New York Mets: Baseball the Right Way? Yeah, Right

James Stewart-Meudt@@JSMeudtCorrespondent IIApril 12, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08:  Manager Terry Collins #10 of the New York Mets runs on the field during introductions against the Washington Nationals during the Mets' Home Opener at Citi Field on April 8, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

On April 1 this year, before the Mets had started their season, before an error was made and before a lead was blown, Mets manager Terry Collins released an open letter to Mets fans.

Perhaps he should have just kept his mouth shut.

Collins made what he called a "pledge" to Mets fans—the team would play baseball "the right way."

Has anyone seen them play baseball "the right way" or do anything "the right way" this season?

In their first two road series, against the Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets saw three of the top pitchers in baseball, Josh Johnson, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay. The Mets were 3-3 after six games and on their way home.

Sure, you'd like them to have been 6-0, but 3-3 was pretty good all things considered.

Then this home stand started, and it all fell apart.

Now they're 4-6, and there hasn't been much done the "right way."

Last night, the Mets got an "improved" performance from Mike Pelfrey against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field.

Pelfrey gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Yes, I know what you're thinking, and yes, that is "improved" considering he entered last night's game with a 15.63 ERA.

Now it's 10.80! Improvement, ladies and gentlemen!

Despite their starter actually giving the Mets a chance to win last night, the bullpen once again couldn't get the job done.

In a perfect world, the Mets would have been able to swap out Blaine Boyer and Lucas Duda for Jason Isringhausen and Ryota Igarashi to fix their bullpen. Unfortunately, I haven't won the lottery yet, so I have serious doubts as to how perfect this world is.

To their credit, the changes the Mets made to the bullpen had an immediate impact—just not the one they wanted.

Igarashi made one of two bad throws that cost the Mets last night in their 7-6 loss.

With one out in the sixth, Igarashi was brought in to relieve Pelfrey. He immediately walked Dexter Fowler to load the bases but then got Jonathan Herrera to bounce back to the mound for what should have been an inning-ending double play.

Yeah, woulda, coulda, shoulda Iga (like that?).

Igarashi threw wide to catcher Josh Thole, who was able to get the out at home, but that was it.

Carlos Gonzalez then singled to left field to tie the game at 4-4. Both runs were charged to Pelfrey.

Collins is kidding himself if he thought that swapping one reliever for another and costing himself a bench spot to add another reliever was going to improve anything. The Mets' bullpen is currently dead last in the National League with a 5.21 ERA after last night's action. They have a .323 BAA.

That's not good. At all. And it's not how baseball is played the "right way."

Yes, Boyer had been terrible (10.80 ERA in five games), but Isringhausen didn't even break camp with the Mets because the team had concerns about the health of his elbow and his ability to handle a full season.

So what changed? Did Isringhausen slip on a ball in the outfield, break his arm and now he can throw 100 mph (Rookie of the Year anyone?)?

I doubt that happened. So why should anyone think that Isringhausen, no matter how well he pitches early on, can do it for a full season? Will they be playing musical roster spots with him all season?

And what about Igarashi? That's right—the same Igarashi who posted a 7.12 ERA in 34 games for the Mets last season. What exactly is he going to fix?

The Mets had Manny Acosta in spring training, and he's nowhere to be found. Acosta had a 2.95 ERA in 41 appearances last season, and multiple scouts wondered why the Mets didn't bring him with them this season.

Instead, the Mets wanted to go bargain shopping for relievers this offseason, and when you pay bargain-basement prices, sometimes you get basement quality.

But it would be oh too easy to be able to blame the Mets' struggles on the bullpen.

Let's give the offense some love too.

Through their last four games (1-3), the Mets, as a team, have left 26 men on base and are 10-for-43 with runners in scoring position. For the season, the Mets are batting .257 with runners in scoring position. After the sixth inning, the Mets are batting .202.

That's not going to get the job done.

Angel Pagan, a year after leading the team with a .290 BA, is off to a putrid start to his season, batting just .179. Brad Emaus, Collins' choice for second base (or should I say J.P. Ricciardi's choice), has looked terrible, hitting just .167 with one RBI.

The Mets are getting amazing production out of Jose Reyes (.340 BA, three stolen bases) and Ike Davis (team-high .351 BA and 11 RBI), but they can't get those big hits when they need to.

Sound familiar? I thought this team was supposed to be different, Mr. Collins.

Last night, the Mets led the Rockies on two separate occasions, and each time the Rockies came back to tie it.

And who won the game in the end?

On Sunday against the Washington Nationals, the Mets wasted a seven-inning gem by Chris Young and lost 7-3 after taking a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning. Yes, the bullpen completely imploded that game, prompting the roster changes Collins made, but where was the offense?

The Mets struck out 17 times in that game and failed to score a single run after the fifth inning.

All in all, there's nothing "right" about the New York Mets. They can make all the roster moves they want, but it's not going to make much of a difference if they can't make the plays they need.

Collins took over the team preaching the "fundamentals." And that's fine, but why is that being treated like a new idea. Are you going to tell me that Jerry Manuel, or Willie Randolph before him, never had the team focusing on the "little things"?

Of course they did. But sometimes it comes down to the personnel.

Okay, the bullpen blows a lead—score some runs. You've got a chance to get out of the inning—make the easy throws.

There's still a lot of baseball to play, and the Mets have plenty of time to turn things around, but it was important for them to get off to a hot start, not just for the fans, but for themselves.

Instead, they've made a left instead of a "right."


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