Posted by Ernest Dove at 10:00 AM
So.....hey hey hey, the Amazin Mets, as of business day Thursday, have a 6 1/2 game lead with less than two weeks to go in the season. YAY !!!!!! Oh, wait, what, we're upset?
Well, the Metsies have made a recent habit the past week or so of winning an opening game of a series, and then proceed to fall flat the next two each time to lose every one. Are they terrible again? Is the bullpen now terrible? Has offense reverted back to Mid April offensive offense? Or are we all blowing this nonsense out of proportion out of fear for 2007-08?
Let's think about what has been happening the past two weeks. Yoenis Cespedes went from immediate toast of the town, with cries for a HUGE 7yr earned payday, to having a mini slump. A now HEALTY Travis d'Arnaud went through a dry spell, and Lucas Duda has still yet to come back to form since his latest DL stint. Add this with a bullpen of arms, overused or not, starting to leak and give up runs and what you have is a return of the residents of Panic City coming back out into the streets and brining out their signs of gloom and doom. But is it really time for a such a thing?
While on social media I came across a random persons tweet and decided to put in a few minutes of research to confirm, and here is what I got.
The mighty billion dollar payroll Los Angeles Dodgers, from 9/13/15 to 9/22/15 went 4-5. The soon to be 90 game winning Kansas City Royals, during the same span, went 3-6. The Houston Astros have won 3 of their last 10. But of course everyone is worried about the Washington Nationals who recent won 6 out of 7.......against the Marlins and Phillies. So what have we learned?
Well, a lot of playoff caliber teams are stinking up the joint towards this ending time of year. And their can be all kinds of different and various reasons. For the Mets these reasons can include a string of complacency, lack of hyped of motivation, or some maybe some downright over reliance on the long ball lately. However, no matter how you look at it the Mets have remained in first place, by a large number of games. And since the Nats quickly laid an egg to start the Orioles series, the Mets can obviously breath a huge sigh of relief then because the magic number went down a couple spots coming into Thursday's action with no negative change on their end. So let's get down to business.
There are concerns for Mets resting too many players, shuffling in too many different lineups and still somehow managing to overwork a particular small group of arms at the same time. It's like a version of spring training, with a little 'old faithful' thrown in as needed to end things. And lately this strategy doesn't seem to be working. But is it permanent? Is this now the Mets for the rest of the season and into the playoffs? (yes Mets fans, your team is still going to the playoffs, relax). We are now at a point where, rather than simply argue and complain about our lovable losers finishing under .500 again, we are now scattered across social media all upset about not looking like the World series team we should be, and that we can't look like this against the Dodgers to win that series. Well, last time I checked, the Mets haven't played any important October games in about a decade, so why be upset about what may or may not happened in the PLAYOFFS?
Let me go back to the idea of the resting arms issue. This is not a Terry Collins issue. This is not a Sandy Alderson issue. This is not a Scott Boras issue (wait, did I just say that?). This is a league wide issue.
My memory as always is poor these days, but I seem to recall a game recently against the Rockies in which the Mets were absolutely baffled by a very talented and young rookie arm. Only to then rally after said stud was removed from the game due to......wait for it.......innings restrictions. As far as I'm concerned the Mets were certainly destined to lose that game if such an arm was able to remain in the game a couple more innings. And I'm sure there are many others throughout the league doing the same thing. So, it is what it is. Yes, possibly through their own panic the Nats on Wednesday night had their ace get to about 120 pitches just to finish 7 in order to try and preserve a much needed win. But he is a VERY rich ace with a very sweet LONG term contract, and I'm sure he has no issues putting his arm to the test to help his ball club with no long issues or concerns.
What the Mets have in 2015 is exactly what we already knew they had, which is a group of young stud arms who were all going to be limited regardless of the team overall performance during the year. Guys like Colon, Niese and Dillon Gee (remember him) were supposed to group up together with Rafael Montero (memba him?) to eat innings, have spot starts, and ensure that pretty much none of the 4 horseman approach 200 innings this year. But, then the April 11 game win streak happened and yada yada yada all hell broke loose in Mets universe with how the team is handling the arms.
Regarding the bullpen, let's not forget that this team cycled through these guys like laundry all year. And guys like Reed, Clippard, Robles and Familia were not all going to keep throwing constant zeros night after night for the rest of the season. Now I myself have argued a bit about having guys like Clippard and Familia pitch in games with 4 run leads, but the in those particular cases the Mets were trying to ensure victory.
In the case of Matt Harvey, nobody wants him leaving after 5 innings, but he's not the only arm doing so, and their are plenty of young talented arms NOT coming off TJS who are also being removed from games.
Hey, did anyone read that cool story on the hippie type Blue Jays rookie who lives out of his van every spring while playing? Well I believe the other night he appeared in a Tigers uniform (after a trade) and pitched 5 hitless inning......you know, like a no hitter.......and with a low pitch count........hey, guess what, the team took him out of the game anyway. Such is life people.
He's what Mets fans can possibly be worried about. The lineup continues to be musical chairs, with many getting a chance to bat 2nd, 3rd and 4th recently. Any kind of combo with two of Wilmer ,Tejada, Johnson and Murph happen differently each night, and a succeeding Michael Conforto, strictly in a platoon, is also immediately the odd man out when EY Jr. is needed to pinch run or when Mets decide to bring in Lagares for defensive purposes late in games. It all seems confusing by when the Mets win everyone is happy. When they lose everyone complains about these moves. Whenever Kelly Johnson starts I CRY for Wilmer (see what I did there?). And then when Johnson randomly hits a homer and feel stupid. It's how things go from a fan perspective. But I believe things may still remain on course.
Yes, the team needs to be better. But this team stayed motivated, with Terry Collins hyping them up all along the way, through all the horrible times this year, and they now stand literally days away from popping champagne. So lets enjoy it.
Grandy is still getting on base at a solid clip. The captain is hitting. Tejada had another random multi hit game. Cuddyer, Johnson and Uribe continue to show flashes of brilliance off the bench, and Mr. Spark Plug himself EY Jr. seems to score a run every time he gets on base.
The Mets have gone through another lull in the long season. And as much as Mets fans want to compare it to collapses past, these are still lulls that some other teams are facing (anyone notice how the NL central got more interesting with Cards losing in bunches lately?).
Let's have faith in the Amazin's to pull through it again. Let's see how everything plays out. Let's see what happens when the division is clinched and the rotation is set. Let's see if Murph has another .400BA week upcoming, to go along with another homer surge from Cespedes, and see if Duda can finally get back on track.
And then playoffs can start and we can all go absolutely berserk on each and every play, pitch, swing for as long as it lasts ;)