Believe me when I say this, but I am not taking a drink of the Kool-Aid. I never expected the Mets to contend this season and don’t expect that to change.
I still think over the next six weeks the Mets will attempt to shed payroll in the names of Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Francisco Rodriguez. I don’t know what will become of David Wright, but I know they won’t, and can’t, trade him now because he’s injured.
Despite the low expectations from this team coming out of spring training, and regardless of the maddening ball they play at times – they still don’t hit with runners in scoring position and I can’t believe Reyes didn’t get that ball the other night – they are fortunate to be 28-31, an amazing three games under .500.
If they had any kind of bullpen, the Mets would be over .500 and we’d be thinking about the wild card.
Even though that’s not the case, the Mets are playing some surprising ball considering all that’s gone awry. Truth be told, when you look at all their issues, they are lucky they aren’t ten games or more under.
Let’s look at it:
* They haven’t have Johan Santana all season and don’t figure to get him until July, if at all. That’s an immeasurable loss.
* Their de facto ace, Mike Pelfrey, has been inconsistent. Not Oliver Perez inconsistent, but he hasn’t taken the next step expected of him after last season. There were many who thought he could evolve into a 20-game winner this year.
* Chris Young is out for the season. He was a reach anyway, but pitched well in spots before he was injured.
* R.A. Dickey, last year’s surprise, has been off, although he’s pitched better lately despite being 3-6.
* Jon Niese had high expectations, but is 4-5 after a slow start.
* The Mets’ bullpen is ranked 25th in the majors with a 4.37 ERA, and has a 10.43 ERA over its last 14 games. The Mets have been outscored 42-18 in the seventh inning and 38-26 in the eighth. They have been outscored 103-65 from the seventh inning on.
* The Mets have lost eight games when leading after the sixth inning. The Mets have lost nine one-run games and four two-run games.
* Josh Thole has been hot lately, but overall his .234 average has been a disappointment. Defensively, he’s had his problems with passed balls and throwing out runners.
* Ike Davis has been on the disabled list since May 12, and there’s no word on his return.
* Wright is on the disabled list with a stress fracture of his lower back, but prior to that was hitting .226 with 18 RBI.
* Jason Bay was on the disabled list to start of the season, but has rebounded to hit .216 with two homers and 10 RBI. Rebounded, of course, was written with sarcasm in mind.
* Angel Pagan was on the disabled list for a month, and last year’s surprise is hitting .229 with home homer and 10 RBI.
This was supposed to be an ugly summer, and despite all that’s gone wrong it hasn’t turned out that way. The Mets have been remarkably competitive and it makes one wonder what things could be with a healthy roster, some players performing to their expectations and a better bullpen.
When you look at the total picture, which also includes the distractions from ownership and the potential of a roster purge, the Mets have played surprisingly well and fortunate to be where they are record-wise.
If we could be sure the team would stay intact the rest of the year, and even add a piece, it could make for an interesting summer.
Would be nice to find out, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards.