After a plus first half, the Mets limp into the All-Star break on the skids – definitely not the team that captivated our imagination for the better part of three months.
We all knew they had questions and issues, but played through them. Just not to the point where we can think they’ve disappeared.
Over the past few weeks, the Mets bullpen continued to implode. That wasted Chris Young start comes immediately to mind. More alarming is that both R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana have twice been roughed up. The defense has been erratic, and the overall lack of power and speed have both come into play.
Losing two series to the Chicago Cubs is just not an encouraging sign.
The Mets finished the first half with a winning record, and maybe this is just a glitch. A warming to Sandy Alderson more parts are needed.
During the break, I’ll look at what went right and wrong, what is needed, and grade the players. I’ll be back around noon.
The Mets and Phillies have had a fake rivalry, and it has been rare when both teams were good at the same time. That’s when the competitive edge of the rivalry comes into play. They are division rivals and geographic rivals, but there’s little tenseness.
An element of hate was removed when Jose Reyes left in the offseason. The Phillies despised him and his style of play and gloated whenever they could. Reyes is gone and took that spice with him.
This year the Mets are playing well and chasing Washington for the NL East. Meanwhile, the Phillies are down and have made it known they will listen to offers for Shane Victorino and Cole Hamels. Both would look nice in Mets pinstripes, but forget it.
The Phillies have been in the playoffs since 2007. This year they’ve been beset with injuries and sluggish play. This is the time for the Mets to put them away, to put three games worth of distance between them before the All-Star break.
If the Mets are as good as they claim to be, they need to continue their momentum from the Dodgers series – including overcoming the disappointment of not getting a sweep – and laying the wood on a wounded opponent.
In that sense, there’s an element to the rivalry that has been missing.
There are so many things screwed up with the All-Star process, not the least of which is the fans voting. When you can sit at your computer and click on to a player’s name 10,000 times plus is just plain wrong.
WRIGHT: Loses fan vote.
Pablo Sandoval is a wonderful player, but David Wright is having a better season, and it isn’t close. The Mets, for several reasons, aren’t drawing significantly, and that’s a major reason. Then again, the Yankees are drawing and with two teams in NYC one would think there would be a trickle down effect. Just goes to reinforce the notion one is either a Met or Yankee fan. For the most part anyway.
Wright is in as an alternate, and R.A. Dickey is in, but there’s something special about starting the game. Wright doesn’t get that honor this year, and you never know what the future brings.
I’m not saying I have the answer to this, but there’s a flaw in the current system. I’d like to see the best players get the starting role. I mean, if the game is supposed to count, then the best players should be in. At least, that makes the most sense to me.
R.A. Dickey was again masterful, and threatened to throw his third one-hitter in four games. It wasn’t to be, but it didn’t make anybody think he should not be the NL All-Star starter.
Dickey is an aberration to the normal All-Star. He’s a journeyman who is getting by on a knuckleball. Some call it a gimmick. Others call it a trick pitch. Still others thinks something is shady.
As for Daniel Murphy, who hadn’t homered since last July, and went deep twice Wednesday in Chicago to support Dickey and delivered a three-run homer last hight. Murphy was expected to take the next this season if he stayed healthy. He as already been injured.
The Mets have their fair share of marquee players, but throughout there careers Dickey and Murphy have flown under the radar. There’s no way they’ll get underestimated again.
ON DECK: Mets Matters
Terry Collins has been sweating out these days following Johan Santana’s 134-pitch no-hitter. Collins pushed the envelop with Santana and he knew it at the time. Pulling a pitcher during a no-hitter is never an easy thing to do, and Collins had a multitude of variables to consider in a short period of time. It isn’t as if he had this all mapped out, because afterall, who anticipates a no-hitter?
Chris Young will be activated from the disabled list to start in place of Santana in Washington, buying the no-hit ace extra rest. A smart thing to do. Santana’s next start will be against the Yankees this weekend.
It is also smart not to rush back Bay from the DL. He’s still not 100 percent, so what is the point to rush? The Mets have played well without Bay, and if he’s not ready, his presence can only do more harm than good.
An emerging concern is Jon Niese’s irregular heart beat. He’ll have a procedure during the All-Star break, and I’m wondering why not now? I know the Mets aren’t fooling around with Niese, but anytime you hear about the heart you have to think.
But, I concede that might be too much thinking for now. The Mets just closed a memorable home stand. Now they are about to start an interesting road trip, including the Nationals and Yankees. Can’t wait to check it out.