Rudy responded the other day and suggested .500 was a pipe dream. Well, is it?
There have been times this season when I thought so. During spring training and after their last horrid home stand. Not a week ago I ripped Terry Collins for saying things would turn around. I saw no indication of it at the time, but this is a good trip.
I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon – cable car – just because the Mets had a fun time in San Francisco. Afterall, they’ve had good stretches before. But, all you have to do is go back to last year and St. Louis and Tampa to see teams get hot late.
I wouldn’t suggest playoffs, but .500 is not out of the question. There are several things outside of making the playoffs that would define this as a successful season, and .500 is one of them.
The Mets are 8.5 games behind in the wild card stretch, but after dismantling the Giants they are only two games under .500. You take these things in small steps and two games isn’t much to make up considering all the games remaining.
Five-hundred? It isn’t the ultimate goal of this team, but it is possible and represents significant progress.
Yes, there are holes in their game, notably the pen. But, Bobby Parnell had a strong outing in the SF series and the pen hasn’t done badly on this trip. Let’s see if they can maintain. It’s not a pennant race, but it is a small step and that’s what rebuilding teams are about.
History dictates that whoever is leading on July 4th will make the playoffs. That’s a good omen for the Mets, who lead in the wild-card chase. By the end of the month, if there are trades, then the Mets will be buyers.
Their top priority is the bullpen as they have enough offense, despite limited power, to get the job done.
Let’s look at the other playoff contenders.
Washington has the best record in the National League and with its pitching could sustain it into the playoffs. The question here is what will happen if, and when, they shut down Stephen Strasburg.
Atlanta could make a run, but the Marlins and Phillies have too many issues.
In the Central, it would be nice to see Pittsburgh hold on, but the Reds, Cardinals and Brewers are still close. This division should be a scramble until the end.
In the West, it is the Dodgers and Giants, with Arizona 5.5 games out.
Things seem more definitive in the American League. I expect the current leaders to hold on, with Tampa Bay, Detroit and the Angels the prime wild card contenders.
Very interesting note from ESPN this morning. Mets catcher Josh Thole said if Giants and NL All-Star catcher Buster Posey doesn’t contact him, he’ll reach out to him to give tips on how to catch knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
Too bad Dickey can’t bring his own catcher.
It’s a great gesture by Thole, and one that shouldn’t be underestimated. We know it’s silly, but the winning league gets home field for the World Series. Yes, that’s easily one of baseball’s most inane rules. But, it is a rule, and it could come back to bite the NL.
Suppose for a moment the NL loses by a run, with that run being scored on a passed ball by Posey with Dickey pitching. Would kind of stink wouldn’t it?
So, the call could be worthwhile.
Of course, the best line I ever hear about catching a knuckleball came from Ball Four, when Jim Bouton wrote, “let the ball stop rolling then pick it up.”
Slides often end this way, with the Mets taking out their frustration of the last four days with a 17-1 mauling of the Cubs this afternoon. Daniel Murphy, who hadn’t homered since last July, went over the ivy twice to back the solid pitching of Jon Niese.
MURPHY: Homers twice.
You can’t call this a turnaround game unless they reel off a few more, but it was a good start heading into Los Angeles. At one point, the Dodgers were running away with the NL West, but after losing eight of their last ten games, including being swept by the rival Giants, Los Angeles finds itself tied for first with San Francisco.
Chris Young goes against former Met Chris Capuano (who should have been re-signed) tonight, but with R.A. Dickey and Johan Santanta going the next two nights, the Mets will have the pitching advantage. With Clayton Kershaw starting Sunday night, LA would get that pitching advantage thereby making the series a toss up. If the Mets come home from LA with a split, who wouldn’t take that consider how this trip started?
As bad as the Mets played the first two games, they were that good today. Pitching and power; the Mets had it all together this afternoon. Will they keep it up over the weekend? It’s possible, but they showed signs of life and answered being pushed around by pushing back.
With how the Mets played the first three months of the season, it was what we’ve come to expect.
With Mike Pelfrey on the shelf – he’ll see Dr. James Andrews on Monday – and watching Chris Schwinden and the bullpen get torched last night, the Mets must get strong performances from Dillon Gee, not only this afternoon, but all the time.
GEE: Mets need more from him.
Gee, the Mets’ fourth starter, was brought up early last year and won his first seven starts, but hitters caught up with him and he finished 13-6. In his last start against the Giants, Gee gave the Mets six innings, but was hit for seven runs. Not a good tradeoff.
Last night’s four errors and an 11-run inning that overshadowed Scott Hairston’s cycle was one of those freaky things that happen. The defense can’t afford lapses like those because the Mets don’t have the firepower or the bullpen depth to overcome them.
Mets pitchers are typically working roughly six innings, which means the bullpen gets three. It got more last night. The more a pen is used the less effective it becomes over the long haul.