“It was like this for many years in Kansas City. Every single year.” – Beltran
The games are down to a precious few now. Would have loved for it to be this way with each pitch meaning something instead of being one pitch closer to winter. The Mets are in Florida where they could eliminate the Marlins from contention, then go to Washington next week.
Yup, there will be a lot of fannies in the seats the next six games.
The Mets, who spoke gallantly of their expectations in April, and of turning it around in July, spoke of pride and salvaging their season – maybe even .500 – at the beginning of the month.
They can’t even speak of that now after 23 of their past 31 games.
“It’s obviously been a disappointing season,“ Wright said. “At the end of the year, I’ll try to look back and make some improvements, clear my mind and get ready for next year. But it’s obviously been a grind. There’s no other way to explain it.”
Even Wright, who tries to be as optimistic as possible, said ready for this root canal of a season to end: “There’s not many positives we can take away from this year as a whole. It’s not a learning process dealing with failure. I’m ready after that last out to turn the page and get ready for next year, because this hasn’t been fun for anybody. In fact, it’s been very disappointing.”
I disagree with Wright about this not being a learning process. I’m willing to bet he’ll change his mind about that later.
I would hope so, because of all the Mets, he’s the one who must make the most adjustments to his game. Wright has gone from a .300-30-100 player to one hitting 10 homers with 131 strikeouts.
Wright adjusted his approach to taking everything to the opposite field and being more aggressive earlier in the count. Ironically, whenever Wright had problems in the past he cured them by being cognizant of going the opposite way.
OK, part of it could be Citi Field, but mostly it was Wright letting Citi Field get into his head. He conceded to the park from the outset. Another factor is without Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado in the line-up, pitchers could work around Wright more than in the past. And, without Jose Reyes on the bases, he didn’t have that cumbersome problem of getting a lot of fastballs.
Except that one in the head thrown by Matt Cain.
Wright admits it is still on his mind. Next time you see Wright batting from the center field camera you might notice him bailing a bit or twitching at a breaking ball.
When Wright returned from the disabled list Sept. 1 he spoke of confidence in ending the season strong. He has not, hitting just .235 with only five extra-base hits and 26 strikeouts in 22 games.
Jerry Manuel hasn’t closed the door for a return of Carlos Delgado to the Mets for next season. What had been a foregone conclusion might not happen.
“I think it depends a lot on the makeup of the rest of the team, if you have excess in another area – say, speed, then that balances that out,” Manuel said. “If we gear in that direction, it has to be excess if we don’t have any power to balance the team out.”
An assumption is the Mets would have more power next season with Carlos Beltran available, Jeff Francoeur there for the entire season, and the hoped-for return of David Wright’s power numbers. Given that, the need for Delgado would be lessened.
Of course, none of the above are guaranteed. Then again, neither is Delgado returning to his second-half 2008 form.
Delgado does not help the Mets get younger, faster, more athletic and cheaper. The Mets have to weigh whether Delgado is closer to being the player he was in the second half last season or the first half and most of 2007.
He also has an injury history, and age and his contract are factors. I’d rather leave first base to Daniel Murphy and use the money elsewhere, preferably pitching. The Mets are rapidly making the transition from being the team that had the World Series door slammed in their faces in 2006, and Delgado is holding onto the past.
Agree or not?
There are games left to be played, and Mets shortstop Jose Reyes wants to play in them. OK, maybe a few. All right, at least one.
This isn’t about the Mets wanting to know his health for the sake of testing the trade market, but for Reyes’ peace of mind. By extension, the Mets would breath easier, too.
“I’m going to still try to come back. I’ve been working so hard to come back, so right now I don’t want to say when but I’m still trying,” Reyes said. “I missed so much time. I’d like to come back to get my confidence back and go into spring training with a better idea.”
Reyes has been on the disabled list since May 26 after sustaining a calf injury that was only supposed to keep him out a few days. He has played in only 36 games with a .279 average and 11 steals.
At the time of the injury, the Mets were in second place, a half-game behind Philadelphia. They are 17 back and should be mathematically eliminated in a few days. Even with nothing to play for, manager Jerry Manuel would like to see Reyes out there.
“The more questions we can answer now, the better off we will be in spring training,” Manuel said.
True enough, but Reyes isn’t even doing any baseball drills. The worst case scenario is out there staring at the Mets as if it were in neon. Reyes completely tears out the hamstring, surgery is required and he’s not ready for spring training.
Reyes isn’t ready and the Mets shouldn’t be considering this kind of talk. If the odds are he’ll need the surgery they should do it now and leave nothing to chance.
Another motivation for Reyes to get out there, and it isn’t a good one, although you have to admire his pride, is he’s chapped by criticism – although nobody with the Mets is publicly saying anything – he’s dogging it.
Carlos Beltran’s return, and the possibility of Carlos Delgado coming back. has fueled Reyes’ ire.
“I don’t know why some people think I don’t want to be on the field,” Reyes said. “I live for baseball. I always play baseball since I was little. I love to be on the field. That’s my main goal. If I ready the last week of the season, I’m going to play the last week of the season.”
Tonight’s starter, Pat Misch, Nelson Figueroa, Tim Redding and Bobby Parnell have all flashed positive signs that gives one pause to think, “maybe, must maybe, we have something here.”
Then it all goes a way in a flurry or walks and home runs, a reminder why these pitchers are journeymen to begin with. Of the four, Parnell has the best stuff and is the youngest. He has the best chance. He also needs experience. This year the Mets kept him to work out of the bullpen, then turned to him out of necessity. Next spring they should make a decision and stick with it, and that decision should be as a starter.
The others? Well, if Misch, Figueroa or Redding were in next year’s rotation, it would mean Omar Minaya didn’t have a good winter, somebody is still hurt, and count on another long year for the Mets.
Misch, Figueroa and Redding have shown enough positives to where they should be invited to spring training to compete for a long man role. Misch (1-1, 3.25) earned his first major league win Thursday at Colorado, giving up two runs (two solo homers) on four hits in seven innings of an 8-3 victory.
“The key was I minimized the traffic on the bases,” Misch said. “There wasn’t any one on when they got the home runs.”
The Mets will have Carlos Beltran in the line-up again tonight. Beltran was activated from the disabled list Wednesday and went 1-for-4 in his first game since June 21.
“It will probably take him a few games to really find his rhythm at the plate,” manager Jerry Manuel said of Beltran. “I think once that starts he will get on track, so to speak. He looked pretty good.”