Coming into September of 2008, the New York Mets are 82-63, one win less than they had at this point last year. That makes Mets fans wonder: Will there be a repeat of last year's collapse?
The difference between last year and this year is that the New York Mets are coming into September with more confidence than they had last year. They have been knocking off good teams left and right and have impressed many doubters.
Although the Mets have experienced recent success, don't expect this success to last much longer. With the state the Mets roster is in now, it is absolutely remarkable that they are in contention for a playoff spot, let alone the division championship.
For the Mets to win these last 16 games players need to step up and play their hearts out. But even if the New York Mets made the playoffs, how could they win with so many flaws on their roster?
Earlier this season, the Mets bullpen was considered to be one of the worst in the NL. Critics said that the Mets would go no where with the bullpen the way it was.
But recently the Mets bullpen has been outstanding. With Billy Wagner down, Luis Ayala has come in from a terrible season with the Washington Nationals and has converted seven out of eight save opportunities for the Mets.
But the way Ayala pitched in Washington makes the fan wonder, if the Mets do make the playoffs will they be able to compete without a real closer? Ayala has been great so far, but how about under playoff circumstances? How can you rely on a guy with a 5.17 ERA to close out games? You cant!
So what other replacements are there? Well for one, Al Reyes, the former Tampa Bay Devil Ray closer, pitched great last year as a closer hasn't pitched one game as a Met. Why not give him a chance?
So what he has had a bad year, doesn't mean you shouldn't atleast give him a chance. There would definitely be more room for comfort if he was closing out games instead of the usual "I hope Ayala doesn't blow this one" comment.
As a team, the Mets are tough competition. They have magnificent hitters like Carlos Delgado, David Wright and Jose Reyes. They even have decent pitching with one of the best pitchers in baseball in Johan Santana.
But who would be the third pitcher for the three man rotation in the playoffs?
Johan Santana is the ace. Mike Pelfery certainly is No. 2. But what about the third spot?
Pedro Martinez would be the first person to come to many peoples mind, but what about the way he has pitched this year? In 17 games with the Mets, Pedro has a 5.44 era and a 5-4 record. That's not good enough for a number five spot pitcher.
The only other options seem to be Oliver Perez, John Maine and Nelson Figueroa.
Perez has been troubled throughout the season with control problems and has not been to great as a starting pitcher for the Mets, but is know for great performances in the playoffs as shown in 2006.
John Maine hasn't pitched a game in weeks due to an injury. It would be better if he went easy on himself and pitched out of the pen.
Nelson Figueroa, despite having a high ERA, has been a decent pitcher for since being called up for the second time.
Nelson Figueroa brings another veteran pitcher in a playoff situation and allows Oliver Perez to come in early if needed. Imagine. Nelson Figueroa starts out the game, pitches five innings of good baseball and then Oliver Perez takes over and finishes off with his over powering pitches.
After the collapse of 2007, who knows what will happen this year. But the Mets will go nowhere with the pitching they have now.
Serious changes need to be made, and they need to be made quickly before their playoffs hopes are gone.