Trouble in Flushing: A Rain Out and Cliff Lee

Joe FiorelloCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 16:  Cliff Lee #31 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the New York Yankees during opening day at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. This is the first regular season MLB game being played at the new venue which replaced the old Yankee Stadium as the Yankees home field.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

A few weeks ago, Mets fans were begging for rain outs.  Anything to play less games before all the injured superstars return.  Less games meant less losses.  This week however, a rain out might be a recipe for disaster.

The Mets were hot.

Winners of four in a row with their ace, Johan Santana scheduled to make a start.  They had been gaining ground on the wild card, though not on the Phillies every day.

Rain, at this juncture, may be the worst thing that could have happened.

The team will play a day night double header today to make up the game, with Johan pitching the first shift and Jon Niese pitching the night cap.  I like the Mets chances for a sweep, but I liked them better if they got to play their game last night.

Unfortunately, due to a big trade yesterday by their division rivals, the rain cooling the team off may be the least of the Mets worries.

Last season's AL Cy Young award winner, Cliff Lee, is now on the Phillies.

Lee's numbers are not nearly as impressive as they were last year when he sported a 22-3 record.  He's only 7-9 this season, but is still sporting a 3.14 ERA in 22 starts.  His HR/9 is at 0.6 so far for the season, but will surely jump quite a bit playing in the band box that is Citizen's Bank Park.

What does this mean for the Mets?  It means the Phillies are that much better, and the Mets will have to improve in order to compete with them.  How can they do so?  By making a move for a new starting pitcher.

The Mets have injuries have shown some fundamental flaws with the team, but has also strengthened a lot of areas.  A lot of players have gotten a lot more work than they would have otherwise, and this will help the team in the long run.

The starting pitching was an issue at the beginning of the season, and it's become more of an issue with Oliver Perez's ineffectiveness and John Maine's injury.  Adding a No. 2 or No. 3 starter to the rotation is the key to this team's success in my opinion.

What kind of chips do they have to offer other teams for top teir pitching?  In my opinion, Angel Pagan's emergence as a solid fourth outfielder makes Fernando Martinez a little less valuable. 

Jon Niese has showed great potential in his limited time in the bigs, but trading a pitching prospect for an established starter, especially a top tier starter, is always a good idea in my opinion.

Wilmer Flores is a top prospect at shortstop, but as long as Jose Reyes is in the long term plans for the Mets, having a top prospect at short is not a high priority, and he should be moved while his value is high.

All three of these guys could be packaged in a deal for a guy like Roy Halladay?  A guy like Roy Halladay would put the Mets over the top, and break the barrier between playoff team and championship team.

Depending on how the rest of this home-stand goes, the Mets may well find themselves back in the playoff hunt, and making a move like this would seem a lot more important. 

Less that two weeks ago, I was saying the Mets should throw in the towel, but they're right back in the mix now, so getting the injured players back and making a move to improve their rotation should be a top priority.

Again, this whole situation could go right back to where it was before the winning streak, and the Mets could have a double digit deficit to overcome for the wild card too.  If and when that happens, I might call it a season (again).

Until then, I gotta believe.

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