I always try to look for something when I watch the Mets and last night it was R.A. Dickey. But, let’s be frank, there’s nothing compelling about them right now.
DICKEY: Four more starts.
Terry Collins has often spoken of accountability, fundamentals and playing the game the right way. I can’t see that anywhere in the second half. The Mets have gone 12 straight games at home without scoring more than three runs and have lost 21 of their last 25 at Citi Field. That’s almost impossible to do.
It makes me wonder if they’ve quit on Collins and themselves. When a team packs it in it shows up on offense because players start swinging at garbage – as if to get it over with – and give away at-bats. Bernie Williams said you can’t afford to take a pitch off, let alone a play or an at-bat. Winning entails total concentration and you don’t see that with the Mets.
When they cut it to seven games below .500, silly me, I thought they had a chance to play for something. But, they’ve lost five straight. Meanwhile, the Phillies, who have been behind the Mets in the standings for a good part of the season and were sellers at the trade deadline have reached .500 and are still in the wild-card hunt. That says a lot about them.
The Mets are again closing in on the basement, and with games remaining against Miami and teams with something to play for, how can they not land there?
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.