Game 70 - The Clown Car Calling Themselves the New York Mets
Twins 6, Mets 2
See if this formula seems about right for the Mets of June 2007:
1. Score early.
2. Starter fades.
3. Squander opportunities to score.
4. Bullpen implodes.
5. Hitting decreases with every passing inning (1-2-3 ninth is a given)
Really, to me, the only question is whether, at the end of this month, the Mets will have compiled enough L's to have one pasted to each player's forehead. I suppose I'd complain just as loudly if the Mets were finding new and creative ways to lose ballgames, but seeing every defeat coming down Main Street is agonizing.
Last night the Mets tipped yet another cap to yet another mediocre pitcher, this time the Twins' Scott Baker (he of the 7.33 ERA entering the game). Meanwhile, Ollie Perez was C+ Ollie Perez, issuing too many free passes and surrendering a key tater to Torii Hunter after a bad two-out walk. His undoing, however, was exponentially worsened by the "pitchers who don't start ballgames." It's hardly appropriate to call them "relief" any more. Joe Smith was workmanlike in his 0.0 IP/1 H/1 BB/2 ER stint that closed the book on Ollie (after adding a run to his line), and you have to admire the German efficiency of Scott Schoeneweis, who escorted a pair of inherited runners plateward on his very first pitch. I'm growing weary of slagging these guys, but they don't seem tired of taking it.
Another series loss. Another series where the Mets won the first game, then dropped the last two. (That's three of the past four series where that happened; the only aberration was a sweep in L.A.) Keep on truckin'...
And really, I think the worst thing is how this is affecting the players -- not merely in morale, but in their play. Patience at the plate is a thing of the past. Everyone seems to be trying to end the skid with one at-bat. Walks and manufacturing a run are unheard of these days. And the pressing at the plate seems to be carrying over to the field. The defense is a far cry from the crisp crew that manned the diamond in April & May. (The difference between the speedy defensive wizards manning LF for the Twins and the "slow & steady" ball-fetchers in the same spot for the Mets proved costly again last night.)
It's all just peachy at Shea Stadium -- where the Mets are now 18-18.
The only thing going for the Mets right now is that their opponents in the division seem to be sleepwalking at nearly the same pace. There's no reasonable way the Mets are still in first place. It's extremely fortunate, though I wonder how falling out of first might affect the team psyche. Would they collapse entirely? Would they get angry and start fighting for wins? Would it make any difference at all? Hey, it doesn't make any sense when I play 18 with vastly more proficient golfers and their game seems to erode down to my level in many instances. Something about knowing you can coast with less takes all of the concentration out of the equation. Not saying I want the Braves and Phils to win, of course. Just wondering aloud.
As the desperation in the Township reaches new depths, here's the latest preposterous notion of what's going to turn the club around: today is the first day of summer. It's a new season for the Mets, sort of, so turn over the leaf that was the end of spring and let's play some baseball. Next stop: the personal boycott, if only so I can stop watching this mess and trying to make any sense of it.