There Are No Words
Or at least, that’s close to the sound effect I used to decribe yesterday’s 8-3 loss to the Dodgers in the 12th inning. Some fans might go for an expletive-filled response. Some fans might just hang their heads in shame.
There’s really no straight answer as to why the Mets are doing so bad coming back after the All Star break. It’s very easy to blame the bullpen, with a major league-worst 5.05 ERA. It’s very easy to blame the starters, whose combined ERA was 3.96 before the break and is 6.36 after the break. It’s very easy to blame the offense, who went 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position yesterday.
The consistent Achilles heel, however, has been the Mets bullpen, which ranks seond in the major leagues with 16 blown saves. You know that Terry Collins is desperate as a manager when he uses R.A. Dickey to pitch an inning of releif, and he still gives up two runs. The starting rotation had to be good and go deep into games because the Mets never knew what they were going to get from the bullpen.
Even the starters are struggling post-All Star break, with two huge vacancies in the rotation left by Johan Santana and Dillon Gee. Santana was placed on the 15-day Disabled List with an ankle injury that was causing him not to land properly and put extra stress on his arm. Gee was placed on the DL after an arterial blood clot was discovered in his right shoulder. Gee had successful surgery to widen the artery in his shoulder. It’s highly likely that Gee misses the remainder of the season. It has been announced that Jeremy Hefner will start on Wednesday while top pitching prospect Matt Harvey will make his major league debut on Thursday.
The offense, at best, has been streaky for the Mets. They’re either there or they’re not. While they have been their best when there are two outs in the inning, scoring a major league-best 198 runs in two out situations, they are stranding too many runners on the base paths and taking perfectly hittable pitches for strikes.
It has always been my personal opinion that when somebody is hitting the ball, you put them in the lineup. I understand the whole righty-lefty situational offense, but if you put Jordany Valdespin in to pinch hit, and he hits a home run, then it’s my opinion that he gets put in the starting lineup the next day, whether you have Jason Bay or not. If Daniel Murphy goes 4-for-5 one day, then I expect him to be in the lineup the next day. And if a lefty is pitching, Scott Hairston should always be in the lineup.
Call it an annual second half slide, go ahead, because that’s what it is. I wish I could say things will get better, but I’m not a crystal ball. I can only watch with the rest of you and cheer for my team, good times or bad.