Keeps on taking money from the Mets’ coffers, keeps on taking life out of a team that is fading away, keeps on taking the enthusiasm we once had for this team.
Oliver Perez will be paid $13 million this year to languish in the depths of the bullpen, to see light only on the blackest of days like yesterday. He will be paid $13 million next year to do the same.
Because Perez will not accept a minor league assignment to work out his obvious problems, he has forced the Mets to play with 24, hamstringing them as they fight to stay above .500. It is his right through collective bargaining to do so, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.
It is selfishness to the highest degree.
The Mets tried to get somebody to bite at the trade deadline on Perez’s ridiculous contract – ditto that of Luis Castillo, too – but came away with no takers. Undoubtedly, he’s already cleared waivers, but don’t expect a deal of that kind in August.
If there is such a thing as flipping a switch for a team, the Mets will have to do it now. After starting their second half collapse by losing 12 of 17 since the All-Star break, they’ll have to turn it around now.
Out of 162 games, the season will boil down to six games for the Mets. Three in Atlanta starting tonight, then three in Philadelphia over the weekend against the Phillies. For a team that has been horrid all season on the road, they pretty much have to run the table to make any kind of dent.
If they win two of three, they’ll only pick up one game, so what good is that?
Whatever pride this team has left, they’d better find it now if they have any hope of playing meaningful baseball in September.
The confidence level in this team has to be high tonight because of Johan Santana, but overall, considering how they mailed it in yesterday in being mauled by Arizona it’s low. With all that is on the line for the Mets, to come up with such a showing is shameful.
How does a team that says it is a contender only win one of six games against a team like the Diamondbacks? Shameful. It inspires no confidence for this week.
Despite a 6-14 slide, the Mets remain only 6 ½ games behind front-running Atlanta in the NL East. They are a similar distance behind in the wild card.
Today’s game, with Jon Niese pitching, is very important, like they all are for the Mets these days as they can’t afford to lose any more ground before they head on the road to Atlanta and Philadelphia.
The Mets have played well at home this season, going 33-18, but have been hideous on the road at 20-33. The formula to win is to dominate at home and play .500 on the road. Had they played at that clip so far for their 53 road games they would be 27-26 at home, which would translate to a 60-44 record, or a half-game lead over the Braves in the division.
But, they have dug themselves into such a hole that playing .500 on the road is no longer an option.
As a hitter, Luis Castillo’s best spot in the lineup is as a No. 2 hitter, where he can bunt, work the count and protect Jose Reyes. That spot in the order best utilizes his offensive skills.
However, his offensive skills pale in comparison to those of Angel Pagan, who can do everything Castillo can, only better. Plus, he can hit for power and at this stage of his career is a greater base stealing threat.
After batting Castillo second for much of the week, Jerry Manuel finally moved Pagan back to the two hole and dropped Castillo to eighth. Not coincidentally, the Mets finally won a game. Let’s hope Manuel learned from this and will continue that alignment in the order.
“(Angel Pagan has) done a terrific job of getting on base and setting the table and being a good situational hitter,” said David Wright. “It makes my job and Carlos’ job a lot easier when he’s creating havoc on the base paths and we’ve got a bunch of runners in scoring position…when we struggle offensively, the best thing to do is keep the line moving like we did tonight and let the next guy do the damage.”
It stands to reason the No. 2 hitter will get more at-bats than the No. 8 hitter, so why would you want to give Castillo that many more at-bats? You don’t. Bat him eighth and be done with it.