Monday, August 13, 2007

The Go-Betweens

Game 117 - Mets

Mets 10, Marlins 4
Record: 65-52

Here's the current state of the Mets if you believe the vast majority of commentors on the various Metboards:

- The bullpen is absolute wreckage; Mota needs to be cut today, Heilman cannot be trusted, Shonwice [sic] is AA material, and everyone else is poor, except Wagner -- who is even shaky at key moments and has allegiances to Philly

- Starting pitching is fair at best; Perez and Maine are getting tired and can't handle the full season, El Duque is 58 and can't make it down the stretch, and neither Brian Lawrence nor Jorge Sosa would get the ball on a real contender (oh, and Tom Glavine was washed up for good a few weeks ago)

- Delgado will never fully find his swing; he's done

- Beltran is a nancy-boy who was a colossal waste of money; he nurses injuries more frequently than . . . nurses -- oh, and he could not hit a curveball if his life depended on it

- Lo Duca has no worth to the team because he doesn't hit for power, and that divorce/gambling/being Italian thing really hurt him

- Shawn Green is beyond help; he should be cut yesterday at the latest -- and definitely before Yom Kippur

- Alou is decrepit -- always hurt, bad in the outfield, slow around the bases, and medioc-- what? he hit two home runs yesterday? ALOUUUUUU RUUUUULES!!!!

- David Wright and Jose Reyes are gods without parallel

- We really miss Sanchez/Gomez/Chavez/Valentin/Padilla/Piazza/Franco/Jeff Kent/Ed Kranepool/Bobby V/Davey Johnson/Gil Hodges/Casey Stengel

- Willie needs to be sacked immediately; he makes all of the wrong lineup, bullpen, and in-game decisions; he is an idiot of epic proportions and doesn't even know when to argue

- Omar soiled the bed by not going out and getting that unnamed/named savior of a player; without a starting pitcher/corner OF/reliever/better mascot the Mets are doomed

- 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place . . . unless the Marlins go on a tear . . .

Here's the current state of the Mets if you believe Willie & Omar:

- The bullpen has had a few lapses, but we're really confident in the corps of guys we've got down there; can't say enough about the job Wagner's done, and the others will pull it together down the stretch

- The rotation has really found itself over the last month; Maine & Perez have had the troublesome outing or two, but their bodies of work are impressive otherwise; can't say enough about Tom Glavine's year, and El Duque is rock solid; that fifth spot has been filled nicely when we've asked guys to; oh, and Pedro only allowed 11 ER in A-ball last week

- Delgado is back

- Beltran has had a few bad breaks, but he's still part of the core of this club

- The catcher spot has had a few bad breaks, but we really like that throw Mike DiFelice made last game

- Shawn Green has had a few hits not fall in, but he's still a better option than Milledge -- in places other than statistics

- Alou has had some bad breaks this year, but did you see him Sunday?

- David Wright and Jose Reyes are pretty good for us; if only we could find a spot for David Wright in the lineup

- Luis Castillo brings a veteran presence to 2B that badly needed it -- hey, there's no I in "team," nor is there an O, P, or S

- We're still in first place

The truth, as always, lies somewhere in between.

There is, of course, some truth to what the "stay positive" management issues to the press, but it all seems fairly rose-colored. It's not time to panic, but it may be time to get pissed off. Everyone from Buster Olney to Gary Cohen to . . . me . . . has noticed that the Met Machine has a couple of kinks in the works; it's been hard to put a finger on it, exactly, but this team is running at about 75-80% of capacity most of the time these days. The Phils and friggin' Braves are not the woeful clubs that fell back early last year and made it easy, but nor is this the club that put it into overdrive and got it done. Still, the Mets are indeed in first, and there's enough talent here that if the loose ends can be battened down, this ship may still fly. (Hey, we've got issues of our own here at MLC, mind you.)

There's also some truth amid the Chicken Littles and dime-a-dozen clowns who populate the message boards -- the Township's stepchildren. Most of the time you can tell which way the wind is blowing in Metville from their comments -- that millisecond, of course, without any perspective, historical basis, or sense of the 162-game season. On occasion, however, the comments hit home with some very harsh assessments of this team. There are holes in the club, make no mistake -- but they're rarely the unsalvageable kind that are depicted so eloquently on a nightly basis in the blogosphere's equivalent of "down at the docks." (They are right about Wright & Reyes, though.)

We the blogging intelligentsia aren't immune to either trend; though we might stray towards the jumpy end of the bar (look, following 162 games all too closely will do that to you), we're also capable of willfully planting our heads in the sand and wishing away the flaws that could ruin our autumns. By and large, however, we're the rational, measured, and yet brutally honest assessors of what goes on in MetLand from Saint Patrick to Chris Columbus.

This isn't meant as self-promotion; rather, it's a plea for anyone in Metbloggers' galoshes to trust himself or herself and take the words of those too close to the club or too far from sensibility with many grains of salt.

We're nearing the 3/4 mark of the season. A million miles past "it's still early," though there's still "lotta ball left," as my little friend might say. We know our teams very, very well by this point. Our collective gut will guide us, and let not Willie Randolph nor "crazeemetdude31" nor Steve "Philler" Phillips nor Joe Morgan nor even David Wright fool us.

We know where this season is going, or at least we know a range of realistic best-case and worst-case. I'll call those 94 wins / the division title and 85 wins / 3rd place, respectively, and each week that nine-game gap will close by a game. Rob went all-in on his Sox, and frankly, he should. I can't -- or maybe won't -- follow suit right now. I'll only say one thing definitively: it's gonna be a bumpy fucking road, but the Mets will damn well be right there, wide-eyed and waiting for the umpire's call when the final dust settles on this regular season.


Mets Grrl said...

But they'll be there by happenstance, and not because they fought for it, or even seemed like they cared all that much.

Whitney said...

Sad, but possibly true -- they'll be there by being good enough that they can underachieve their way through it all. (My saying so in a critical way has my high school teachers rendered speechless, a condition I found myself more than once in my Public Speaking class.)

I think deep down, more than a few of us have been waiting for the Mets to fall out of first place and see what sort of reaction it might elicit, what kind of fire it might ignite. But the fear of no reaction whatsoever has us dismissing that sort of wish entirely.

Maybe a brawl?

Mets Grrl said...

Maybe, but over what? We don't have Pedro, or even Duaner, who would plonk someone on the other side if they deserved it. Willie isn't going to go out there and argue questionable calls like he did last year, which also got the team fired up.

What are they going to brawl about? "Gosh, the Marlins beat us again. Let's go kick Miguel Cabrera's butt."


to be honest one of the reasons i'm pissed is that i'm going to have money tied up in a playoff invoice that could be put to use buying springsteen tickets... the announcement of which is coming any day now. and i have the bruce dates up against the playoff calendar and if i'm sitting home watching TWO OTHER TEAMS because i didn't buy bruce tickets for that night, i'm going to be really pissed.

Whitney said...

Wow, that is actually a severe quandary. Last year we got tickets to an early round game that didn't get played, then went the StubHub route to get them for Game 7 of the NLCS. (Argh.)

Mets Grrl, how sure are you about the announcement? I keep scouring the web and get nothing substantiated in any way. Album due in "late fall," maybe a US tour in Oct/Nov, nothing concrete. Inquiring minds want to know!

Jerry said...

Last season was full of magic and wonder. This season is just a good team hacking through 162 games trying to muscle their way into the playoffs. Last year was a lot more fun to watch. If the story had ended correctly, the Mets would've won the World Series, but we got some kind of non-sensical alternative ending.

Really, what they're doing right now doesn't matter that much. All they have to do is make the playoffs, and the only thing that matters to Mets fans is how they do in the playoffs. They're still major favorites to get there, although it was a lot cooler to call it a lock in June like I did last year.

Whitney said...

It's true. Just gotta get in, and you never know.

Last year the Tigers absolutely limped into the playoffs, tacking a 16-25 finish to an otherwise amazing season. Gave away the division title, lost their last five of the season to get to face the Yankees. They were done.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals lost 9 of 12 to close out a truly mediocre regular season. No chance.

So we'll see. It's still better to be a Mets fan than it is to be a fan of the Twins, A's, or Dodgers, supposed contenders who have fallen off badly.

But dammit, dudes, show some fire.