As I headed to the post office yesterday they were covering the swimming pool in my development for the winter. What a coincidence, the Mets were officially eliminated from the NL East race last night as their offense produced yet another run.
This is an incredible scoring drought, as bad as any I’ve seen for a team I covered. Terry Collins switched the time of BP. He said later he was grasping for straws and he was right. It’s all mental now.
If they can manage to give R.A. Dickey at least three tonight he has a chance to win his 19th game. I’d love to see him get 20, I really would. At the same time, when you’re reduced to pulling for individual stats that’s really a sign summer is over as there is nothing left to cheer for team wise.
They won’t have a winning record and at this rate the Mets will finish with a worst record than last year and that’s a gloomy thought.
There are a myriad of statistics to explain what has happened to the Mets this season, but there’s one that stands out like neon. The Mets are 4-18 at home since the All-Star break. They have scored three or fewer runs in 17 of those games, including their last ten straight.
Overall, they are an unacceptable 30-38 at home as they begin a three-game series tonight against the Washington.
They haven’t had a futility stretch in scoring like their last ten since 1988. The franchise record is 11 straight, achieved – is that the proper word? – in 1979 and at the end of the 1966 season and start of 1967.
They are facing Gio Gonzalez tonight before what should be a small smattering of people with nothing else better to do. The Mets drew less than a combined 75,000 for the three-game series against Atlanta. The Jets drew over 79,000 yesterday.
Traditionally, contenders aim to win at home and be .500 on the road and the Mets have failed in both accounts.
With the Mets not expected to substantially increase their payroll next season, I wouldn’t expect there to be dramatically different team than the current edition. We’ll have to wait until they clear $50 million in salary for Johan Santana and Jason Bay after next year to see what they put on the field for 2014.
The Mets, 4-11 this season against the Nationals, will start this line-up tonight:
Ruben Tejada, ss
Ronny Cedeno, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Scott Hairston, rf
Ike Davis, 1b
Kelly Shoppach, c
Jason Bay, lf
Andres Torres, cf
Collin McHugh, rhp
The Mets honored Chipper Jones Friday night and he makes his last appearance in Flushing this afternoon. You can tell by his reception feelings toward him have mellowed. As they should. It’s one thing to jeer an opponent, sometimes viciously. However, in the end you have to admire how Jones played the game.
CHIPPER: Farewell. (AP)
I covered Cal Ripken’s last game at Yankee Stadium and he got several standing ovations as the game went long and nobody knew when he’d take his last at-bat. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer in my book and I believe most Mets fans – perhaps grudgingly – have reached that acceptance. Honestly, in his last at-bat I hope he gets a standing ovation.
In other Mets Matters:
* Jeremy Hefner was rocked yesterday, but he’s shown enough to warrant another couple of starts. I don’t know where he fits in next year. That’s what this time is about.
* Chris Young starts today in hope of averting the sweep. Young is 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA and has been rocked lately. Like a lot of others, I don’t know where he fits in. There’s uncertainty in the rotation with Johan Santana and Dillon Gee coming off injuries and not knowing if they’ll return Mike Pelfrey. Young is a veteran, cheap alternative who can usually be counted on to give the Mets five innings. After that it gets dicey. They’ll look inside first, but I can see Young getting another contract.
* Triple-A Buffalo manager Wally Backman will join the team for the rest of the season. I think Backman is the next Mets’ manager after Terry Collins. Not sure how long Collins plans to manage. He’s gotten one extension and deserves another past 2013. I don’t want him to go into next year as a lame duck.
* GM Sandy Alderson admits it’s a long shot for Zach Wheeler to crack next year’s rotation. Just as well. Let him go into spring training with limited pressure and earn a spot.
* Jenrry Mejia is scheduled to start Sept. 19 against the Phillies. I hope the Mets finally has decided on his role as a starter. Have him already stretched out and if starting works out they can always switch him back. That’s an easier transition than bullpen to rotation.
The Mets had moments this season when they clicked offensively. During those times they worked the count, went the opposite way and were disciplined at the plate. They never did hit with reliable power, but the patient approach and manufacturing runs is the best way to go anyway.
Then that all stopped. Maybe the hitters put too much pressure on themselves when the pitching faltered. Who knows?
They are sliding back into bad habits as the season winds down. After a blistering first half, David Wright is not the same hitter and is swinging with an uppercut. Lucas Duda is a lost cause at times and pitchers can get out Ike Davis working him away. Let’s not even talk about Jason Bay and Andres Torres. Daniel Murphy just doesn’t hit with power.
As much as the Mets need a right-handed outfield bat with pop, currently there doesn’t seem to be the resources to spend on a name player considering how they need to overhaul the bullpen and possibly add a starter.
Multiple media outlets are reporting what we all expected, that the Mets will lose a considerable amount of money this season – $23 million – despite an influx on money and the positive ruling in the Madoff case.
The $23 million is an improvement over last year’s reported loss of $60 million, but not enough to get optimistic over a spending spree this winter. Next year’s payroll is projected to be around $95 million with any additional bucks the Mets dole out go towards keeping David Wright and R.A. Dickey.
The rest of their 2013 building plan will be patchwork and hope of improvement from within. The Mets cut $50 million in payroll from last year to this and the reflection hasn’t been seen in the standings. In fact, in some respects the Mets exceeded expectations. Of course, when they were so low to begin with does it really matter?
A bulk of next year’s payroll will be a combined $50 million earmarked for the often-injured Johan Santana – who is out for the rest of the year – and outfielder Jason Bay, who hasn’t come close to living up to his $66 million pact. Hey, Bay could win the Triple Crown next year and he’ll still have been a bust.
Both come off the books after next year unless GM Sandy Alderson can pull off a miracle trade.