The sweet smell of success is in the air, just not at the Major League level for the Mets organization. While the big club is struggling mightily after dropping five of six games against the bottom of the AL West, the Hagerstown Suns and Norfolk Tides are well on their way to the playoffs. Yesterday, Gaby Hernandez threw a no-hitter that guaranteed a playoff birth for the Suns and Yusmeiro Petit was sparkling in his second start since coming back after some time off for the B-Mets. If there is a silver lining to anything, it is the future is still bright with some very, very good impact players on the near horizon. The Mets may not have a deep farm system, but there are a few players to drool over and build around.
The Mets have lost four straight series and have not won a series since visiting a bad San Francisco team. This stretch of series was the time for the Mets to get back on their feet while feasting on teams which we had thought were lesser teams. The Mets started off good enough taking the San Francisco series, but then did not take the Houston series, lost the Oakland series, and things culminated by getting swept by the Seattle Mariners even with Pedro Martinez taking the mound in the series with a 13-0 record against Seattle. That of course was before he was a Met.
Since that last series won against San Francisco, the Mets have dropped 9 of 12 and have moved down into last comfortable with a 2.5 game cushion between them and fourth place and 7 games behind first place Washington. During that stretch, the Mets have put up 27 runs, which is good for 2.25 runs a game, and their staff has surrendered 71 runs, which is good for 5.92 runs per game. It's getting late early. I know people are saying the season is still young, but the Mets are falling fast and are digging quite a hole for themselves heading into a stretch that they face the red hot Phillies twice, the red hot Yankees in Yankee Stadium, the Marlins, and the first place Nationals. Those teams have a compiled winning percentage of .542. The last five teams they face are a combined 26 games under .500, and that is when you include the first place Angels and the Astros', A's, and Mariner's records after they padded their win totals against the Mets. They were collectively much further under .500 before the Mets came into town.
I think it is safe to say these next 16 games are going to pretty much define this club for the season. They can either keep their head above water or pretty much take themselves out of the race indefinitely. They may only be five games out of the Wild Card, but it is safe to say they are not headed in the right direction.
"This is serious," left fielder Cliff Floyd said yesterday after the Seattle Mariners completed a three-game sweep of the Mets with an 11-5 victory at Safeco Field. "If we think we're any kind of good team, we can't play like this."
- Norfolk did their best NY Met impression by squandering a solid pitching performance with quiet sticks. Jae Seo went seven innings while giving up five hits, one walk, and three earned runs. He struck out five in his performance and Eric Valent provided the only Tides run on a homerun.
- Hagerstown beat West Virginia despite scoring only one run on the bat of James Burt. However, Gaby did not need much since he threw a no-hitter. He surrendered two walks and struck out six en route to bringing his record to 5-1 and lowering his ERA to 2.32. It took him 115 pitches to get through nine innings.
"I didn't think I was going to last past the seventh inning because of the organization's strict pitch count," a euphoric Hernandez (5-1) said after the game. "But once I knew that coach was going to let me go out there, I just really concentrated on throwing strikes, getting groundballs and getting in and out of innings."
The kid has figured out low A ball for sure.
- Binghamton beat Norwich 5-3 behind another stellar pitching performance by a Met pitcher. Yusmeiro Petit went six innings, giving up four hits, no walks, one earned run on a homerun, and struck out six. He is now 2-2 with a 2.74 ERA. On the offensive end, Anderson Hernandez continues to swing a hot bat going 3 for 5 with one run scored and one RBI, Bobby Malek went 2 for 4 with one run scored and two RBIs, and Mike Jacobs went 2 for 3 with one run scored, one walk, a homer, and two RBIs.
- Also, in case you missed it, the Florida St. League All-Star game happened on Saturday and three St. Lucie players played for the Eastern squad. Andy Wilson went 1 for 4 with a double and a run scored while Brett Harper went 1 for 2 with one run scored, a homerun, and three RBIs. Greg Ramirez pitched 1/3 of an inning giving up no runs and no hits. The West won 5-3.
"He's moving up a little bit in the chain," Randolph said. "I want to get him in a spot he feels comfortable. To me, 2 2/3 [innings] is really good for him. If I had left him in longer, it could have been 3 2/3 and we'd have lost him for Tuesday. Who knows how he would have responded.
"Aaron is throwing the ball well, but we know our staff and how we want to use guys."
You cannot make this stuff up. Lost him for Tuesday in case what? In case you are down by five runs and have more garbage time?
Watching the Mets is like watching any zombie movie. They look completely devoid of emotion despite getting kick around by bad teams.