Just to quickly summarize how bad things have gotten for the Mets: Justin Turner is your only .300 hitter, Shaun Marcum and Jeremy Hefner can’t win, even on a good day, and there is even a Twitter feed dedicated to telling fans whether or not Ike Davis struck out. The drama over Jordany Valdespin’s showboating and subsequent plunking against the Pirates isn’t exactly helping things either.
The breaking point had to be when my dad texted me last night to apologize for making me a Mets fan. Anybody that knows me knows that I live for the Mets, and have since I was four years old. Baseball is my sport; I can’t exactly call myself a football fan or a hockey fan since I only casually follow the Jets and the Islanders. When baseball season is over, I count down the days until pitchers and catchers report and Opening Day is my Christmas morning.
The last six seasons have been bad, each in their own unique way, but this season has been atrocious. In their last 26 games, the Mets are 7-19. Despite this, the Mets are still a safe 4.5 games ahead of the Marlins for The Battle for Fourth. The only days I look forward to are the days that Matt Harvey pitches, and even those aren’t guaranteed wins anymore. Harvey is easily the best thing about the Mets this season and should stand with an 8-0 record right now, but doesn’t due to lack of run support.
There is no set every day outfield; even our newest Met, Rick Ankiel, is platooned in center with Juan Lagares, who should be playing every day based on defense alone. If the outfield doesn’t produce anything offensively, then they should at least play defense. The bullpen is worn out because aside from Harvey, none of the starters have been going seven innings. It’s the same recipe for disaster that we had in 2012, except the 2013 Mets have imploded quicker than expected.
Through all of this, I can’t help but laugh. I have to make sarcastic remarks on Twitter (if you don’t already follow me, follow me here) otherwise I’ll go insane. There’s no point in getting depressed about the Mets because you have to expect it from them by now. I still plan on going to Citi Field in July and enjoying all the stadium has to offer me because it’s a beautiful ballpark that I haven’t visited in over two years. I still listen to Howie and Josh on the FAN religiously because I enjoy the banter. Maybe the Mets will win a game or two and I will find a reason to be slightly more optimistic, but for right now, there’s no crying in baseball because you’ll miss it when it’s gone in October.
Yes, I just typed that.
Fans will always remember June 1, 2012 as the night history was made, the night a team with 35 one-hitters finally got their no-no.
The first no-hitter in franchise history doesn’t come without controversy, with some media speculating about whether or not Carlos Beltran’s ground ball in the sixth inning went foul. But that’s just how the Mets roll. That ball will always be foul in the minds of the believers.
The first no-hitter in franchise history didn’t come without heroics as Mike Baxter slammed into the wall, robbing Yadier Molina of what should have been an extra-base hit. Mike Baxter goes down as a hero in the minds of the believers.
The first no-hitter in franchise history didn’t come without the superstition, fans believing that any move that they made would break the no-hitter. For me, I didn’t leave work until the game was over. I was afraid that if I left, the no-no bid would be gone. I didn’t even watch the game, because if I turned it on in the middle, the first thing I would have seen was Yadier Molina getting that extra-base hit to end the no-hit bid. That, and I was, you know, at work.
But the first no-hitter in franchise history did come with something. It provided Citi Field with its own little piece of history. Something happened at Citi Field that had never happened at Shea. The no-hitter provided Mets fans with their first really good memories of Citi Field, whether you were there or not, whether or not you even watched the game. No longer is Citi Field a really fancy upgrade from Shea Stadium that pays tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Citi Field is a home, a sacred land where history was made.
In their 51st season and in their 8,020th game, the Mets have finally given a younger generation of Mets fans something to smile about.
There is no question that David Wright is the star of this Mets organization. We are at the quarter stretch and Wright leads the majors in batting average (.405). Along with a .500 on-base percentage and .628 slugging percentage, David Wright is the living, breathing version of Moneyball that sabermetricians can point to and say, “He is helping the team win games by getting on base and creating runs.”
It’s no secret that Wright is in the sixth year of his six year, $55 million contract. Wright stands to make $15 million this year and has a $16 million team option for the 2013 season, which Wright can choose to void if he gets traded (I shudder at the thought).
During last night’s 11-5 loss to the Padres, Mets GM Sandy Alderson visited Gary Cohen and Ron Darling in the broadcast booth and said that there was “no great impediment” to signing Wright to an extension.
I agree and disagree. Sure, David has gotten off to the best start of his career. But we don’t know how the season’s going to end. We don’t know how 2013 is going to go. He could get hurt, he could have a bad season, he could get traded for all we know. Time is certainly on Sandy Alderson’s side if he wants to wait things out and see how well David performs.
I disagree with Alderson’s take on Wright’s contract situation only because I think a lot of fans are still reeling over the loss of Jose Reyes. Jose won the organization’s first batting title and then, depending on who you believe, was either made an offer that the Marlins beat or wasn’t offered anything at all except for the salary arbitration that guaranteed the Mets their draft pick. Or he just wasn’t offered anything. Again, that depends on who you believe. Alderson took the same, layed back approach with Jose’s contract situation that he seems to be taking with Wright’s and Jose ended up signing with another team, a divisional rival no less.
David Wright, love him or hate him, is the face of the organization. David Wright, love him or hate him, is the only player on the current Mets roster that I can see being a “career Met.” Tom Seaver didn’t do it. Dwight Gooden didn’t do it. Darryl Strawberry didn’t do it. All the players that are considered franchise greats either moved on from the Mets or were acquired from another team. David Wright is the one player that can not only be a career Met, but can also be considered a Mets great. And I would like to hope that Mr. Alderson would think that there was a little more impediment about Wright’s contract situation than he says there is.
Terry Collins said in his pregame news conference that Ike Davis will not be demoted to AAA. Instead, Collins says, Ike will work out his problems at the major league level. For the time being, Collins says he will use Davis based on match-ups.
Ike’s numbers at the quarter stretch would justify demotion if Terry Collins had decided to go that route.
So far this season, Ike is hitting just a .159 and has a paltry .213 on-base percentage. However, Ike does lead the team in home runs (5) and has 15 RBI. To put things into perspective, Ike is 8-for-64 in the month of May and has two hits in his last 36 at-bats. Oh, and his batting average at Citi Field is .065. That’s two, maybe three, hits.
Even though Terry Collins is preaching patience at the plate, I don’t think Ike is practicing it. He has 10 walks to 44 strikeouts. If he does that for the rest of season, he’ll be on track for 40 walks and 176 strikeouts, give or take a few. Sure, Ike has players hitting around him like David Wright and Daniel Murphy, but even they might begin to see less pitches if Ike continues to struggle.
Collins has stated that his reason for not sending Ike to the minors is because he doesn’t think Ike will learn to adjust. He believes Ike will turn it around, as he has seen Ike become more aggressive during batting practice. I have to admit, this past week, it does encourage me to see Ike pull the ball into the outfield, even if it lands in the outfielder’s glove. It means that he’s at least getting good pitches to swing at. We signed Ike Davis to be a home run hitter, not a base hit up the middle kind of guy. But any fan would be happy to see a base hit up the middle from this guy.
I don’t know how much of Ike’s struggles can be blamed on the valley fever he seemingly contracted (and still has?) but ever since he was diagnosed, I haven’t heard a peep about the valley fever. I’m not sure if I entirely know what valley fever is.
I think another reason for Terry Collins deciding against demotion at this time is the organization’s lack of depth. Jason Bay, Ruben Tejada and Josh Thole are all still on the disabled list. To demote Ike would meaning shifting Murphy or Justin Turner to first and promoting Jordany Valdespin to play second. There really is no one else to play first base, unless the Mets have marveled science and David Wright can play two positions at once.
The person who is the most frustrated with the situation at hand is Ike Davis. He was the hottest hitter coming out of spring training and then it all went away. Ike just needs to calm down, watch some video, and figure what he did then that he wasn’t doing now. Oh, and flip over the dugout and make a catch. He still has that going for him.
David Wright is off to a hot start, there’s no denying that. His .571 average and 1.473 OPS over the first six games have him on track for another solid year in the three-hole of the Mets lineup. However, in the midst of their 4-0 start, the Mets got some startling news: “David Wright fractured his pinky.”
Wright had x-rays done and was cleared for baseball activity as tolerated. Wright said that while the pain had subsided, he couldn’t properly grip the bat. He was scratched from the next two games and there was even talk of a stint on the disabled list if the swelling on his pinky didn’t go down.
Then the talk started:
Wright’s just being a wuss.
If this was high school or collegiate baseball, the coach would have told him to tape his fingers together and suck it up.
Wright’s a pussy. (That one was my personal favorite)
The Daily News even contributed a piece on Wright’s extension being dependent on his health, even though before the 2009 concussion, Wright was averaging 158-159 games per season. Wright’s missing bat was obviously felt on the team, because they lost the next two games.
Luckily for those Mets fans holding their breaths, Wright returned to the Mets lineup just in time to face the Phillies. The first pitch Wright saw against Cliff Lee cleared the center field fence.
Then the talk started:
Wright’s a beast.
What pinky problems?
I love you David! (Okay, this might have been me)
A similar situation happened not two days after David Wright made his return to the lineup. Word came across the Mets wire that Jason Bay had jammed his ring finger sliding back into first base in Saturday’s game against the Phillies. Bay was scratched from Sunday’s lineup. Even though the Mets lost, that loss can be solely blamed on the bullpen.
I’m not the only Mets fan that believes Jason Bay has gotten off to a slow start. Actually, you should have yourself checked for concussion if you don’t think Jason Bay has gotten off to a slow start. 5-for-27 may not be the best way to win over Mets fans looking to have a decent season. But Bay had figured out his problems at the plate, and had hit his first home run of the season.
But there was no talk of Jason Bay being a wuss when he was scratched because of his ring finger. In fact, Mets fans seemed to be delighted that their weakest link was out of the lineup, even if that meant Lucas Duda coming in against the lefty Cole Hamels. Duda went 2-for-4 but Hamels ended up getting the win.
It doesn’t matter if the player is David Wright or Jason Bay, any loss in the Mets lineup is one that they can’t afford. The Mets lack the depth in their farm system to cover any long term injuries to the team. Who would we call up to replace Wright? Zach Lutz? Do we have Daniel Murphy play third and promote Jordany Valdespin from AA? Any player that would be in AAA in any other organization is already playing for the Mets.
Before you make a joke about someone jamming their middle while sliding back to first base, think about the lack of depth in the organization and realize that if it’s Josh Thole that gets hurt, then Mike Nickeas is the starting catcher.
Jason Bay can’t hit the ball to save his life. David Wright fractured his pinky, jeopardizing Terry Collins’ plan to keep Daniel Murphy at second base. Dillon Gee hasn’t shaved his Brian Wilson-esque beard. Perhaps most worrying for the Mets is that in two starts, they’ve scored zero runs for Johan Santana.
Sure, they won on Opening Day…but the run came after Santana came out of the game. Yesterday, the Mets didn’t even score a run after they went to bullpen. On Opening Day, the Mets shut out the Braves. Yesterday, Johan only allowed one earned run. Am I missing something here? Did Santana not come back after 16 months and we have a new guy pitching who says his name is Johan Santana?
But this is nothing new for the Mets. Type in “Johan Santana run support” into any search engine, and one is bombarded with news items about Johan Santana from 2009 and 2010 about how he doesn’t get any run support. One story from yesteryear called him the “Unluckiest Pitcher in Baseball.” It’s not a stretch.
Take into consideration our divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies. You can pretty much count on Roy Halladay going out there every time and notch another quality start into his belt. In reality, the Phillies only have to score one more run than the other team and maybe tack on an insurance run or two to prevent the other team from coimng back. It has been the Mets’ experience that not only does Halladay shut them down, but the offense tacks on one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN runs for Halladay.
I can’t comment on the atmosphere of the Mets clubhouse, but part of me wonders if when Santana’s pitching, the hitters feel like they can be lax in their jobs. I’m not saying that having the stability of Johan Santana is a bad thing; the hitters take for granted that Santana is going to go out there and shut down the opponent and strike out 10 or 11 batters. I am worried about R.A. Dickey in this same fashion. Dating back to last year, Dickey has 13 straight quality starts. What’s to prevent Ike Davis from saying, “R.A. won’t let off more than three runs. I can chill” or “We have Johan freaking Santana. I can chill.”
Baseball is a two way street. Just as the pitchers have to pitch well, the hitters have to hit the ball. If Johan pitches well, isn’t entitled to more than three runs of support per start over the course of 25-30 starts?
With the start of Spring Training in only 22 days, most Met fans (myself included) don’t see the Mets going anywhere past the cellar. And something would have had to gone right if they ever finished in fourth place. Third place would be quite the anomaly. Second place would be a miracle. First place would send an entire fanbase into cardiac arrest. A helluva lot of things would have had to gone right for this team to actually contend with the Braves and the Phillies.
But just because we had the 27th best offseason (or 4th worst, depending on how you look at things), it doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to speak proudly of. If freak collisions don’t happen and the entire team stays healthy, then we might actually win 80 games. But this time of year is reserved for such optimism. So lets count our blessings, shall we?
Johan Santana is back. This might be our biggest blessing of all. Nobody knows if he’ll be ready to pitch on Opening Day, or if he’ll even be the same Johan Santana. But that doesn’t matter. Remember, it could always be Mike Pelfrey on the mound during key starts. If Santana doesn’t pitch on Opening Day, I could see Terry Collins giving the ball to R.A. Dickey.
The Mets finally replaced their medical staff. The team finally changed things up in their medical staff after the last four seasons have come with a few too many injuries. The one I’m still trying to comprehend? How does Jason Bay miss half a season due to a concussion and David Wright misses only the 15 days?
Ike Davis is the second-best 1st baseman in the National League. With both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder departing their respective teams to go to the American League, the race for your All Star first baseman is a two-man race between Ike Davis and Joey Votto. Despite playing only 36 games for the Mets last season, MLB analysts still consider him better than 13 other guys.
David Wright and Jason Bay can’t get any worse, especially since the walls are moved in. Both Wright and Bay had the worst seasons of their careers last season. The Citi Field walls were moved in for their beenfit. You don’t spend money to move in the walls, and then trade the two players you’re helping. Unless you’re really hard up for money.
Bobby Parnell won’t be closing games for the Mets. With the additions of Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch, no need to put your 100 MPH fastballer into pressure situations. And no need to call him Bobby F’in Parnell. Because he won’t be in pressure situations.
The words “de facto ace” has left the Mets lexicon. There’s no more de facto anything in this Mets rotation and it couldn’t make me happier.
Hey, the payroll went down! With a loss of around $70 million last season, the Mets payroll is set to go from $142.8 million to $90.1 million. That’s a $52.7 million difference and all the math I’m willing to do. It’s also the largest drop in payroll ever. So, I guess we’re playing Moneyball. Right?
Hey, the team is still healthy, right? Right now, everybody’s ducks are in a row. We’ll see what happens in 22 days.
Keith Hernandez still has the best mustache in sports television. Enough said.
We may not have a lot to look forward to this season. But to be honest, I think changing our medical staff was the key move of the offseason. If a player is properly diagnosed during injury, then they can come back quicker and help win ball games. The Phillies, we are not. But their time to be in our shoes will come. Except without the whole part about the Ponzi scheme. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.
LGM. Ya Gotta Believe.
Then, I really thought about it. I had also read that if everything had gone in favor of the Mets, they could win 94 games. And the Mets need more help than the Jets did during that last game against the Dolphins.
But, Ted Berg admits that nothing ever goes right for the Mets and they don’t have a lot of flexibility for when it doesn’t go right.
Speaking realisitically, the Mets will be lucky if they win 70-75 games this season. I think most fans would deem a .500 effort a successful season by all means, even if we had to win one-lose one in order to do it.
But even though the Mets have gotten considerably worse compared to the rest of the division, it doesn’t mean that the bad guys still can’t play a few meaningful games. Just because the team has written themselves off before the season starts, it doesn’t mean that the guys on the field don’t have fight in them. Sure, it’s September and the season’s a crapshoot, but wouldn’t Mets fans love to be the team that knocks someone out of the playoffs for a change? Maybe even the Phillies? Or the Marlins?
But unfortunately, I am not Miss Cleo. None of us are…except for, well, Miss Cleo. We can’t predict how the season is going to go for the other teams within the division or the league. The Mets can only go out there and be the best team that they can be and not freaking give up in the middle of August when the team inevitably trades David Wright in order to save $16 million. Baseball doesn’t work that way.
I think the Mets can be that spolier team this season. They’re not gonna win 94 games, but hopefully, they can break some hearts along the way…as long as they’re not the hearts of their own fanbase.
It’s not over until there are no more playoff spots to be had. Until it’s mathematically impossible for the Mets to make the playoffs, I expect them to play their hardest. Is that so much to ask?
With 29 days until pitchers and catchers (and injured players) descend upon Port St. Lucie, ESPN’s Dave Schoenfield released his breakdown of the NL East and even though I’d like to say that he is wrong, yeah, he’s kind of not. But just because we’re destined for last place on paper, it doesn’t mean it has to be that way.
The Phillies and the Braves are obviously the top two teams in the division, between the Phillies having the most lethal 1-2 punch in baseball, and the Braves have their youth movement. To be honest, I’m looking forward to seeing what Freddie Freeman does this season. But, the Phillies are getting older, with 28-year-old Hunter Pence being the spring chicken of the group. I would love for age to finally get to the Phillies but it probably won’t. Age got to the Mets because they were too old. Now, age is nipping the Mets in the bud again because we’re too young and inexperienced.
It’s easy to look at the rosters of the other teams in NL East and see that the Marlins imporved the most this offseason, by signing Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle, and Heath Bell. Before signing those three guys, the Marlins had absolutely nothing to speak of except for Josh Johnson and Ramirez. Now, suddenly, they’re a contender to finish higher than last place. The Marlins had absolutely nothing left to play for except for dignity and they spoiled the Mets season two years in a row. The Marlins made their September games meaningful when there was nothing to play for; the Mets spoiled a season or two themselves but I wouldn’t have called any of the games they played last September “meaningful.”
It’s easy to forget about the Nationals sometimes because they’ve been off my radar for so long. But, with Davey Johnson, the Nationals improved as a team and finished in (le gasp!) third place. With the acquisition (and contract extension) of Gio Gonzalez, and the Prince Fielder rumors still spinning in D.C., it’s hard to see the Nationals budge. Especailly when they play the Mets. No, really. They’ve spent the last few seasons assembling their team of Met killers. It was only a matter of time before they became a better team than us. That, and we play them way too much in spring training. Like, it’s redonkculous.
Just because the odds are against the Mets, they don’t have to play to give into everybody’s rather low expectations of them. I’ve seen fans saying on Twitter that they think the team is only going to win 60-65 games. I, myself, said 70 but if we’re playing the teams in our division 18 times a year, then we may as well draw a curtain on the 2012 season. I’m not drawing the curtain on 2012 yet.
Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
It hasn’t even started and fans (myself included) are already looking to 2013, 2014, maybe even 2015. It’s hard to have faith in a team that the owner says he “hopes fans give a try.” But it’s also hard to not root for the Mets during the bad times. If you can’t deal with it, go root for the Yankees; they’re probably an easier team for fairweather fans to root for anyway.