entire career, and off of the former Mets closer who let up so many game winning home runs when he was in Queens.

It was the ultimate form of sweet justice/revenge.

I don't know what was the bigger miracle. Frenchie hitting a home run or Pray Rod pitching a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth. I think I actually saw Pray Rod hit 94 mph on his fastball too.

But let's not get too excited about last night's win. Let's enjoy the moment and move on because a loss tonight put's us in the same position we were in just 24 hours earlier and would ruin the good feelings from yesterday's victory.

On the other hand a win would be some unbelievable momentum as the Mets head to Philly to phase a depleted Phillie lineup.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's Time Santana Took Some Blame

Johan Santana has been an exceptional pitcher. He doesn't get the run support he deserves for most of his time with the Mets. Some might argue that's been the case this year as well and you probably have a point, but for the last two starts Santana has been a let down in some key spots.

In what has been heralded by everyone as the biggest series of the year (myself included) who else would you want on the mound than your #1 guy, your big game pitcher, Johan Santana. And what does Santana do? He strikes out 11 batters. He's pitching out of jams. Oh yeah, but he forgot one thing: how to get out of the first inning.

There is nothing worse for the psyche of a ball club than being down early in a pivotal game. You're then forced to press situations the whole night. Yes, Hudson was good tonight as he has been against the Mets for most of his time with the Braves, but you see Hudson didn't put his team in a hole that they would have to spend 8 innings digging out of.

The Mets bats are awful right now. I won't argue that, but Santana was a huge letdown tonight. He got beat by two pitchers on Monday: Tim Hudson and Rick Ankiel. A loss on Tuesday and we'll start talking about 2011.

Mets Season on the Brink

I know how melodramatic this sounds, but there's absolute truth in it. This week will decide the direction of the Mets not just for this year, but well into the off season. The players status with the team is on the line. Manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya are on the line. And the Mets management direction for the coming years is on the line in this pivotal six game series with the Braves and Phillies.

Why so much drama? Well it's because the Mets are either heading in the wrong direction for the second straight year or putting up a fight to stay relevant into September.

The Mets have the unfortunate task of being put in this position on the road and starting off in the one destination that has plagued them for the last decade...Atlanta. The Mets may very well end the week 10+ games out of first and well out of wild card contention. If that happens, the rest of the season is just a formality. Jerry Manuel will be gone. Omar can back his bags. And players like Beltran, Castillo, Francoeur, and Perez should keep their phones handy as the Mets will more than likely look to break things up before the 2011 season begins.

On the other hand, if the Mets are able to put up a fight and gain some ground in the standings there's a stay of execution for the aforementioned Mets personnel and revival of hope in what remains of 2010.

But what if the Mets somehow escape this week with losing or gaining any ground in the standings? Honestly, I think that's close to impossible. The Mets will either implode as they have against the Diamondbacks or give us an improbably streak of wins like they did earlier this year.

The Mets are missing the infusion of youth that helped them put together 8 game win streaks earlier this season. Their lineup is mostly made up of what was expected, but along with it is the familiar feeling that most Mets had to start the season...low expectations.

A sweep of Atlanta would be like a Southern baptist tent revival for Mets fans with "ya gotta believe" as the chorus in our songbooks. A sweep by Atlanta will bring out the pitchforks and torches which are already quite handily accessible.

I want to believe. This team still has me watching every game, but Mets fans can only be strung along for so long. And I truly believe this week will break the Mets path in one of two directions. We have 6 games to see where it pans out.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Meet the Mets New Daddy

Embarrassing. Just embarrassing. The Mets are 6-12 against the Diamondbacks and Nationals this year. Pitiful. If they instead went 12-6, they'd potentially be a game out of first place.

You have to beat the teams you're supposed to beat. Now the Mets can prepare for the pivotal week of the season. If the Mets go 2-4 on their road trip through Atlanta and Philly, they'll find themselves potentailly 10+ games out of first and ready to usher in the end of the season.

Good thing football camps start this week.