If this all feels eerily familiar, it’s because we’ve seen this movie before. This is not the first time the Mets began a season with so much optimism, only to watch high hopes turn to despair as seemingly everyone but the announcers in the broadcast booth got injured. Let’s go back to 2009.

The team still retained much of the core talent from the powerhouse 2006 team that was the best in the National League and only missed playing in the World Series because of a knee-buckling Adam Wainwright curveball that still haunts Carlos Beltran and all of us. Following two straight seasons when the team broke our hearts with losses in game 162 that cost us a chance to play in October, the Mets were christening Citi Field as their shiny new home ball park. We still had that amazing lineup with David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran and a pitching staff led by two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. Surely this would be our year.

Only the four previously mentioned hitters all wound up on the disabled list (no offense; that’s what it was called in 2009). Delgado needed hip surgery, Reyes suffered a serious hamstring injury, Beltran hurt his knee, and Wright suffered a concussion following a scary beaning. The pitchers weren’t immune either, as John Maine hurt his shoulder, Oliver Perez his knee, Jon Niese his hamstring, and reliever JJ Putz his elbow. A host of other  players landed on the DL; guys like Angel Pagan, Ryan Church, Brian Schneider, Fernando Martinez and more. This was the year when the injuries were as laughable as manager Jerry Manuel’s press conferences. Remember when Luis Castillo sprained his ankle tripping and falling down the dugout steps?

Pegged to win the NL East, the 2009 squad finished in the basement with a hideous 70-92 record. The battered team did its best to plug the holes with aging veterans like 40-year-old Gary Sheffield, Livan Hernandez, and Fernando Tatis, Sr., as well as minor league call-ups who weren’t up-to-the-task. The results were ugly.

At this moment, the Mets are bruised and battered with more than half of their key roster on the injured list. Yet, somehow, we sit atop the division. Chalk it up to slumping hitters in Atlanta, a leaky bullpen in Philly and a few key injuries in Washington. Chalk it up to some scheduling breaks as well, like weak competition and timely rainouts. This is simply not sustainable with all the holes this team has at present. Making matters worse is that the main hitters who’ve stayed healthy – Dom Smith and Francisco Lindor – are not producing.

June is coming, and while we thought that meant the cavalry was coming, we’ve gotten disheartening news in recent days about injury status updates. The two starting pitchers who began the season on the IL – Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carasco – suffered setbacks and aren’t likely to return any time soon. Key offensive cogs Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil, who both suffered hamstring strains in the same game, were, at first, expected to come back after a 10-day IL stint, but that is no longer the case. Ditto for Brandon Nimmo and his mysterious finger ailment.

At present, we are trotting out some players who don’t belong in the Major Leagues. Our lineup features several players who can’t even make contact. The pitching will be okay. The bullpen has remained healthy and better than we anticipated and Seth Lugo should be back in a few weeks. The rotation has been great even without Syndergaard and Carasco. Taijuan Walker, whose injury is not serious, has been terrific. Together with Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and David Peterson, that’s still a formidable rotation. The fifth spot will need to be pieced together for a while but we can survive that.

Now, the question is, how can this team score runs? Getting JD Davis and hopefully Pete Alonso back this week will solidify the infield and at least the top of the lineup. However, the outfield and bottom of the lineup are a problem. Hopefully, the newly acquired Billy McKinney can give us something, because neither Khalil Lee nor Cameron Maybin can hit a beach ball with a tennis racket.

Someone from among Albert Almora, Kevin Pillar, and Brandon Nimmo needs to get back on the field ASAP as this outfield is painful to watch. Didn’t we sign Mallex Smith? Where’d he go? The names are new night after night and they all stink. It’s as if there’s a baseball strike and we’re rooting for scabs. It’s like that scene in Major League – “Who the @#$%^& are these guys? Mitchell Friedman?!” And Lindor and Smith have to start hitting one of these days, right? A suddenly hot Lindor hitting in front of Smith, Alonso and Davis is the spark we need.

June is coming and that’s a scary month for Mets fans. It always seems to be the make-or-break month for this franchise. Let’s hope this rag tag bunch can stay afloat a few more weeks until we start to piece together a professional roster again. Come on, Mets. Let’s @#$%^& go!

 

17 comments on “It’s beginning to look a lot like 2009

  • Edwin e Pena

    Darn, forgot all about Mallex. Where have you gone Joe Mallex-io ? This article is on point. Staff is still good enough to win, but Mets need some injured soldiers back soon to get this offense on track, otherwise there will be may 2-1 and 3-2 losses coming. The fifth starter is going to come from either Carassco or Thor or a pick up before trade deadline, whichever comes first. The BP is most surprisingly good, so is the ‘Bench Mob’, but Mets need their hitters back before the rest of the NL East wakes up.

  • Boomboom

    The difference this year is that key players are missing or banged up from all the other teams too.

    Phillies: realmuto, Harper, didi
    Braves: ozuna, soroka, d arnaud, acuna
    Nats: soto, Strasburg

    Etc

    Not as many key players as on the mets but bc our bullpen has remained intact and performing well, and we ve played a relatively soft schedule, we ve been able to piece it together. If the pitching and defense hold we ‘ll be ok.

    • Boomboom

      Oh yeah and mallex Smith is also injured

  • Woodrow

    Waiting for Mallex…

  • Wobbit

    A month ago when I mentioned Mallex Smith in a post, I was told “Mallex Smith sucks” by a formidable source. I believe him.

    While Maybin is clearly not capable of hitting ML pitching, Khalil Lee is worth waiting for. We know he has great speed; we know he can catch the ball; we know he has power. Unfortunately, we can’t simulate the time it takes for a young player to adjust to ML pitching.
    We just have to suffer through the growing pains.

    McKinney is a nice breath of air. For now we have to hope that all the band-aids stay stuck on and don’t cause a major infection. I’m enjoying the Mets Little League team!

    • BobP

      I agree on Maybin and Lee. If we are going to deal with an automatic out it might as well be the young guy who might develop. Lee can’t be any worse than Maybin has been.

  • Woodrow

    Familia for Kiermaier?

  • Metsense

    Heading in the the Atlanta series they 2.5 ahead and in first place. The pitching will kept them competitive. Three of their starting pitchers are top ranked in ERA in a NL ; DeGrom(1), Walker (8) and Stroman (16). Their bullpen has eight relievers with a ERA+. Peterson is pitching like a #4 starter and Lucchesi continues his turn a around, then the bullpen might salvage some games at the back of the rotation.
    Lindor, Smith, McCann and even Villar have got to start hitting . It will be hard staying afloat and winning this Atlanta series will give more time to heal. It would be what the doctor ordered.

  • Wobbit

    Atlanta series just got better for the Mets. A double-header favors the Mets because of the shortened games, fewer innings, probably lower scores. If Atlanta scores 5 runs, it’s over. Less likely in shorter games…

    Mets can afford to lose the series but not get swept. Would be lovely if we can 1-1 and then ask DeGrom to win the rubber game.

    I think the key for the next 12 games, half of which are against SD, is to extend the SPs, go deep into games and use the bullpen as sparingly as possible. Do not expose the bullpen arms to scrutiny!
    Let our very capable starters pitch to their limits… that may be more of a challenge to the manager than to the actually athletes… Luis does not seem to trust his starters into the seventh and eighth. These are grown men who wait five days to pitch and want to contribute… does not help to cut them off prematurely each and every game.

    • Woodrow

      Q2maybe the starters have to be protected. What happens if a starter goes down? The BP is 8 strong and there are more arms at Syracuse. Baseball has changed, starters now go 5-6 innings. Openers are almost the norm and runs being scored are down. Analytics say pitchers don’t do well the third time through a lineup.

  • Ded

    Regarding this Billy McKinney guy, I have concerns. His last gig was drummer for Spinal Tap.

  • MattyMets

    Ded- drummers for Spinal Tap is actually a great nickname for this current iteration of the Mets.

  • JamesTOB

    I’m not sure this lineup is much worse than what the 1969 Mets fielded and, of course, they also had great pitching, so “You gotta believe!” as Tug would say.

  • Wobbit

    Great pitching cures all ills. It’s amazing how many games get won with the minimum of offense as the Mets are doing now. One two-run homer and maybe one sac fly and the team wins. One fielder’s choice and a two-out double scoring one or two and that’s all they need. They can still do very well with only one or two hitters getting hot at various times… but they gotta pitch. The odds are that one or two hitter will get hot at various times… ain’t they?

    By the way, “asking for 10 million dollar” man Jackie Bradley Jr. hitting .150.

  • TexasGusCC
  • TexasGusCC

    two times I tried to post a comment and a Styles Box opened up and I lost all the work. There won’t be a third time. Chin up every one.

  • MattyMets

    You can take some solace at looking around at other box scores. Kelenic is hitting .150. So is JBJ. Justin Wilson just blew another game for the Yankees. George Springer is still injured. So is Paxton.

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