NOTE: This was written before last night’s results were in, so my Mets Mood is a bit brighter today… but still.
FLUSHING, NY – The New York Mets currently hold a precarious one-game lead on the second of two wild card spots in a very pedestrian National League. As most of you now know, I am a born-again baseball fan, with the Mets as my favorite team. It’s not that I’m panicking but there is a very unsettling feeling in watching the Flushing Nine over the past few weeks, to the point where their 5-game deficit for first place in the NL East Division seems much larger. The recent three-game sweep at the hands of the division-leading Washington Nationals was difficult to watch and leads me to Mourn on the Fourth of July over the rest of 2016.
A lack of hitting and/or timely hitting, team speed, health and a serviceable roster will keep the Mets from the lofty heights to which they ascended last year. Being the hunted is much more difficult, even with one of the game’s premier starting pitching staffs. The Mets are on the verge of being an “all pitch, no stick team.” Substitute first baseman, James Loney, has been steady with professional at-bats and glove-saving throwing errors from around the infield. I’d argue that he should remain at first even upon the return of Lucas Duda to the active roster. Yoenis Cespedes and the smooth double play tandem of Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker have been the most consistent aspects of an otherwise underperforming roster.
The roster assembled by GM Sandy Alderson (we miss @AldersonFake and hope he’s okay) lacked foresight during the off-season, as David Wright and his crutches, neck brace and home-health aide couldn’t be counted on showing up to the ballpark on even semi-regular basis. There was no backup plan. If you call the addition of utility journeyman Kelly Johnson several weeks ago a stop-gap measure, attention should have been made sooner. Now come the tired legs (remember those recurrent hammy problems?) of former Met Jose Reyes, to pump life into a lifeless offense or take over at third base? For a team lacking speed, even Reyes’ 33-year-old legs can serve as a catalyst but again. That speaks volumes to what’s missing on this currently constituted squad and besides, he comes at the bargain basement price of less than $300K for the remainder of the season.
Juan Lagares returned last night and killed a rally with a pinch-hit double play ball. His return comes on the heels of the day-to-day status of .228-hitting lead-off man Curtis Granderson. My favorite Met, Michael Conforto, has been shown the way to AAA Las Vegas by management after an horrific struggle at the plate and up comes the equally green Brandon Nimmo. Who knows what to expect here as the unknown can only be better than what Alejandro De Aza (.158 and one strikeout every third at-bat) has given the team in the outfield.
The catching triumvirate of Travis d’Arnaud, Rene Rivera, and Kevin Plawecki is laughable with d’Arnaud the slugger at .225. Stats don’t lie as there are holes in the daily lineup, no matter the moveable parts on any given game day.
This team will sink or swim on the shoulders – or arms – of their starting pitching and Jeurys Familia. It’s way too much a burden to bare and unless there is a deal made for some instant offense – the same way Cespedes was brought in last year – brace yourselves, fellow Mets fans… it’s gonna be a frustrating summer.
P.s…We’re looking at July 10th for the MTM Staff outing at Belmont Racetrack. First race post-time is 1:30 pm. A rough head-count is needed for planning the event. Might be a good opportunity to meet the new additions to the team. Leave an RSVP in the comments section or via the Contact Us page. Looking forward to a nice turnout!