Will New York Mets' Downfall Begin with Weekend Series?
As much as I hate to admit this, I think the Mets have been overachieving this year.
I'm not sure anyone would have guessed that they would have been playing this great of baseball this year.
No one expected stellar performances from R.A. Dickey, or even Angel Pagan. David Wright was a huge question mark, especially given his peculiar 2009 season. Jose Reyes's health has been in question.
The beginning 2010 season saw a Reyes-less opening day, awful performances by John Maine and Oliver Perez, and a lot of responsibility put on the shoulders of first-time big leaguers.
Yet, on July 10, the Mets are still 47-40, which is good enough to be a full game up on the Philadelphia Phillies. However, 47-40 is not very good, considering how well the Mets have been playing this season and how shaky they have been playing of late.
If the Mets had been overachieving thus far, maybe this week, and specifically this series versus the first place Atlanta Braves, could mark the Mets' fall back to earth.
Today, the Mets lost to the Braves by a score of 4-0, putting them four games back of first place, and giving them a three-game losing streak.
This losing streak is their longest since May 16. While this streak is not very long, and the Mets are still very much in the playoff race, that is not what concerns me.
What is specifically concerning is the performance of some key Met players during this minor skid.
First, Mike Pelfrey has not pitched very well recently. In today's loss, Big Pelf lasted only four innings plus, surrendering 12 hits and four runs. In his last three starts, he has given up 12 hits, nine hits, and 12 hits respectively while giving up 15 runs.
He has not lasted more than 4.2 innings in any of these starts, while his ERA has risen from 2.71 to 3.58.
Pelfrey's recent struggles are definitely concerning me. But we can simply hope that the root of these problems is a tired arm, and the All-Star break will really help him return to form. If he doesn't pick his play back up, however, it means big trouble for the Mets.
Despite Pelfrey's struggling, at least he is healthy. Another big concern for the Mets right now is Jose Reyes.
A few days ago, Reyes injured his oblique and missed a few games. Since returning from his minor injury, he was only able to bat right handed, and did so even as a switch hitter against righty pitchers.
Today, however, Reyes seemed to re-injure himself while making a play in the hole at shortstop. He was pulled out of the game, and has since announced that he will not play in the All-Star Game.
The Mets have undoubtedly played their best baseball when Reyes is healthy and playing like the typical Jose Reyes.
He is still one of the most exciting catalysts in baseball, and the Mets are extremely successful when Reyes scores and drives runners in.
Luckily, Reyes also has the upcoming All-Star break to rest. But if he has to miss any prolonged amount of time, that will also pose a serious problem for the Mets.
Mets fans can only hope that this recent rut is nothing to be too concerned about. A three game losing streak is not a big deal, and if Pelfrey returns to form, and Reyes stays healthy, the Mets should be fine. Plus, they get Carlos Beltran back after the All-Star break.
This weekend series was a big test for the Mets, and a sweep versus the Braves would have put them in first place going into the Midsummer Classic.
Unfortunately, with one game left vs. the Braves, the Mets have not had quite the results they had hoped for.
While a lot of questions have arisen from this series, the most important question the Mets have to answer is how they will bounce back after their three-day rest.
Hopefully they will, as the NL East has been unforgiving this year.
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