The Mets’ season is on the line

Blend logoFollowing their now incomprehensible 11-game winning streak in April, the Mets sat at 13-3. Yes there was nearly an entire season ahead of them, but the optimism was as palpable in the clubhouse as it was in the stands, the broadcast booth and the back pages. If they could just muster a .500 record for the remainder of the long season they’d finish with 86 wins, their best record since 2008 and within sniffing distance of a wild card.

Hopes were so high a book was prematurely published lauding the genius of GM Sandy Alderson.  Matt Harvey was as good as new. Bartolo Colon was unbeatable.  Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud were tearing the cover off the ball. SNY television ratings were up and Citi Field was rockin’. And then the wheels came off.

Injuries. Batting slumps. Errors. Mental mistakes. From playoff chatter, we’re suddenly under .500.  It all went south so quickly. Long faces in the dugout. Collective sighs in the stands. Vitriol on the social media channels. How do the Mets stop this season from circling the drain? By everyone doing their part from the field to the dugout to the front office. This has been a collective failure and everyone on the Mets payroll needs to own it.

The Field

In the wake of injuries, winning teams have players who step up their game. The Mets possess no such players. While the team continued playing well after David Wright got injured, the team stopped playing good baseball as soon as Daniel Murphy and Travis d’Arnaud got injured. Lucas Duda stopped hitting. Maybe he’s trying too hard or maybe he’s being pitched around with no protection in the lineup. Does this same excuse hold for Michael Cuddyer and Juan Lagares? Why does Curtis Granderson only hit solo homeruns? Why can’t Wilmer Flores ever draw a walk? Why do Kevin Plawecki, Eric Campbell and Dilson Herrera all hit like Ted Williams in Las Vegas and then forget how to swing a bat when they get the call to the show? And why does this team seem so overmatched on the road – like they don’t belong in the big leagues? They should be embarrassed.

The Dugout

Terry Collins is a nice guy and it’s certainly not his fault this team has been hit hard by injuries or that he wasn’t given any depth to work with.  However, he does have some control over the outcome of a game. Too many times he has pulled a pitcher at the wrong time. Several times he pulled Jacob deGrom or Matt Harvey a batter or an inning too soon only to lose the game or make them settle for a no-decision. Several other times, especially with Bartolo Colon, Collins has left him in an inning too long. Colon is typically great for five or six innings and falls apart in the 7th inning. Same often holds true for Jon Niese. Use that seven-man bullpen to shorten and protect the game, not play nitpicky games swapping out pitchers after every at-bat like you’re Tony LaRussa in the 1989 World Series.

When a batter has a great game, don’t bench him the next day. And for the love of all things holy, please get over your love affair with Ruben Tejada. No one else outside of his immediate family shares your affinity for him. And do a Bull Durham and fling the bats into the shower to wake these guys up. They’re embarrassing themselves and letting down their fans.

Wasn’t Kevin Long supposed to be a savior? While it’s nice to see Grandy hitting solo shots and drawing walks, why are the young hitters not adjusting to big league pitching? Why hasn’t Lagares shown improvement?

The Front Office

The Mets are not the only team to suffer injuries, however losing players to the DL goes from being a hindrance to a disaster when payroll limitations prevent you from building out an adequate bench. For a few million more, the Mets could have really used another veteran or two. Even when everyone is healthy, there’s no big bat to bring in as a late inning pinch hitter, DH or to spell a veteran for a game.  Once you have three starters on the DL, you wind up with hasbeens and quadruple A players in the everyday lineup. Not a formula for success. Ownership is to blame for not giving Alderson a bigger check book, but Alderson has made his share of mistakes too.

How nice would Justin Turner look in a Mets uniform right now? How about Angel Pagan? Without even mentioning a certain shortstop who everyone misses, the league is littered with ex-Mets having great years. Alderson has many times let the wrong guy get away. Meanwhile, he’s held on to others like Dillon Gee for too long until they’ve lost all value. Alderson has also signed the wrong free agents. Think this offense would be performing a little better with Nelson Cruz instead of either  Granderson or Cuddyer? Or how about Nori Aoki instead of Jon Mayberry? Alderson has not been nimble with this roster either. We’ve seen the pitching log jam problem coming since last year, yet he did nothing to address it in the offseason and now we have a budding star languishing in triple A because we can’t make room for him in the rotation.

Alderson has stated that trades don’t happen in June. Well, if he waits until July, it may well be too late for this season.  In the end, Collins may have to fall on the sword, but the root of this team’s failure isfar more widespread.

15 comments for “The Mets’ season is on the line

  1. pal88
    June 26, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Excellent article!

    • Matt Netter
      June 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Thanks, pal88. Don’t tell Metsense – he/she is having a bad day.

  2. June 26, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Collins doesn’t help the situation. Injuries are not on him. The lack of a bench and clutch hitting have been missing for quite some time now. No this goes on the Wilpons. Alderson doesn’t have much flexibility. Does he? No depth. No money. No manager. No competent ownership. Where do you expect improvement to come from? The Cardinals lose their ace for the season and only have the best record in baseball. The Met’s lose their catcher and second baseman and forget the fundamentals of baseball. That is on Collins. The Met’s have no heart. How can you get shut down by a pitcher who gave up 10? runs in his last 2 starts? Doesn’t matter. First the no hit performance against Heston of San Fran then the debacle against Nelson of Milwaukee. Yes trades happen in July when you’re out of a pennant race and looking to dump salary and players who just don’t pan out.. Say goodbye Colon, Niese, Parnell, Murphy, Mayberry and can you please hold the door for Cuddyer as well? Wait! Here comes Collins late as usual.

    • TexasGusCC
      June 26, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Pete, why did you stop? How about insisting on leaving his top home run hitter leadoff because no one gets on base anyway? And did you see the almost collision in left center between Ceciliani and Cuddyer because Granderson must stay in right field? I bet you his bosses saw it. I bet you his players saw it. Only Fred Wilpon probably didn’t see it or understand its significance. It’s not only late, his problem is he invented baseball so he has the owner’s blessing and doesn’t need to listen to anyone.

      • June 26, 2015 at 9:16 am

        Gus using the same logic TC;s using for Granderson is the same reason you drop him in the line up. If he’s going to hit solo home runs then why not put your best hitter in front of him? I was totally dumbfounded by his logic.You’re not tinkering with his swing. You’re just adjusting to what he’s doing. Collins must have a bunch of voodoo dolls in a locker in his office. Every criticism deflects off him. He doesn’t take the blame for any of his mistakes (SP’S being taken out so he can have his late inning match-ups). I can imagine someone like Tom Seaver telling him to go back to bench and have a seat.

        • TexasGusCC
          June 26, 2015 at 9:20 am

          If Seaver was in his first couple of years, with this much media pressure, I doubt he would. Collins uses the youth’s hunger and insecurities against them, and bullies them. God help him on the 1986 Mets.

        • Chris F
          June 26, 2015 at 10:25 am

          For some time, weve know about the surprising properties of Teflon Terry and his ability to have nothing stick to him or his staff.

          Thanks to Metsense for giving Collins the nickname he so justly deserves!

          • TexasGusCC
            June 26, 2015 at 12:09 pm

            Didn’t realize that Metsense said it too.

  3. Since68
    June 26, 2015 at 9:04 am

    I hear Mike Bordick and Victor Zambrano are available.

  4. Metsense
    June 26, 2015 at 9:09 am

    This article is just a rant with unsupportive generalities and incorrect statements.
    For example: JdG, Familia, Duda, TdA and Murphy are all producing above their career averages and Harvey is producing as expected for a TJ recoverer. The backup infielder, Tejada is producing better than he ever has and has stepped up.
    The article needed concrete data to support statements such as exMets having great years or Colon and Niese falling apart in the 7th inning. Brian Joura already wrote a excellent article concerning the Las Vegas statistics and the detremental use of a LOOGY.
    This site was built on well written and well researched articles. Opinions were supported by facts. Pick a point, research it, present facts, form an opinion and present it instead of a unsupported laundry list rant that can be heard most afternoons on the WFAN.

  5. Matt Netter
    June 26, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Pete and TexasGus, you guys are tough on Terry. I’m not giving him a pass by any stretch. I don’t agree with his strategy or in-game decision making (however much is in his control). However he is not involve in roster construction. Had this cheapskate team just soent another 5 million in the offseason, they could have built out a decent bench. Instead they entered the season ill-equipped to withstand a single injury to an everyday player, let alone 3.

    • TexasGusCC
      June 26, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      That’s fair, but my problem is with how he has handled the players he does have.

    • June 27, 2015 at 2:09 am

      Matt he is involved with the way a roster is constructed. Didn’t he run like a baby complaining to Fred that Sandy wasn’t providing him with what he needed to run a proper bull pen? The way he envisions a bull pen should operate is on Collins. It affects the starters because every time there is a late inning match up Collins knows he has 3 left handers who he can rely on. Stupid principle. The only thing that needs to happen is for the Met’s to have the best 6 relievers regardless of which side they pitch from.. Not the three best lefties.who may not be as good as the 4th best RH.. You’re putting these LOOGY’s in the best possible situation and they still managed to screw it up. If I’m a starter I’d be seething inside. What does a starter have to do to win a game? Pitch shut out ball for 7 or 8 innings? Only to have Collins’ fetish for match ups blow up in his face? Didn’t Harvey pitch 2 consecutive starts without giving up a run and have nothing to show for it? If the Met’s don’t improve their pathetic offense there will be a steady exodus of young starters when they reach FA status. No reason to stay here. No reason to give a hometown discount. The Wilpons don’t deserve it.

  6. BK
    June 26, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Good article. And I especially agree with the point about TC. He may not have stocked this subpar roster, but his in-game decisions haven’t helped much.

  7. Robby
    June 27, 2015 at 12:35 am

    All well said comments. The one things I want to say is guys coming up suddenly look like they don’t belong I have to point to coaching and manager. When you get to that level its more then just showing them how to swing but the mental aspect of the game and confidence to succeed. Collins does not motivate his ball club. Lets look at the facts he has never been a successful manager even when he had some good teams.

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