Where Art Thou Pedro?
They may not have be winning, but least they were having fun!
"What's killing us is we don't have that energy on the field or in the clubhouse," is what Billy Wagner was saying during batting practice Wednesday. He was talking about the way the Mets have been pushed around lately, by the Dodgers, the Yankees, and by Johan Santana on Tuesday.
It's hard to believe the current meltdown – they've lost 13 of 16 after Wednesday night's 6-2 loss to the Twins – would've been this long or this ugly if Pedro had been around. Wagner said as much when he noted, "We don't have that one guy in here who guys get all excited about.
"Not even Glavine, the way he carries himself, does that. With Pedro, it's like his charisma rubs off on people. It's like, 'Yeah, Pedro's pitching today.' We could use that."
This was a quote from Billy Wagner last week and it is disturbing. Winning has a way of creating happiness and makes a clubhouse seem lively even if it’s not, but a flat attitude could spell disaster for the Mets this season. The Mets truly looked like they were having fun last season and that truly appeared to be a huge part of their success. As Klapisch pointed out, it is strange to think that could be the case when you look up and down this roster, but I guess it is possible there are just too many even keeled people on this team without one true leader and not one guy that everyone looks to for inspiration or looks to for some much needed levity.
Wright certainly looked like that guy and the word on the street is that Willie is a good motivator, but lots of things have come to light in regards to Willie during that horrendous streak the Mets went through that people are starting to see. Even my friend who is a staunch supporter and rescued Willie's bobblehead from my garbage is starting off conversations with "what he hell is Willie thinking?" Of course it is easy to dissect and pick apart things that contribute to losses, but I think some things have become clear.
Willie’s bullpen use is erratic. His lineups are mind bending at times. Granted this team should produce no matter in what order they are arranged, but they haven't and Willie has at points put this team in rough spot to score runs by not optimizing their lineup. His inability to determine when his starters are done is also hampering the team and letting games get away. Every Tom Glavine start aside, him sending Ollie out there in the sixth at about 98 pitches after five laborious innings was curious in Perez’s start against the Twins. I know you do not want to tax the bullpen, but the game was a close game and they simply needed to get back on the wagon by winning a series. Why send Ollie back out when the chances of him making it through are slim? Why make him throw 110+ pitches if he has struggled mightily through five? I didn’t get it then and I don’t get it now. I turned off the game at that point.
Finally on Sunday, Willie had Easley in right and Gomez in left. Now, Easley is not exactly a butcher out there and has been solid in the outfield this season, but why isn't the better fielder of Gomez and Easley in right? Small gripe here that didn't affect the outcome of the game, but that is a no brainer that was glazed over. To me, that is elementary and though I can maybe see Willie's thought process of wanting to leave Gomez there since that is where he'll be spending the most of his time, Carlos has played fifteen in right and twelve in left. He is officially a backup at any of the outfield spots as is Easley and should be more than capable with to switch back and forth. The better fielder should always be in right field and that is a simple decision in my eyes unless Green is out there.
Overall, the Mets are seemingly back on track at this point but the horrific stretch they went through shows that this team is perhaps not as good as we thought they were. They recovered some runs on their run differential, but the lack of production from Delgado and the bullpen is a big issue for the Mets. At this point, they are getting no power from right, left, or first base and Beltran is no longer hitting so much that it makes up for a weaker hitting guy at your typical power spots. Some of this will get alleviated when Moises returns, but it is still going to be a lingering issue and especially an issue if Moises just cannot stay on the field. Their rotation is proving to be fine, though another arm would be great and would free up Sosa for the bullpen, but there are other issues here.
It is a good thing Omar is a tireless worker and continually looks for ways to improve the team even in times of prosperity. The Mets should not be happy with their current configuration and should look to tweak things a bit if they plan on making a legitimate run at the World Series. Their starting pitching is solid, but not good enough to ride through the playoffs. They will need a need a deep team and consistent offensive production to go along with the quality starts that this team has been throwing up there on a consistent basis. The good news is there is time to figure this all out as not one other team in the NL East has a positive run differential and the Mets should see little resistance in getting to the playoffs.
Rob (London, UK): Keith: What do you expect from Billingsly as a starter? How difficult is the transition from the bullpen mid year? Don't know much about his stuff. If he only had one or two good pitches it may explain his success in relief.
SportsNation Keith Law: Two very good pitches, chance for a third average pitch. I think the time in the bullpen is going to help him - it's the old Earl Weaver plan, break a kid in as a reliever (or, in this case, re-break him in) before moving him to the rotation. I think he'll be a big help if they let him make 20 starts the rest of the way.
We've talked about the above topic in this space time and time again. One has to wonder how that would not be the proper path for Pelfrey to follow at this point. He has nothing to prove at AAA, but cannot really cut it as a starter in the bigs just yet. He has one '+' pitch and two other fringe ones. Do you think he should be able to excel in one inning spurts? Do you think his groundball tendencies might be nice when a double play is need from a reliever? It is extremely possible he can succeed out of the bullpen in ‘07 and I don't think he should get sent back down after his spot start. This pen needs something and Vargas and Humber are not exactly lighting the world on fire and have not earned a look at this point.
Brian (Brooklyn): Name one guy still in the minors who could be an MVP within the next 5 years. Longoria?
SportsNation Keith Law: Maybin would be the top choice. Other names: Adam Jones, Fernando Martinez (struggling this year), Jose Tabata (if his power develops as I expect).
Andy (chicago): In your estimation what is the top 5 farm systems?
SportsNation Keith Law: Again, in no particular order, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Boston, Arizona, and the Mets. These are heavily impacted by promotions, though, so the fact that, say, Colorado's not on there any more is more of a reflection of the fact that Tulowitzki and Iannetta are in the big leagues than a decline in their talent level.
I'm assuming Law is going off impact prospect because I cannot see how the Mets are a top five system. Nevertheless, it is good to read.
nilsaparker (6/21/2007 at 5:03 PM)
Are you trying to anger The Haren? I hope The Haren doesn't read this blog entry because he may very well decide not to allow any more hitters to reach base. Fear The Haren.
That was from Neyer's last blog on him....
Fear the Haren...go head. You know you want to.
His .289 OBP is beyond bad and his glove is not exactly carrying his bat. I really liked Shawn Green getting the start at first. While he is not exactly putting up numbers you'd like to see from a corner outfielder or a first baseman, he is at least producing. Carlos cannot keep playing everyday and when Alou comes back, Willie should be rotating people in and out. Gomez or Milledge should be getting inserted into right with Green shifting to first a few times a week to try and get maximize production. Also, it may be time to slip Delgado further down the lineup and it will be especially time when Alou returns, which may never happen at this point.
Let's take a look at the All-Star voting. We'll begin in the National League, where Carlos Beltran is the leading vote-getter, followed closely by Junior, and Alfonso Soriano. Soriano does not deserve to be there. David Wright at third. Jose Reyes does not deserve to be the starter; that should be J.J. Hardy. No quarrels on the right side: Chase Utley and big Prince Fielder, and there is no debate that Russell Martin should be the catcher.
This is such a pervasive problem with the one-day-a-week-ers. They simply fail to exhibit extensive knowledge of the sport as a whole and are completely uninterested in looking at any stats other than wins, era, average, homers, and RBIs. They also rarely pay attention to player trends as well and fail to notice when someone's numbers look so great because of six weeks of play as in Hardy's case and has been ok since.
For the most part, you are talking about guys who do one game a week and have the entire week to prepare for their game. The saddest part not only is that these guys just don’t take an hour out of their day to comb through the league (and that is reaaaaly sad), but it is that there are probably more casual fans watching those games and certainly more fans from other teams that receive false information from these telecasts from 'experts' who make their false statements with such conviction. Out of all of the possibilities and commentators out there, the guys they have put forth are just horrible. Instead of maybe talking up a Matt Holliday or Miguel Cabrera to try and garner more votes for them, they use their ability to reach vast numbers of fans to propagate false information. Not so swell.