Jerry Manuel Needs to Stop Making Excuses and Deal With New York Mets' Injuries

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IJune 19, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 31:  Jerry Manuel #53 of the New York Mets comes out of the dugout against the Florida Marlins during their game on May 31, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Earlier in the season, when talking about injuries, Jerry Manuel said he wouldn’t worry about who’s not on the team but instead would only concentrate on who they have on the roster at the moment. We’ll just have to go to battle with who we have, he seemingly said.

He wasn’t going to sit around waiting for Carlos Delgado to get back, because who knows if the first baseman will even return or what shape he’ll be in if he does. And last season, with the all the injuries the Mets had (granted, not as many as this year), Manuel and the rest of the team rarely ever brought it up or used the depleted roster as an excuse.

But somewhere along the line, Manuel has changed. He brings up the injuries after almost every game and constantly references all the players on the disabled list and how the team is hoping and waiting for their return. It’s time for him to stop making excuses and mentioning the injured players day after day.

The roster is what it is—deal with it.

About one-third of the team is on the DL, and that has surely hurt the Mets, but if we take a closer look, they could easily be in first place right now. Let’s make a list of games that they had all but won yet still somehow pulled a defeat out of their magic hat:

The Luis Castillo Dropped Pop-Up Game

The Ryan Church Missing Third Base Game

The Carlos Beltran Not Sliding in St. Louis Game

The Daniel Murphy Dropped Flyball vs. Florida Game

There were a few (many?) more, but if the Mets would have won those right there, they’d be in first place right now. Without a doubt, having a full complement of players would have made this season easier for the Mets, but injuries had nothing to do with these losses.

Losing to substandard teams is now becoming an issue for them also. In games against teams that are below .500 as of today, the Mets have a record of 18-14.

In April they went 4-5, but were 2-4 vs. Florida when the Marlins were looking like they would be this year’s version of the 2008 Rays (but are now this year’s version of the 2008 Marlins), so maybe we shouldn’t count those games.

In May, the Mets did what they were supposed to do, going 11-3 against Pittsburgh, Washington, Atlanta and Florida.

But now in June, they’ve been a disaster, with a 3-6 record against the Pirates, Nats and Orioles. You can’t win every game against the bottom feeders, but coming out of every month with at least a winning record is not too much too ask for. These are series that a contending team has to win.

So Manuel needs to stop bringing up the team’s injury situation every chance he gets. He needs to stop making excuses—the dog ate my homework, an old friend came in from out of town, something suddenly came up—and start getting his team to play fundamental baseball and, for the love of god, get them to hustle once in a while.

Surely having a thin roster has a negative effect on the Mets’ production, but it’s the lack of focus and mind-boggling sloppiness that is the real killer for this team.