Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 17, 2007

What an utter disaster this weekend was for the Mets, the only compensation being that the Phillies are still 4 back in the loss column and the Mets' last 14 games include one game with a team that's 8 games under .500 (the Cardinals), 6 with a team that's 17 under (the Nationals), and 7 with a team that's 19 under (the Marlins), whereas the Phils have three games with Atlanta, three with the Cards, 7 with Washington and none with the Marlins.

It's bad enough to lose to the Phillies on their strength - the offense really is hard to stop - and the exposing of the Mets' weakness, their middle relief. But much of the past 8 straight losses to the Phils has been the result of the Mets failing to capitalize on the Phillies' weak points (not scoring even adequately on their weak pitching staff, especially the bullpen) and being betrayed by their own strengths - the best defensive team in the league making 6 errors in a game (at one point yesterday Jimmy Rollins had induced an error or botched defensive play on five consecutive plate appearances), Billy Wagner blowing games, the best base stealing team in the league repeatedly running themselves out of innings (as Gotay and Reyes did in the pivotal sixth inning on Saturday, including Reyes' boneheaded caught stealing at third to end the inning, while Carlos Gomez failed to take a key extra base Friday night, costing the Mets the chance to win in regulation).

At this point, I'm counting El Duque out of the postseason picture until we see him make a healthy outing again; it's ironic (or worse) that after all those years of postseason glory in the Bronx he may be out or effectively useless in October two straight years with the Mets. Some of that may be that the Mets have actually expected him to hold down a rotation slot all season rather than just giving him weeks off in midsummer to stay fresh, of course.

What does that leave for the October staff? Pedro and Glavine are definitely in the rotation; Glavine has righted the ship recently after some doldrums and while Pedro hasn't been as dominating as 17 K, 4 BB and 0 HR in 16 IP and a 1.69 ERA would suggest (it's not an accident that he's allowing more than a hit an inning), he looks plenty crafty enough to deserve a rotation slot in October. For now, that suggests a rotation of Pedro-Glavine-Perez-Maine, and the bullpen would include Wagner-Heilman-Feliciano . . . but after that, who? I hate the idea of using Mota and Schoenweis in a postseason game (even Randolph has to be out of patience with Mota after yesterday), and Sosa has been in a tailspin lately. Sele has been growing cobwebs in the pen, and he's really done nothing to make me trust him. I'd like to see Joe Smith get a shot if he is completely healthy, but he needs some appearances in the majors again. Collazo and Humber are totally unproven and at this point unprovable commodities. About the only other option is Pelfrey, who has finally been putting things together lately. Pelfrey at least doesn't give up home runs, but while he's never terribly wild, he still needs to show more consistent ability to put the ball where he wants it if he is going to pitch important innings in big games.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:27 AM | Baseball 2007 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Crank, I was at yesterday's debacle and it was brutal. I've been watching the Mets since 1983 and, in context, this is the worst performance I've ever seen from them.

I believe the Phils has the lead-off man on the first 6 or 7 innings, either by walk or error mostly. Beltran's homer totally energized the crowd (I heard "finally!" about 20 times around me) and then...Mota.

At this point, you have to wonder how much psychology plays into this. The team looks whipped against the Phils.

Posted by: mikeski at September 17, 2007 10:28 AM

I was at Saturday's game. It was bad, but Sunday was worse.

Posted by: The Crank at September 17, 2007 3:02 PM

It's different, though, isn't it? When you can look at your team after a bad series and qualify it as a disaster, calmly evaluate your team's performance and how it reflects on your postseason. It's different with the Mets these days. You kind of know that your flaws may beat you in the end but other teams are flawed also and you stand mildly encouraged about your chances.

I was in Boston this weekend, when the Yanks came back from behind 7-2 on Friday and their fans were shell-shocked, just miserable. They were happier after the Yanks lost badly on Saturday, not because they now had a chance to win the series (which they didn't,) but because their team, which has dominated the AL this season, was not going to be swept.

I'd hate to be a Sox fan and carry all that around.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 17, 2007 3:20 PM

Great weekend for me. I travel up to New York from DC and watch the Mets get beat at Shea on Saturday (at least the various fights breaking out in the upper deck kept things entertaining), and then yesterday I went to Giants Stadium and watched the Giants' defense lay down to the mighty Packers' offense. And then, just to add insult, my bus was delayed getting to the Lincoln Tunnel. Why? All those Pennsylvania drivers heading home from Shea, trying to get over into the right lane.

Posted by: paul zummo at September 17, 2007 3:37 PM

This weekend encapsulated what I have thought about the Sox and Mets for quite some time. They don't seem to have the ability to throw the knock out punch. The Mets needed only one win and the Sox two to ensure that the Divisional race was effectively over and both came up short. And they both did it by throwing away games they should have won. I look at both these teams and see the two most complete teams in AL and NL respectively. As a Sox fan I have little faith in them getting to the WS this year since I have not seem them put (specifically) the Yankees away when they have had multiple chances to do so. I would feel the same way as a Mets fan letting that bag of rag arms in Philly hang around this long. Ugh.

Posted by: jim at September 17, 2007 3:49 PM

I have the Sunday ticket package... this was hands down the single worst Mets game I have ever seen, and the first one I've left early when I was driving and had a choice in the matter.... just disheartening.

Posted by: Rory at September 17, 2007 9:40 PM

. . . and then there was last night's debacle.

That 6th inning was the most disgusting display I've ever seen by the Mets. They did nothing right that inning. Nothing.

Even Willie screwed up with that idiotic double switch.

Posted by: Mike at September 18, 2007 7:19 AM

Go Phillies!


Posted by: AcademicElephant at September 21, 2007 11:56 AM
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