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Assessing 2009: All-Star Break Through August

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Assessing 2009: All-Star Break Through August
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

This is a continuation of my series, Assessing 2009. Click for previous articles on: Francisco Rodriguez, the Offseason and Spring Training, April through May, and June through the All-Star Break.

The Mets started a pattern following the break, that they didn’t stray much from often—losing games early in series and salvaging games either pitched by their best pitcher or mailed in by their opponents.

They dropped three out of four to the Braves coming off the break, winning only a contest on a Saturday pitched by Santana (who, after that start, rattled off 15 straight scoreless innings), and then dropped two of three to the Nats on the road.

 

They got on their last little “run” of the season following the Nationals series. They had a nice series win in Houston, although in that series Johan Santana got shelled in his start. After winning two of three at Minute Maid, the Mets came back home and dominated the Rockies. They won an exciting contest in the first game of the series that featured a pinch-hit grand slam by Fernando Tatis, and lost the back end of a day-night doubleheader to just miss a four-game sweep. The Mets then prepared to host Arizona to wrap up July.

Although the Mets lost their series in Arizona, they again got late-game heroics on a top-of-the-ninth grand slam by Angel Pagan, keeping some fans (including this writer) hooked.

Following a split of a short set against St. Louis at home, the Mets set out for cavernous Petco Park to continue their trend of losing to bad teams. They dropped two of three to the Padres, the first loss of the series being a particularly memorable one. Francisco Rodriguez, who had been pitching very sparingly, entered the ninth with a one-run lead and walked the leadoff batter. He then gave up a double on which the tying run scored (on review, the runner was clearly out). Following two more runners reaching base, Rodriguez surrendered the first grand slam of his career to light-hitting Everth Cabrera.

The Mets avoided a four-game sweep by getting eight strong from Johan Santana and winning the final contest 5-1. They then were bested by Arizona in a three game set. (I’m sorry if I’m beginning to bore you, but there was nothing fun about August. Even the wins weren’t entertaining, and they lost often and to bad teams).

They didn’t win a series in this month, and the amount of games they played in the month that I actually didn’t feel like I wasted my time watching could be counted on one hand.

After that San Diego series, it was more of the same: losing two of three to Arizona. Splitting four with the Giants, a series which featured David Wright going down at the hands of a Matt Cain fastball to the cranium. A dropped three-game series to Atlanta. Losing three of four to the Phillies (although, that one win was a nice game pitched by Big Pelf). The month ended with series losses to the Marlins and Cubs.

This section of the season was definitely the least enjoyable for the Mets. Aside from a one-week span where they won five of seven from two teams better than them (Rox and Astros) the games they played were not interesting or enjoyable, not just from the standpoint of a Mets fan, but for any baseball fan.

The Mets played awful baseball. They allowed the wheels to fall off and ran the bases incredibly poorly, pitched terribly, and continued to get bad news off the field. This run from the All-Star break to the end of August featured the Tony Bernazard scandal (not getting into it), the Santana injury that had been postulated for months, Wright’s injury, the failure of Bobby Parnell’s conversion to a starter, continued struggles by Daniel Murphy, and the Frankie Rodriguez saga where he never pitched and stunk when he did because of his lack of use.

There’s nothing to take from these months. If you’re still reading, God bless you, you’re as big a fan as me. And stay tuned, because next comes the finish to the season and grades, and then my plan for going forward.

 

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