The fear is there, but is it any worse than the embarrassment?
The fear is the Mets will cut loose Oliver Perez and he’ll find out what ails him under another pitching coach – maybe worse, it might be somebody in the NL East or The Jacket.
But, is that any worse than the embarrassment of watching Perez make a mockery of the concept of teamwork and force the Mets to play with what is a 24-man roster because of his refusal to accept repeated requests to go to the minor leagues to attempt to iron out his problems?
I would love to see the Mets attempt to suspend Perez for his selfishness for his unwillingness to make himself better, and label it conduct detrimental to the team. If an athlete doesn’t condition himself, doesn’t work out, then the team has some recourse. How is this not the same? How is refusing to go where you’ll get work different?
When you keep losing series, you’ll never get on track and that’s where the Mets find themselves today against Tampa Bay. The Mets began the month trying to avoid a June Swoon. It has turned out that way, but lucky for them nobody else in the division has been able to run away.
It’s still winnable, but not if this continues.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier in the coming weeks with St. Louis, the Yankees and Phillies again, and Atlanta.
Especially discouraging is how the Mets have lost this year. There have been a lot of tough losses: the Murphy dropped fly in Florida that beat Santana; the Castillo dropped pop against the Yankees; the blown five-run lead against the Pirates; the Church game in LA where he failed to touch third base; yesterday’s loss to the Rays; and several others, including a couple of games in which they blew a three-run lead.
Championship caliber teams find a way to win these games and that’s something the Mets haven’t done with any consistency.
Tonight’s game with the Pirates has been rained out, and despite this being their last trip to Pittsburgh, there will not be a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon.
That means a rushed trip to Pittsburgh in August or September when the Mets will need the day off. It’s just as well they aren’t playing as they need a breather. This is a bruised and battered team and the bullpen needs a rest.
Around the Horn ….
-Tom Glavine was released by the Braves which begs the obvious: Would you take him back to add some depth to the rotation which still has some issues. Glavine underwent elbow and shoulder surgery in the offseason, but said he’s ready and will pitch again this season.
-Assistant GM John Ricco said Jose Reyes experienced pain again in his calf during an extended spring training game today and will return to New York for additional tests. Translation: He won’t be back any time soon. I can’t see him back for the Philadelphia series.
-Manager Jerry Manuel said Gary Sheffield will not play during tomorrow. He’s still nursing his leg. He didn’t run well at all the other night.
-Manuel also said JJ Putz will move to the seventh inning. Hardly earthshattering news.
-Ryan Church played in an extended spring training game and says he’s feeling better. He might be ready to be activated for the Phillies series.
-Oliver Perez threw off flat ground today but there’s no timetable for his return.
One game does not make a month, but last night was not a good way to start June. Maybe the Ryan Church game in LA was worse, but it’s hard to image any more disheartening defeats than last night.
I’ve called the Mets a flawed team, and such was the case against the Pirates. The offense called it a game after the third inning and JJ Putz imploded in the eighth. Jerry Manuel didn’t help matters when he let the struggling Putz stay in after two or three hitters. It was obvious he wasn’t going to find the switch.
I wrote prior to the game that it was encouraging for the role players to step up and Reed and Valdez did that. However, role players are role players for a reason and the Mets need the return of their core big time.
We might not see Carlos Delgado this year and Jose Reyes is on the horizon. David Wright continues to slump, Carlos Beltran missed another game and there’s Putz.
The guy isn’t right. He needs to be looked at again and if something is wrong then go on the DL. He’s not doing anybody any good the way he is now.
Until Putz gets it together, Bobby Parnell should assume the eighth inning role as the bridge to Francisco Rodriguez.
Two victories over the struggling Braves (and it could have been two the other way) does not a season make.
Said David Wright: “When you win, you have energy and passion. When things aren’t going so well, it’s easy to pick apart things like that. We’ve got a good team. We’ve got good guys on this team. We’re well-prepared. We’re intense. When you win, that’s a plus – and when you lose, you start looking for reasons why.”
There have been some encouraging things the past two days, but enough of the other stuff to believe the Mets aren’t out of the woods. For one thing, they were dreadful hitting with runners in scoring position. They could have routed the Braves had they been more consistent.
And, if you’re going to squander opportunities, you can’t afford to give the opposition extra outs, which was was last night’s ninth inning was all about.
All they’ve done was win two straight games. They are home now with series against the Phillies and Braves, and don’t underestimate the Pirates, who have been getting good pitching.
Let’s see where they are after this homestand. I’m cautiously optimistic.