It wasn’t exactly a sweep of the Yankees. Friday’s game was rained out, so we’ll have to wait until the third game is played to take out the brooms. But Mets fans can feel good for another reason; they have a great team, that by the time the season is over, will be fine. Forget all this “fire Willie” garbage. He’ll be drinking champagne with the rest of the team in October.
Pitching is the backbone of any great team. Santana speaks for himself. It’s true that Pelfrey lost his last two starts, but he pitched very well, especially in his last start, which could have been a win had Castillo and Wright bothered running the bases. Perez pitched a great game Sunday night against the Yankees, and showed that he could be back to last year's form, when he was a 15-game winner.
Maine has pitched consistently well all season, and then of course, there’s Pedro. He should be back in a few weeks. If he can last the rest of the season, then the Mets have one of the best starting five in baseball.
The trade with the Nationals, the one that everyone in New York hated, now appears to be a steal for the Mets. Milledge is doing nothing for Washington, while Church is lighting it up in New York with nine home runs, 32 RBI, and a .307 batting average.
Schneider is batting .297 and playing excellent defense. Delgado is a reason to be concerned, but he seems to be hitting better of late. And of course they’ll take what ever they can get out of Alou while he’s still healthy.
While the Mets have had some problems with middle relief, if the starters can start eating more innings like Perez did on Sunday, that should solve some of the bullpen problems. A lot of their problems were from being used too much. Wagner has been just about perfect as a closer.
Chemistry looks like it may be a problem. Wagner needs to count to 10 before he talks. Nothing is solved when he opens his big mouth. I shouldn’t know that he’s upset with a pitcher not lasting two innings, or that he’s upset with players not answering to the vicious New York media.
That should be taken care of internally. Randolph has to learn how to shut him up. But I do appreciate what Wagner was saying, it’s not fun to answer to the media, but he’s right, it shouldn’t fall on one player’s shoulders.
The Mets look like 25 guys who are at work, not like 25 guys out there having fun. It also seems like the attitude has spilled into the stands. I don’t have any official stats to back this up, but it seems like the Mets are leading the league in no-shows. The weather hasn’t been great, but there are days where it seems like there are more no-shows than fans.
It also seems pretty quiet out there. I can actually hear my cell phone ringing during the games, except when the PA systems blasts out an “everybody clap your hands” (I’m really learning to hate that guy), or if “Cowbell man” is in my section banging away.
The knee jerk reaction is to fire Willie, but what would that serve? The rumor mill had him gone if the Mets did poorly against the Yankees. Is it his laid back style that has everyone so upset? What would be solved by bringing in a Lou Pinella-type, to kick dirt and bust up a few water coolers? A busted cooler or a tossed out manager won’t solve Delgado’s hitting problems, and it won’t make Heilman pitch better. A little more fan support probably wouldn’t hurt Heilman.
The bottom line is that the Mets have not played great baseball. There is plenty of room for improvement. And with all the problems they’ve had, they are only one game out of first, and they are tied in the loss column. On paper, they have a great team. Now all they have to do is transfer some of the great onto the field.