METS CHAT ROOM: Game #162; A sadness about the day.

In each of the past two seasons, the Mets faced their season finale with hope and a definable tension. The Mets would either extend their season or see it end in a frustrating ball of fire. They flamed out both in 2007 and 2008 to suddenly face the winter.

There’s none of that today.

This afternoon at Citi Field comes the official death of a season long since dead. It is a parent or relative who succumbs after a long illness. There’s almost a sense of relief at the death, that most of the grieving has been done and it is time to for a new chapter.

The end of a sports season marks a passage of time, and like many passages there’s a sadness because it represents unfulfilled dreams and the leaving behind of something special. There’s nothing quite as sad as the death of dream.

MANUEL: He didn't inspire.

MANUEL: He didn't inspire.

Despite how each of the last two seasons ended, there was hope and optimism this spring in Port St. Lucie. This was Jerry Manuel’s first full season as Mets manager and with it a return of hope this summer would be different.

There was attention paid to fundamentals, which was to provide a security blanket that even if there would be no power the team would somehow score, and with their pitching that would be enough. Surgery was to have healed John Maine’s aching shoulder and Mike Pelfrey would continue his progress.

Most importantly from a pitching perspective, the bullpen, the Achilles heal the past two years, was fixed and was to be stronger with Francisco Rodriguez than it ever was with Billy Wagner.

PELFREY: He took a step back.

PELFREY: He took a step back.

Offensively, Carlos Delgado was back hitting home runs and Daniel Murphy was to be the answer in left field. David Wright and Jose Reyes, the homegrown part of the core, were to get better. Carlos Beltran would simply produce as usual.

The Mets entered the season with a chip on their collective shoulders after Cole Hamel’s choke comments. Yes, this was to be a turnaround season for the Mets, and it was going to unfold in a brand new home.

It didn’t happen that way.

The seasons of Maine, Pelfrey and Oliver Perez were a combination of ineffectiveness and injury, and injury also caused the unraveling of the bullpen. Bobby Parnell was good and bad in a variety of roles, and it remains to be seen whether his psyche is a permanent casualty. Rodriguez was not as good as advertised, and those who accepted his signing with caution were unfortunately rewarded in perhaps being right. We do not know how healthy he is and who doesn’t anticipate unsettling offseason news?

Of all the injuries, losing Reyes was the most harmful as it took away the team’s offensive catalyst. What should have been a few days on the bench turned into a lost season. It’s still not over for Reyes as he faces surgery and an uncertain recovery program.

WRIGHT: Was off before the beaning.

WRIGHT: Was off before the beaning.

Beltran and Delgado were lost for large chunks of time, as was Wright’s power stroke in a frustrating twist. Wright was never with us mechanically this season from a run production standpoint, but somehow he managed to hit over .300. He also managed to strike out over 130 times. He faces a long road in trying to become the player he once was. As far as Delgado is concerned, well, we’ll never see him in a Met uniform again.

Unless the Mets hit five home runs today, they will be the only team in the major leagues to hit less than 100 homers this season. And, about those fundamentals that was supposed to keep the team afloat? We didn’t see them and that is a reflection on Manuel.

There have been several crushing defeats this season, with the first being Murphy’s dropped fly ball in Florida that cost Johan Santana a game. It also represented the failure of Murphy as an outfielder. Only after Delgado was injured did Murphy find a defensive home, and even then he was tenuous.

There were others.

Luis Castillo’s return as a productive offensive player was tempered by his poor defense, with the dropped pop-fly at Yankee Stadium the signature loss to this season.

REYES: The injury that hurt most.

REYES: The injury that hurt most.

The Mets also lost a game on Sean Green’s wild pitch in Philadelphia, a sign the bullpen wasn’t quite fixed. There was also the game in which they blew a five-run lead to Pittsburgh and Rodriguez’s disastrous five-run ninth at Washington. Rodriguez blew seven save opportunities, but was forever pitching on the edge. For good measure, twice in one week the Mets lost games on late-inning grand slams.

No, the bullpen is not fixed.

However, to me, the game that summed up the wreck that was the Summer of 2009 was Ryan Church’s failure to touch third base in Los Angeles. Physical errors happen. But, this was a mental thing. Stepping on a base is as simple and fundamental thing a player can do in the sport and the Mets couldn’t even do that right.

All that misery comes to an end this afternoon at Citi Field. The Mets will try to end their season with a sweep with a win. A win in each of the last season finales could have meant October fun. If they get it today, it will be hollow as winter will still come.

78 thoughts on “METS CHAT ROOM: Game #162; A sadness about the day.

  1. John – This is a very professional account of the Mets season, Thanks for putting it all in perspective for us to keep here on the blog.

  2. Agree with Annie. Won’t be watching today. NY Football Giants (as us older folks used to say) much more enjoyable and unfortunatley meaningful, to watch. See you for extra AL Central game if there is one. Maybe the Tigers will have a METSIAN collapse this year.

  3. John- Great writeup. A sad season.

    Did anything go right this year with this team?

    Oh well… See ya in 2010.

    And thanks John. Another great season from you.

  4. Harry (3): If you’re still here, but watching the Giants, feel free to comment on them. They should have no problem with the Chiefs.-JD

  5. Nelson Figueroa (2-8, 4.70 ERA) starts for the Mets. Figueroa has pitched well despite going 0-5 for September. Figueroa is a good person, but not a top of the line starter. Again, I would have rather seen Bobby Parmell, who represents the future, than a guy who doesn’t fit into their long range plans.-JD

  6. I am always amazed by the number of failed Jets coaches who get subsequent jobs (Bruce Coslet, Pat Carroll, Eric Mangini, Herm Edwards).

  7. SECOND INNING: Jeremy Reed up. His season was wasted. With all the injuries he should have played more. He’s a role player and a good one, if used properly. He wasn’t. He’s not back next year.-JD

  8. Yankees already behind in the 1st inning

    NY Giants 14 – KC 3

    Patriots 10 – BAL 7

  9. Annie (17): He’ll be back. How good the Mets will be will depend in what capacity. If he’s a bench player, that would mean an upgrade in left field. If he’s a starter, it is less encouraging.-JD

  10. Another strong start by Figueroa. He’s pitched better than his record. Even so, I wouldn’t be comfortable with Figueroa in the rotation. Would you actually expect him to pitch this well over 33 starts? I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t expect that either from Pat Misch.-JD

  11. John (19) Thanks, now I know why Francoeur isn’t playing today.

    Trying to keep up with some other teams – Giants who I like, and Patriots who I don’t.

  12. FIFTH INNING: Pagan will finish the season over .300, which is a positive note. He still needs to work on his base running and his throwing. To be an everyday left fielder, he would have to hit with more power. Which is why when some people say they could live with Pagan in left but not Murphy at first they show they are clueless. Murphy will lead the Mets in homers and will hit for more power next season as he learns the pitchers more and gets stronger.-JD

  13. John – It’s hard to know about pitchers some of them are ready for the Big Time very early and others aren’t. Some of them are very immature, and then others are like Seaver all grown up very early.

    I never even heard of Pat Misch until last week – guess I should have been paying more attention to the Mets players – all of them.

  14. Murphy will be taking a place occupied by some pretty tough guys to follow – Hernandez of course, and even others like Olerud.

  15. John (24) It’s really unfortunate for them – Manuel – to sit him today. He had a nice article about him today in the Times by Ben S about how he and his wife feel very welcome here by all his teammates. Also has a special wrap on his hand so he can play.

    Manuel can be obtuse, can’t he?

  16. SIXTH INNING: Thole up. He’s made a good impression. His 1-for-22 slide should have the Mets not having too high of expectations. I like Thole, and sometime next year we’ll see him again. … I like that he hangs tough. He just got dusted but came back with a double. … The Mets are likely to go into next season with Omir Santos and a veteran they’ll add.-JD

  17. John (27) I’ve never understood him – he seems to get his kicks out of screwing around with his players playing time. That makes me crazy.

  18. John (30) Sure, it’s like having a boss you can never please no matter what you do. No wonder some of these guys don’t seem to care.

  19. Mets all time leading home run hitters by position? This should be fun
    1b Delgado
    2b Amadeo Samuel
    SS Jose Reyes
    3B Hojo
    C The Kid
    LF Kingman
    CF Agee
    RF Bruce Boisclar
    P Gooden

  20. Dan (32): Off the top of my head, I’d go Kranepool at first; Piazza at catcher; Beltran in center; Wright at third; and Strawberry in right.-JD

  21. 22. JD, just call me clueless, but I think Pagan is more important to the Mets than Murphy, especially since nobody is sure if Reyes can man the leadoff spot. A LF doesnt necessarily need to be a power hitter. Carl Crawford comes to mind. Power does need to be added somewhere though. Its a lot easier to find one who plays first base than the outfield. When you find a power hitting outfielder they are usually butchers in the field. Carlos Lee and Adam Dunn come to mind.

  22. Who in the world is that RF Bruce Boisclar?

    Didn’t Robin Ventura hit a few too?

  23. Ray (36): You’re not clueless. I wasn’t even thinking about not having Reyes next year. If that happens, you could be right. There is no real leadoff hitter outside of Pagan if Reyes isn’t around.-JD

  24. I picked up a 6 CD set of “Even more music and stage patter than our previous two releases” of the 1969 Woodstock festival. Amusing how after the infamous “don’t take the brown acid” announcement, Chip Monck goes on to say “I don’t know how the Mets did, we’ll try to find out”. They swept a saturday doubleheader from the San Diego Padres.
    If only they had release the entire 32 CD set as they originally hoped to. But I have to love Pete Townshend (The Who) dissenting negative view “It was 6 feet of mud laced with acid. If that’s how they want to live, they can have it”

  25. One thing that bothered me this season was all the inside information that was being leaked to the media without a source attached to it.

    It has been reported that the Mets have been having organizational meetings for over 6 weeks.
    Little of this has gotten out.

    Unlike in 2004 when everyone found out about Art Howe being fired before it was supposed to be announced.

    I hope this is a step in the right direction in how the Mets will operate in the future
    and not just the Mets shutting the media out completely.

  26. Boiclair was a left hand hitting outfielder in the mid to late 1970s who did nothing well. A joke selection as was Amadeo Samuel. I put him in because when I was a little leaguer my team assigned me #7. at the time #7 on the Yankees was Mickey Mantle. the only man who could match drinks for drinks with Harry Caray. Samuel, a no hit, no field infielder wore it on the Mets.

  27. Dan (41): Love that note about Woodstock and the Mets. Baseball is a conservative, traditional sport that still had its following among the youth during a tumultuous time in our history. Only the Mets could have gotten that response. Not so if it were the staid Yankees.-JD

  28. White Sox put up 3 in the 8th score is now 5-3
    Maybe the Twins will not have to play Tuesday.

  29. Scott (43): Teams meet throughout the season. That the Mets have been meeting with their staff is not surprising. What would be surprising would be the announcement of what direction they are heading.-JD

  30. Scott (46): Have to think the Tigers will hold on today. The pressure is all on them. They are the ones blowing what seemed like a comfortable lead. A one-game playoff Tuesday in the Metrodome? Gotta think Twins.-JD

  31. John (49) It was only a week ago that Misch pitched his shut out, anything can happen here.

    If it happens, I heard the Tuesday game starting time is 5PM – is that true?

  32. Annie (51): Should be an afternoon game to give them a little rest before the ALDS begins with the Yankees. That, of course, is TV running the show.-JD

  33. 40. The ballpark is supposed to be tailored for pitching, defense and speed. Reyes before the injury was the model player. Deep gaps to hit triples in and a good glove. Pagan is the closest to Reyes on the team. I could live with Murphy at first. Pitching is where I would focus. One front line starter and at least one very good set up man. If wright has a typical season next year and Beltran is ok with a full year by frenchy should be enough power to support Murphys 15-20 HRs. Spend the money on Lackey.

  34. If there is a playoff game, it will be a PM. They are playing MNF there..there could be some time needed to make the field ready for baseball. But yeah, TV is the tail that wags the dog.

  35. Ray (54): Pitching is paramount. No doubt about it. Lackey has some recent injury history, but he’s the best pitcher available. … I’ll be looking at the FA market this week.-JD

  36. What they could do is change the ALDS rotation and make the Yankees wait an extra day. Of course, if they did that it would inconvenience the people who bought tickets for the Wednesday game. There is no convenient option.-JD

  37. Howie and Wayne have put this last game of the year in the Book and closed the edition for 2009.

    We’ve had a great weekend here at Citi Field to close out the year – and that has given us something to look forward to next Spring.

    Thanks to everyone who reads this blog and to those who post here as well.

    See you next year.

  38. Yes!! A shutout!! Three game sweep of the Astros!! How many days before pitchers and catchers?

  39. The Mets had three complete games this year. Livan Hernandez, Pat Misch and now Nelson Figueroa. Who would have thought it? Odd thing, none of them could be in the rotation next season.-JD

  40. PS – Congratulations to one of my favorites – Nelson Figueroa who has just pitched his first complete game – a shut out – to close out the Mets season.

  41. The season ends with the Mets sweeping the Astros. It is a good feeling, but it can’t erase the anxiety and frustration that was this summer. It’s a relief the season is over. It has been a physically and emotionally draining season. … It will be a long and important offseason. Perhaps the most important in recent memory.-JD

  42. Scott (66): It was a feel good moment in a season that had too few of them. It was nice to see Figueroa, Misch and Redding end on positive notes. … Another positive was Angel Pagan’s season to end over .300. … David Wright ended with a good weekend and Jeff Francoeur was a positive. Those could all be reaches, but at least they are reaching for something.-JD

  43. Tigers have won
    Twins are leading 7-1 in the fifth.
    I turn to YES just in time to see A Fraud grand slam for his 100th rbi.
    Try this NFL Red Zone verizon FIOS has free this week

  44. Thanks John, for helping us all to get through this frustrating season. I will still be around during the off season to repeat my mantra GET LACKEY!!

  45. Great summation of the season, John.

    Nice hollow victory by the Mets. Some feel-good moments to end a feel-bad season. The pies-in-the-face were an appropriate touch.

    Getting ready to go through Mets withdrawal once again… haven’t yet decided whether to go through complete baseball withdrawal yet, but that will happen soon enough.

    Will try to stop in and visit you guys.

  46. Pagan has been a much better offensive player than Murphy this year. He got on base at a higher rate and slugged at a higher rate, as well.

  47. Is power critical to a first baseman? If we look at the teams in the playoffs plus Det/Minn the answer is:

    Pujols 47/135
    Youkolis 27/94
    Helton 15/86
    Cabrera 33/101
    Morales 34/107
    Loney 13/90
    Morneau 30/100
    Texeira 39/122
    Howard 45/141
    Colorado and LA. Colorado is a big ball park (like Citi) but is a mile high but with the games they play with the ball it doesn’t go as far as it once did. LA, you can say they have Manny in left but he wasn’t the big bopper and they excelled when Pierre played for him, but they are in a pitchers park. So do you need a power hitter or do you need a different kind of team liek Coorado and LA has???
    If you need a power hitter is Ike Davis the guy? If so why? He had a fine year in St Lucie and Bingy 20/71 in only 429 ABs…
    But go back one year and look at Bingy:
    Nick Evans 14/53 in only 296 ABs
    Dan Murphy 13/69 in 375 ABs
    Mike Carp 17/72 in 478 ABs.
    Not too differnet. And we know Murphy was average hitter in his first full year and Evans was the missing link. So how did the other guy do? He had an ok year in Tacoma 15/71 or so, not great….. So why are we sure Ike is the man???
    If he is, then you keep Murphy hope he does good and you trade him when you think Ike is ready to be the man. If you aren’t too sure you keep Muprhy or get a FA, none of which are anything exceptional or you try to trade for a big bopper and give away Ike and a whole slew more guys.
    To me, Murph is the man for 2010. If he’s good and Ike does good not be rushed to Queens then you have two good options in the winter of 2010/11 and you can actually trade one from a position of strength. If one is good then you have your answer and if they both fail then you have next Winter to figure it out. Worry about your other holes Omar…..

  48. Harry (77): Great post on the power at first base. I appreciate the time it took you to research and write this post. Thank you, and I hope to see you online soon.-JD