Before the season started, I dismissed those who claimed the Mets could lose 100 games in 2012. But after getting swept in a four-game series at home by a beat-up Rockies team, I am no longer so sure. The Mets still need to win six games the rest of the way and at this point, I’m not sure they can do it. The GM quit on the team in July and the rest of the squad has followed suit.
When last year’s season went down the drain, at least there was still something to be excited about in the finishes for Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada. But there’s simply no reason to watch this team right now. Sure, most of the starting pitchers have interesting story lines but where is the fun in watching a Matt Harvey or Collin McHugh pitch their hearts out, only to be let down by either the offense or the bullpen and sometimes both?
The team’s winning percentage in the second half is .282 –- which is 253 points lower than what it was in the first half. If this pace maintains the rest of the season, it would easily be the worst differential in winning percentage based on first half/second half splits in team history. There’s no easy way for me to check this but my gut tells me that this would be the worst differential for any team in MLB since World War II.
The thing is, we should have seen it coming. The Mets second-half futility has come in every year ending in a “2.”
While I watched teams before it, the first team I really remember is the 1972 Mets. That team started off great but then fell apart. George Stone hit Rusty Staub with a pitch and the team was never the same. Of course Tommie Agee and Jim Fregosi cratering didn’t help, either. After a win on June 1st, the ’72 Mets were 30-11. They went 53-62 the rest of the season. Their first half/second half differential was (-70).
As far as I’m concerned, the less said about 1982, the better. As for the Mets, they had a stretch in May where they went 14-6. The rest of the year they were 51-91. After back-to-back nine-win months in June and July, the ’82 Mets went 5-24 in August. Their first half/second half differential was (-127).
Ah, 1992, disdainfully dubbed, “The Worst Team Money Could Buy.” The season started with hope, especially given the ugly nature of 1991, which finished with manager Buddy Harrelson, star of two World Series clubs as a player, afraid to go to the mound to make a pitching change for fear of being booed. The ’92 Mets started the year 20-14 and went 52-76 the rest of the way. Their first half/second half differential was (-72).
The 2001 Mets went 16-5 in September and the 2002 Mets opened the season 18-12. But Bobby Valentine’s last Mets squad finished the year 57-74. The club kept Steve Phillips, ditched Valentine and replaced him with Art Howe. That didn’t end up too well for the Mets. The first half/second half differential was (-62) in 2002.
Even though we started in 1972, we see the first season ending in a “2” to have been no different. The expansion Mets went 23-59 in the first half and followed it up going 17-61 after the break. Their first half/second half differential for the 1962 Mets was (-62).
The 2012 Mets are 11-28 in the second half. They opened play after the All-Star break losing 11 out of 12 games and after a brief stretch of solid play on the West Coast, they have now lost 13 of their last 17. In those 17 games, the Mets have scored just 42 runs, an average of 2.5 per game, and eight of those came in one game. They have gone 47 innings without a multiple-run frame and they scored just five runs in a four-game series with Colorado, which came in with easily the worst pitching staff in the league.
I’ll continue to watch because that’s what I do. But I cannot believe how disinterested I am in a season where the playoffs were once a possibility.
Recently, Sandy Alderson talked about the need to bring in productive players via trade. Hey, better late than never. At this point, Harvey should be the only one who is untouchable. R.A. Dickey, David Wright – even Zack Wheeler at this point should be on the table if he brings back a HR bat from the right side of the plate.
Agee and Fregosi became fall guys for the 1972 team. Dave Kingman and Mike Scott played that role in 1982. David Cone served that role in 1992 although a bunch of others deserved it more. Valentine was the victim from the 2002 team. Now the only question is: Who pays the price for the 2012 meltdown?
No one should feel safe.