Posted by Ernest Dove at 10:00 AM
Yup, I get it. Mets can't hit. We don't need any fancy new age metrics to tell us this team can't hit. They just fielded a team, against one of the two hottest pitchers in baseball, that included a cleanup hitter and a 5th hole hitter batting well under .200. And for tonight, I won't argue with decision to start the worst hitter on the 25 man roster tonight because Bartolo Colon has had success with Recker behind the plate, and I'm sure other teams (ok, one's with better MLB players surrounding them) would have probably done the exact same thing and started the guy tonight to get Bart back on track.
Anyway, this is all facts. Today I feel like looking beyond stats, and maybe go into the 'outside the box' theory of brainstorming, idea making and.....dart throwing. So let's talk swagger. Yup, my birthday is next week, and the word swagger is one I shouldn't really be using even before the new digit added this year. But I feel like I can attempt to make it relevant.
Despite the madness, chaos, and inept offense that surrounds Queens and Panic City, the team is for some crazy reason still only 3 games out of first. So why not just start talking positive thoughts, vibes, karma, prayer and/or wishful thinking here and talk progress. Any progress. So, here it goes. My attempt to put a positive spin on the 25 man roster and how to utilize it and its players to kick lift into this season.
RUN GRANDY RUN
It is what it is folks. He's our leadoff hitter. And you know what? He's been having a pretty darn good season this year. He was never expected to hit for average, so ignore what it says. Ignore the RBIs because, like I said, he's hitting leadoff. What he's doing is getting on, and hitting homers. Now, what I want is to add the speed.
Grandy can still run. We've seen it recently went he was all over the place, scooting around the bases in that extra inning nightmare with a happy ending. So that's what I want from Grandy to do his part to bringing the swagger back. I want Grandy running. I don't care if get's caught stealing a few times. We keep arguing that nobody can drive him in anyway, so why get upset if he gets picked off? Let him cause as much havoc as he possibly can. Make teams look at him way too much over there at first. Maybe make a few extra mistakes with a pitch or two because of it. Yeah, its not like our apparent number two hitter Tejada can hit many homers, but we can do is make contact. He can make contact the opposite way, and get that scooting Grandy over to third with less then two out.
GO WITH THE BEST YOU GOT
Talking 25 man (insert joke about Mets currently playing with 24 here), again, it is what it is. Here's what I want. When Travis d'Arnaud comes back, I want Kevin Plawecki to remain on this team. No, I don't want some silly play every other day-ish type nonsense that Terry Collins was doing with him the last time TDA came back, but I still want Plawecki, one of the most consistent hitters on the roster over the past 20 games, to still be here. Let the brain trust decide how often he plays, and to be honest, decide how often he can and will play first base in place of Lucas Duda. Yeah, I get it, he hasn't played any first base at this point in the majors, but he's apparently done it in the minors. And since we've already put him into the fire before he was ready this season, might as well do it again and get the uneasy feeling going again with the move, and see if it works.
TRUST THE ONES WHO GOT YOU HERE
The team is built on pitching, so why not let them pitch? If a starter/reliever is dominating, and his pitch count is very manageable, then why the heck take him out of a game? Don't give the opposing team a chance to breathe. Remember, swagger people. Think of it in terms of football. If you ran the ball three times, each time gaining over 5 yards. Then, gosh dangit run the ball again. And again, until they stop it.
Obviously it can't always work. And, as we saw with the Terry's decision to pinch hit for degrom with runners on base, sometimes you make those tough calls to trust your actual hitters to do the job. But im talking more about the situation like with Bartolo last night. Look, I didn't watch any kind of postgame, so maybe I'm an idiot and I'm writing this after a legit excuse was made as to why he was taken out with like 88 pitches after 8 innings. But, I feel like we've seen this too many times. Year after year, Terry struggles with keeping a guy in too long (hi bobby) but never seeming to worry about taking a guy out too early. I say, forget that. Guys dominating, and his turn is not coming up at bat, get em back out there to dominate for another inning. If a reliever comes in and gets 3 outs within 10-15 pitches, send him right back out there again. Anyone gets on base, yank em. He does it with starters, why not with relievers? As I've been saying for awhile now, the Mets can't worry about pitch/innings limits with their stud arms because there's a pretty good darn chance they're gonna have a long time to rest this year if their offense leads them out of the playoffs anyway, so go with what you got, pitch them while they're effective, and don't give these others teams a chance to break one off 'the other guy'.
SAY WHAT YOU MEAN, MEAN WHAT YOU SAY
Talking a little coaching and front office swagger here. It's time the Mets follow their own supposed philosophy. Since I've become involved with Macks Mets, the writers here have fully opened my eyes to minor league baseball. I'm now fully involved in the day to day happenings of the kiddies. And, over these recent years, I've started to pay attention to the talk coming out of the front office about how players, through their development in the minors, simply have to prove themselves, consistently, to move up. Usually, these past few years, these remarks have been about the stud pitches, and how all the fans and media want them at Citi Field, and the team is convincing everyone they're not ready. One thing they would point to is stats, consistency, and need to 'dominate' at the level first. Well, here we are towards end of July, and the Mets just fielded a team of guys hitting under .200. How is that possible?
Nope, time to show some authority. Time to start moving guys out. Yes, sounds harsh. Again, as I always say, I completely respect and admire everyone fighting to live their dream. However, it's a tough business, and these guys make more than I will ever make, so there has to be more accountability and more responsibility put on them to perform. Especially on a team that's supposed to be competing for the playoffs.
As usual, I'm an expert of nothing, and I have no idea who the Mets can go out and get, or could have already obtained, in place of guys like Soup, Mayberry, Cuddyer, Recker, Kirk, etc. I'm sure there's always somebody. Heck, apparently the Pirates are going with that third baseman nobody on the Mets wanted. Worth a shot, right? The point is that you can't strike fear into the opponent when they know that you are just 'going through the motions' and 'trying your best' with what you have, rather than having guys fight for their jobs daily like they're in the NFL and are on pretty much what amounts to yearly contracts.
I'm not saying I want guys fearing for their jobs every day. What I'm saying is that somebody has to be in charge here. And if changes need to be made, they need to be made. It's like supervisor 101 stuff here. Half this current 25 man can be sent down and continue earning paychecks anyway. And the veterans can always get a chance somewhere else. Sometimes change is good for both parties.
O CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN
Look, at this point, I don't care if he can play much or not. I just want the captain of my favorite team, and my favorite player overall, to be with the team. All this talk of hanging in LA for months on end 'working on his core' is not helping the 2015 Mets win ballgames. I have no idea if his presence helps the ballclub (I know reports always talk about the guys being happy to see him) but he is a leader, and he should be around the guys he has been leading for all these years.
TIME TO HAVE FUN AGAIN
What ever happened to the towel waving? Hey, they just got spanked by the Dodgers, and their stud third baseman Justin Turner. That reminds me, who's throwing pie into guys faces during those few and far between walk offs lately? Sandy kept making fun of us for being in panic city. Terry keeps talking about the idea of not giving up. So why does everyone seem to look like their dog just passed away all the time? It's become little league, where your facing a team with a kid throwing harder then your used to seeing, and everybody is scared to go up and look silly in front of their mothers. Your all grown men, playing a kids game, and making tons of money doing it. Go out there and have fun. Us fans aren't going anywhere. Yup, we are all bitching, moaning and complaining, but guess what, we are all still here, writing about the Mets, reading about the Mets and watching the Mets. So why not put on a bit of a show? This team can be feared. This team can throw out a Harvey, deGrom Thor in a 3 game series. Rather than just pray that the opponent doesn't get a run, in any running, thus 'ending the game already', lets turn the tables on the opponent. Lets steal, hit and run (I know we don't have team speed, but IT IS WHAT IT IS), do another squeeze play. Get thrown out at home again if need be. Try even more bunt for hits with Lagares....... (don't get me started again on wanting Duda to bunt the damn ball). Manufacture your own first run, and make the opponents feel as though the game is already over.
And, whatever you do, don't ever let up. If you're up one run in the 8th, do whatever you can to manufacture that extra run. Again, little league analogy. Just because your 'big kid' is awesome, it doesn't always mean you can simply put him in to pitch the 9th and the opposing team will stand there with bat in hand and do nothing with eyes closed until its over. Manufacture that 2-3 run lead. Then, the human victory cigar throwing 98-99mph filth can ice the game for ya.
Well, anyway, GO METS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
hopefully next week I'll be in port st lucie again, and will write about the A ball team. Let me know of any thoughts you have on that, who I should try to really stare out like a stalker throughout the game, etc.