Forty one games into the season, the Mets are 22-19. I know people are saying the Mets are exactly what they were predicted to be, an average team. The consensus was that this team is a .500 team at best by most fans and most experts, so no one is surprised that they are three games over .500 at this point. However, I'm not part of that group of people that think this team is just an average team. I'm not saying they are the cream of the crop or class of the National League, but they are certainly going to contend and do have chance of finishing on top of this tightly packed and very competitive National League East.
Coming into this season, I thought the starting pitching would be the biggest strength of this team. With the addition of Pedro Martinez and Kris Benson, Victor Zambrano, Tom Glavine, and Steve Trachsel returning, this rotation, one through five, looked like it would have kept the entire team in games every start. Seemingly, there was not a real weak link. They finally added their ace and Kris Benson and Victor Zambrano looked poised to move up the food chain in terms of being dependable pitchers that could slot in the front of the rotation. After Trachsel got injured and the Mets acquired Kaz Ishii, who has been in large part a very good pickup, and has had solid returns with a 3.96 ERA, 5.76 K/9, and a .157/.287/.277 line against him despite an 0-2 record. As advertised he's walked people and lot of them. In fact, he's walked more batters than hits given up.
W L IP HR H/9 K/9 BB/9 K/BB WHIP ERA BAA
14 15 244.3 27 7.70 7.66 3.54 2.17 1.25 4.38 .234
Martinez, Seo, Ishii, and Heilman all lead the team respectively in BAA with .154, .156, .157, and .238 and have been by far the best four starters this season. Did anyone bet that Seo, Heilman, and Ishii would have been three of the best four starters? I'm going to guess not likely, but the rotation looks to be settling down. Tom Glavine has seemingly benefited from Martinez's tip, Benson is coming off a solid start and will get into the swing of things, and Zambrano is at least not on the DL and that is the best thing I could say about him. Should he continue to falter, the Mets rotation will actually be better if he is removed and that speaks to the depth that they have acquired over the first part of the season in the rotation.
The bullpen was not a very big concern of mine this year as I thought the Mets would have enough useful parts to comprise a gritty pen that would get the job done. Though it has not shaped out like I expected with Roberto Hernandez being the best Met reliever, which was completely unforeseen by anyone, they are not a liability.
Current Reliever's Stats:
W L IP HR H/9 K/9 BB/9 K/BB WHIP ERA BAAOverall Reliever's Stats:
6 4 95.3 12 8.97 7.93 3.59 2.21 1.40 3.59 .259
W L IP HR H/9 K/9 BB/9 K/BB WHIP ERA BAA
7 4 105.3 12 9.06 7.53 3.81 1.98 1.43 3.89 .263
The bullpen has been pretty good and I think it will better. Heath Bell will mature some more and evolve into a great one two punch of set up men with Roberto Hernandez. Combine that with the fact that Aaron Heilman will be given a shot to stick in the bullpen (for now) with Scott Strickland most likely to find his way onto the club and being that Looper has been much more effective of late than in the early goings of the season, this bullpen has a big chance to move on up.
Their offense, unfortunately, has been what I expected it to be. Streaky and lacking patience. Getting on base is not something they particularly excel in, but this group is much better than last year. To end the season in 2004, the Mets had a .317 OBP, which ranked 14th and this season they have a .331 OBP, which ranks twelfth. They lead the league in homeruns, they are fifth in RBIs, and they are ninth in batting average, but one colossal disappointment and something everyone thought they would be tops in the league in was stolen bases and stolen base percentage. While they are fifth in the league in steals, I feel they should be higher and will most likely climb the ladder once Beltran and Matsui get going. As for their stolen base percentage, they are sitting in thirteenth place with a .62% success rate which is borderline ridiculous for the speed and skill this team should have on the bases. The team will improve in this area and the offense overall will be adequate once the starting pitching comes around and good enough to carry them through this season.
The Mets are a team finding their identity and for a team still finding themselves, three games over .500 and 1.5 games out of first is not too bad right now. This team had a lot of turnover and some early injuries to key players. In time, they will gel. The have a lot of directions they can take and have surplus of starting pitching, some pitchers still available for the pen still, and a solid corner outfielder should Cameron be used as a trading chip if needed, and we all know Omar is not done with the 2005 Mets. Steve Trachsel is on track to come back by the All Star break and is going to see his doctor on Monday to see if he can get cleared to play catch. The Mets also have players who got off to bad starts and are starting to turn it on like Mike Piazza, David Wright, Kazuo Matsui, and Tom Glavine. I still maintain that this team can and will contend for a spot in the playoffs. Overall, the first quarter of the season has gone as good as can be expected and they will hit their stride this season if they can avoid the major injury problems that have been plaguing this team for the past few seasons. This team has not given me reason to be anything but optimistic this year, and while some people take this first quarter to mean mediocrity, I take it as a positive. They have holes and have hung in there, but things are working themselves out and this team is not done taking shape.
- Hagerstown lost 2 – 3 to Lakewood. Matt Durkin took the loss and went three innings, giving up three hits and five base on balls while striking out two. Yes, five walks. Durkin has not looked so hot after an impressive start.
- St. Lucie got shut out against Sarasota. In the loss, Milledge went 0 for 2 with two walks.
- Norfolk has it’s second blowout win in two games. Steve Coyler continues to pitch well and went two scoreless innings. He has a 3.27 ERA with three walks in nine innings while striking out fourteen. I’m still skeptical of his past control issues, but he could definitely be a viable option if he continues to pitch well.
But there appears to be no timeline for Bonds' rehab, because right now, there is no rehab. Bonds' case is in the hands of Dr. Robert Armstrong, an infectious disease specialist. And that won't change until Dr. Armstrong is certain the infection is completely absent.
Tom Glavine moved into sole possession of 34th place on the all-time win list with 265 victories. He needs one more to catch Bob Feller and Eppa Rixey. ... Perhaps odder than the victory was that Glavine hit a batter. It was the first time he plunked a hitter since Sept. 14, 2003 - a streak of 1,177 hitters.
And once this was over, the focus could finally be on the Yankees. Or not.
"Do we get rings if we win this?" Doug Mientkiewicz asked. "What can someone possibly tell me about how exciting this game is going to be? Yeah, it's going to be a packed house. I played in a World Series. It can't get any bigger than that. I won Game 7 at Yankee Stadium to go to the World Series. You can't compare. It's not even on the same planet. You ask those guys - you think they're geeked up about the Subway Series? They'll look at you like you're crazy."
The frustrating first five weeks of Glavine's season are behind him. In yesterday's outing, he was not his best, and still it didn't matter. Glavine still found a way to keep the lead and eke out a win.
"I kept asking him if the sun was okay," left fielder Cliff Floyd said. "He told me to shut up."
“If I had a son,” one area scout says, “and he was in the major leagues, I’d want Scott to represent him. But if he’s an amateur, there’s no way.”