LITTLE HAVANA, FL – Mets manager Terry Collins is now officially “on the clock.” The Mets’ 15-5 start was a nice little burst to begin the season, but it is fast becoming an albatross that this team will not be able to shake any time soon.
For the first time since 2008, the Mets created fan interest and something completely foreign to them-expectations. When a team has expectations of any kind, it will either rise to the occasion, and take it head on, or it will shrivel and withdraw under the weight of those expectations.
This mini-slide began when the Mets visited the ancient and decrepit Yankees in the Bronx ten days ago. The step up in class proved daunting. The Wiffleball field hard by River and 161st is very forgiving to the Bombers’ everyday lineup of fiftysomethings. Other than the Dark Knight Matt Harvey, the Mets wilted under the white hot glare of expectations and dropped 2 of 3.
Next stop was Miami where the Mets got great starting pitching but proceeded to again drop 2 of 3 in Little Havana. But the real test came this past weekend when the big bad defensively challenged Washington Nationals came to town for a 4 game set. The Mets responded the way a Terry Collins led team always responds. They dropped 3 of 4 with the sole victory being Harvey’s day.
This team still can’t hit. And they don’t catch the ball particularly well either other than CF Juan Lagares. The starting pitching and the sensational Jeurys Familia should keep them close to .500 all season but nothing more. There are gaping holes everywhere. With Collins at the helm and these issues remaining unresolved, I’m sticking to my “under” 84 win prediction set by the Books in Vegas.
Here’s the The Good, and The Bad so far:
Starting Pitching: The Mets rotation led by Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Bartolo Colon has been mostly brilliant. The key? They don’t walk ANYONE. Even Jon Niese and Dillon Gee have been very good.
Back end of the bullpen–Jeurys Familia: “Hi, I’m the most dominant closer in the game–have we met?” The Mets don’t need Mejia, Parnell or anyone else. Familia is awesome. Crazy hat guy Alex Torres has been sensational as well.
Lucas Duda has stopped hitting: He carried the lineup for the season’s first two weeks, but Lurch has become the same sullen overgrown child he is once again. On days when he’s hitting, Michael Cuddyer has a presence of a pro with his salt and pepper hair and track record. But he’s supposed to be a complementary piece-not the cleanup hitter. Curtis Granderson has become Ruben Tejada as a hitter.
David Wright-who? Yes, we know that the Captain doesn’t usually quit on his team until July or August, but this year is a bit different. He’s been out more than a month with a hammy issue that was supposed to sideline him for 2-3 weeks. Rather than rehabbing the fake shoulder injury that knocked him out last August, maybe an acknowledgement that he’ll soon be 33 would have made more sense and done something preventative for his latest ailment. The “shoulder injury” that was so severe it made him chase bad pitches all of 2014; the “shoulder injury” that forced him to bail last Summer when his team needed him didn’t even require offseason surgery? Hmmm. I’m not saying the “shoulder injury” was a convenient jump off point to excuse a horrific season likely signaling his rapid descent, but… well, actually I am saying that.
Defense: Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy need to each bat around .400 to justify their stone hands and presence in the lineup. They’re not. If Flores is going to hit like Tejada, you may as well play Tejada – who can at least provide average major league defense at SS. Stop the nonsense, by the way, of picking on Tejada’s bat. If the big names in this lineup did half of what they’re supposed to do, Tejada would be a non issue.
Terry Collins: please. You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.
Tune in tomorrow for a man that can stay here or go home because he’s that good – Angry