Well, with 32 games now in the books, we probably have enough of a window to figure out exactly what this team is slated to be for the 2010 season. Approximately 20 percent, or one fifth of the season has come and gone, and the big question to ask is, are the New York Mets a .500 baseball team, masquerading as a contender?
I have screamed up and down about the overrated offense of this team for the past three years. Finally, other people have started to see exactly what I'm referring to. This team's production with runners in scoring position sticks out like a sore thumb.
David Wright is on pace to strike out well over 200 times, which you can tolerate, IF he was a 40 HR hitter. Right now, he's not.
Jeff Francoeur and Rod Barajas got off to hot starts, but naturally, that has cooled off. However, I do think they will both be fine, particularly when Barajas gets moved further up in the batting order.
As for Jose Reyes in the No. 3 spot, once again, this has become a forced and failed experiment that will end soon.
Of course, Ike Davis has been a pleasant addition. However, if he has to be moved up to the cleanup spot, because the rest of the offense is ineffective, then this team is in a lot more trouble than any of us realize.
The bench has been solid, as a whole, although it is a short bench with Jerry Manuel and Dan Werthen going with 12 pitchers. Now, the pitching staff as a whole has done well. Problem is, it comes in different spurts, with the starters pitching well, and the bullpen going into the tank, and vice versa.
I was a big skeptic of Hisanori Takahashi in spring training, but he has pleasantly surprised me. He has by far, been the Mets best guy out of the pen. Having said that, they will clearly need to establish an eighth inning guy going forward, which I think will be Jennry Mejia, and Francisco Rodriguez will need more save opportunities—and to convert them.
Some good, some bad. The classic signs of a mediocre baseball team. Unfortunately for the Mets, championships are not won by being mediocre. Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya will find that out the hard way, if this team doesn't start consistently winning.
There's still four fifths of a season left to play. We haven't even talked about the non-existence of Carlos Beltran, and the mighty struggles of Jason Bay. I guess it depends on whether you see the glass half-full or half-empty approach. Right now, I think Mets fans are just happy that the glass isn't shattered and broken.
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