The .500-or-bust beards are being shaved off one by one.
They’ve gone 2-6 since the "easy" part of their schedule commenced, which was going to springboard them into the Wild Card race. And their relievers are giving up grand slams left and right to lose games.
This is the first time in five years that the Mets won’t be in contention during the last two months of the season. So why bother watching?
Well, here are 10 reasons to stay glued to the TV when the New York Mets are playing:
1. Daniel Murphy
The Mets are going to need a first baseman next season, and Murphy’s finally found a position that he can play and play well...it happens to be first base.
If he’s going to be the first baseman of the future, the team will need to find a power-hitting left fielder (Matt Holliday?) because even though he’s hitting cleanup right now, he’s no cleanup hitter. He’s been struggling at the plate this season after his initial success last year, but has started to make adjustments.
His average stands at .252, up from a season-low .234, and he’s starting to hit the inside pitch now.
Flopping around out in left field probably affected his hitting, and when finally moved to first, Jerry Manuel yanked him in and out of the lineup, which didn’t help him either, but the Mets can use the rest of this year to see what they have in Murphy.
Not every player’s career has an upward trajectory. Do the Mets have the patience to let a player develop?
2. Bobby Parnell
With the season-ending injury to Jon Niese, the Mets have moved Parnell into the starting rotation. This would have been the perfect time to take a long look at Niese, but now they get to see how Parnell fares as a starter.
His debut on Saturday wasn’t great, but the Mets have nothing to lose with this decision (unless, of course, Parnell blows out his arm—but let’s face it, every Met has a 50-50 chance of getting injured just by waking up in the morning; those odds only go down slightly while the players are sleeping).
He threw 68 pitches (42 for strikes), lasted 2.1 innings, gave up two runs, four hits, walked three, and only struck out one. He mainly used his fastball, and when he did throw his slider, he couldn’t control it. Let’s see how he does the rest of the season.
3. Jeff Francoeur
He’ll be manning right field for the Mets next season, so we might as well track his progress this year.
Can he bounce back from his troubles in Atlanta to be a middle-of-the-order threat again? So far it looks good. In 26 games with the Mets, he’s putting up a .300/.330/.450 line, and has four home runs and 19 RBI. He plays every day, and his teammates love him.
4. Oliver Perez
Unfortunately, Ollie’s going to be around for a few more years (thanks, Omar!).
Is there any chance he’ll turn his career around? He had his best start of the year on Friday in San Diego (6.1 innings, one run, two hits, seven strikeouts, and only two walks).
But can he do that consistently? It’s doubtful. But watching him pitch is always entertaining. Usually in an entertainingly bad, I-think-I-want-to-kill-myself kind of way, but entertaining nonetheless.
5. Billy Wagner and Carlos Delgado
Can both Wagner and Delgado get back on the field fast enough, so the Mets can trade them? The sooner they’re off the team, the better.
Tune in, and you may see Wagner make his last appearance as a Met...and does anybody want Livan Hernandez, Gary Sheffield or Brian Schneider?
6. The Best Announcers in Baseball
The current team on the field may be bad, but the Mets still have the best announcers in baseball.
No matter what is happening in the game, Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez always have something interesting to say, even if they’re just talking about their dogs. And how big of an improvement is Bob Ojeda over Lee Mazzilli on the pre and post-game shows? He’s the rookie of the year.
7. Johan Santana
He’s a joy to watch, no matter where the Mets are in the standings. Santana not only can pitch, but he can hit too, as he proved yesterday. He’s the biggest competitor on the team, and he just knows what he’s doing when he’s standing on the mound.
8. Tune in for Another Omar Minaya Fiasco
Omar Minaya may have already put the final nail in his coffin with the Tony Bernazard/Adam Rubin press conference, but one more mistake and he’ll be out the door...we can only hope and dream.
So, tune in for another possible Minaya fiasco that's bound to happen sooner or later.
9. David Wright
The home run watch is on. Will David Wright be able to reach double digits this year? He’s up to eight, so it seems likely, but you never know.
10. Being a Mets fan
Instead of watching the games, will you use that time to be a useful and productive member of society? Of course not. You’re a Mets fan. You have to watch. What choice do you have?