After starting the week in scintillating fashion with a three-game shutout sweep of the Phillies, the Mets are in danger today of being swept by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Here’s something to mull over: The Brewers had won only six home games this season, and could have half that with a victory today.
It has been a disappointing first two games, with Jerry Manuel pulling Johan Santana after eight scoreless innings Friday and Fernando Nieve spitting the bit yesterday, turning his start into nothing more than a long relief appearance.
It was infuriating to learn Manuel didn’t consult Santana on how he was feeling before yanking him. What a disrespectful thing to do to the ace of your staff.
I won’t say the positive feelings about the Mets in the wake of the Philly series were dashed last night, but they were tempered.
Two things were especially apparent.
The first was their inability to hit in the clutch as they did against the Phillies. They didn’t have many, but they had enough where they could have won. When the bases are loaded with no outs, you should score at least one by accident.
The second was the use of the bullpen. At 105 pitches, Johan Santana was not done. He should have at least been given the first base runner. There is also the use of Ryota Igarashi at the expense of Pedro Feliciano in the ninth. Feliciano is your most reliable reliever and proven to be able to get out right handed hitters. As long as he was in there, he should have stayed.
As long as Jerry Manuel was hell bent on going with the percentages, why didn’t he look at Igarashi’s numbers since coming off the disabled list. In three appearances, including last night, he has given up five runs on five hits for a whopping 27.00 ERA.
He might be healthy, but he’s not sharp. The only thing sharp last night was Santana, and his performance was wasted by the offense and bullpen.
After another successful homestand – and it doesn’t get much better than a shutout sweep of the Phillies – the Mets hit the road to Milwaukee and San Diego.
Bizarre scheduling, yes, but nonetheless another obstacle for the Mets and challenge for manager Jerry Manuel. The whispers have eased about his job, but if they continue to stumble away from Citi Field could easily resurface.
This trip is one letter away from a trap, in that the Mets must guard against the inevitable letdown after beating the Yankees and Phillies. Milwaukee has the worst home record, but hasn’t always been an easy place to play for the Mets and the Padres have a good team.
The Mets are bearing down on the Phillies for the NL East lead, but they are still only a few games over .500 and have shown little ability thus far at winning on the road.
A baseball season is long and arduous. It is about sustaining power and that’s something we haven’t yet seen this year.