A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mediocrity Abound

While a 2-4 homestand is not exactly something you like to see, the Mets are still three games up on the Phillies and 3.5 games up on the Braves so that is a positive. However, the Mets have been middling since June 1st and after going 34-18 (.654 winning %) in their first 52 games, they have gone 31-34 (.477 winning %) in their last 64. That is worse than the Cubs, Rockies, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Brewers, Padres, Nationals, and the Braves.

Since the All Star Break, they have looked a bit better in regards to their winning % and have posted a .567 mark since the break, but they have continued their frustrating play. Also, the Diamondbacks, Phillies, Nationals, and Rockies have all posted higher winning percentages than the Mets for what it is worth so I'm not sure the Mets should really be excited to be playing the Nats who have really played pretty well since a bad start and some possible playoff opponents have been playing some good ball of late as well.

The thing that I would say mostly characterized the Mets of '06 was consistency. The thing that I would say mostly characterizes the Mets of '07 is inconsistency. The starting pitching had been the most consistent part of this team this season, but even that is starting to succumb to what has been plaguing this team this season.

What has been the cause? Well I'm not completely sure, but it is entirely possible this team is simply not as good as we thought as previously discussed. Last year the Mets got some great years out of some mediocre players and failed to significantly improve the team in '07. I thought their bullpen would again be one of the best, but that is not proving to be the case.

Last year in the playoffs, Glavine, Maine, Perez, and Trachsel started ten games. They also totaled 46.2 innings while the bullpen picked up the slack. This year, if the starters will not be able to give quality innings, this bullpen has virtually no shot of providing similar results with a similar workload and getting past the first round might be a chore.

The Mets offense has also struggled to maintain some consistency this season. They added Alou to an already potent offense, but he has been injured all season, Beltran and Delgado have not been able to replicate their '06 seasons at the plate, second base has been largely unproductive when Gotay has not played, and right field has a .273/.317/.407 line which is completely unacceptable. So to summarize, left, right, center, first, and second have performed below expectations as a whole, which is obviously not good at all.

Just as a gauge, the red hot Yankees now have better playoff odds than the Mets according to Baseball Prospectus (their ELO version which is supposed to give a an assessment of how strong the team is right now). The Mets are obviously still in a great position to make the playoffs, but they have been negatively trending for a bit and struggling to be that dominating team that we all saw last season.

I am concerned about the Mets, but that does not mean the Mets cannot win it all. We all know it is about getting hot at the right time. The Marlins and Josh Beckett got hot at the right time, the Red Sox followed that up by getting hot down 0-3 to the Yankees, the White Sox got hot in the baseball season I forgot existed, and the Cardinals got hot in the playoffs and dispatched three teams that were better than them. If the Mets can get everyone healthy and get Pedro back by mid-September, they might be poised for a run.

Of course all of that probably does not say a lot about my confidence in this team right now if I'm looking to a hot streak to propel my favorite team through the playoffs, but it is hard not to feel frustrated yet again with this team. Even with the injuries, this team should have been a lot better than they have shown to this point and on paper should be running away from a mediocre pack.

The baseball season and similarly baseball teams are not static. This Met team is simply not as good as the one that played the first two months of the season and they are living off of that strong start and people seem to be turning a blind eye to the Mets situation and assume they will roll into the post season. I'm not so sure cruise control will get them where they want to be and something needs to be done. I've said it before, but Omar really needs to get creative here to get things going as what worked at other points in the season might not be the right thing now and whatever needs to happen does not have to be huge, but something different.

* * *

  • The Yankees are playing ridiculous baseball. Since the break, they have a .759 winning % and are now more games over .500 than the Mets and were at .500 when the All-Star break ended. I am still not giving up hope that they will miss the playoffs because the Yankees had to play some incredible ball to get to this point and to think that they will keep this up for the rest of the season is just crazy. They have to come back down to earth....right?

  • "In baseball, you never like to say ‘wasted,’" said Carlos Delgado, whose eighth-inning home run sealed the win. “But we did not take advantage of some opportunities. We could have been 5-1 instead of 2-4. There’s no sense crying over spilled milk."

  • From Larry Brooks:

    The fact is Green, who has 32 RBIs in 360 at-bats on the season, has knocked in four runs in 80 at-bats over his last 21 games and merely five in 143 at-bats over his last 37 games. The fact is also that Randolph has no inclination to give Lastings Milledge a shot at the job even on a platoon basis despite the fact the Kid has hit .309 with 18 RBIs in 95 at-bats since his July 12 promotion from the minors.

    I could sort of understand of not benching a Hall of Fame type player because of track record and stature, though I do not necessarily agree with it, but this is borderline lunacy.

  • I know there are a lot of frustrated fans out there when it comes to Moises Alou, but he is going to be play a key role with this Met team down the stretch. Four things in life are givens. Everyone has eat, everyone has to pay taxes, everyone has to shit, and Moises Alou will hit. Of course keeping him healthy is the tricky part.

  • As two-by-four pointed out, Willie's moving Jorge Sosa to the bullpen has provided some much needed depth. Sosa had appeared to exhausted his usefulness as a starter and worked himself out of a nice jam on Sunday and is really looking nice out of the bullpen.

  • An old fixture is not necessarily a good fixture. Put that baby out to pasture and if anyone is on the fence about this, just look at the picture of that apple in the article and how utterly beat up and horribly made it is. I simply cannot endorse any suggestion that involves putting that in plain site in the Mets new stadium.

  • The deadline is near for signing your '07 draft picks and the early returns have been favorable in regards to shrinking the signing bonuses. However, there figures to be a few that will test the wrath of the commissioner’s office soon.

    Only four of the first twelve have signed and even though they all signed for slot or below, they were more or less 'safe' picks that could have been expected not to be difficult or costly signs. The Mets have been solid citizens so far and stuck to the recommended slot to the dollar through the first three rounds and kept under slot in the fourth, fifth, and sixth. They really need to go over slot and bring in Brandon Efferson and the commissioner’s office owes them a freebie anyway for being one of the better teams at falling in line.

    “Do I want to take a bullet for the industry? Do I want to sit back and watch (our first-round pick) go (unsigned) for the sake of a new policy? I don’t think I can. I have mouths to feed and my area scouts and crosscheckers have mouths to feed. We have good jobs, and we’d like to keep them. The commissioner’s not paying my salary.”

    Ultimately teams have to improve themselves and it seems the power still lies in the hands of the agents and players. The only way to truly work this out is with hard caps. Even if this year proves to be a resounding success in terms of keeping bonuses down, it is the first year it will have been implemented and I'm guessing teams will keep pushing the envelope.

  • Bobby Jenks is putting together a pretty impressive streak.
  • Labels:

    18 Comments:

    Anonymous seattle steve said...

    The 2 carlos's are having off seasons so far and if that trend continues we will be lucky if we see meaningful games in October.
    Injuries are part of the games and everyone has them so we can't use that as an excuse, we have to beat up on the sub 500 teams, if we can't its wait till next year, a 10 game winning streak wouldn't hurt either.

    1:11 AM

     
    Anonymous Danny said...

    Incredibly (or unincredibly, depending on your perspective), the Mets are merely one game out of the best record in the National League, and they are 2 wins behind, so they are actually tied for the least number of losses in the National League with Arizona. I can't believe Arizona has the best record in the league, either (they have allowed 21 more runs than they have scored).

    The Mets longest winning streak of the year is 4 games. Their longest losing streak of the year is 5 games. Who woulda thunk it?

    Best run differentials in the National League:

    Philly +56
    San Diego +53
    New York +50
    Colorado +46
    Atlanta +43
    Chicago +40

    Everyone else is either barely in the positive or has been outscored.

    Everything is very tightly bunched together. If anyone goes on a sustained run of excellence they can run away and hide.

    8:11 AM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    Nope...ten games in a row and some breathing room would be nice.

    Danny the NL is ugly and the Mets do not exactly stand out of an uninspiring pack and they absolutely should.

    Of course run differential is a reliable tool when trying to figure out a record more indicative of performance, but the D-Backs might be a bit different being they are young and scuffled a bit before turning it on.

    Also, with a true ace and a potentially explosive team, they could be be a tough playoff opponent.

    9:26 AM

     
    Anonymous Danny said...

    The Tigers are reportedly going to sign Porcello for $7.7 million in guaranteed money.

    Um, wow.

    10:34 AM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    The power is still with the prospects and agents. What were they supposed to do? Not take the best arm in the draft?

    Hard caps would give them incentive to be drafted high and sign with whomever drafts them. High School kids using college as leverage leaves a team with little choice. They really could not obey the commissioner on this one and Porcello could be Hughes/Bailey good.

    11:46 AM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Still think the Mets will win the division, but they're just not as fearsome as last year. Maybe that will bode well, keep the team "sharp" for the playoffs.

    Imagine the Mets will not sign Efferson given their fear of pissing off Bud. Maybe they'll surprise me.

    11:52 AM

     
    Anonymous DG's respite from dial up hell said...

    That was DG by the way!

    11:52 AM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    DG still in dial-up hell? Swellicious.

    Staying sharp by not playing sharp? That could be the most brilliant plan ever! That’s like Seinfield’s sex to save the friendship. Interesting theory. I think Omar is going to toe the company line as well. I like Efferson, but he may not be worth drawing the ire of the commissioner, but it’s kind of annoying. The Yankees will blow by it…the Tigers will…the Devil Rays will….the Cubs will….etc. Not that Efferson is in the same universe as those guys, but he is still a live arm. The good guys get rewarded with nothing and the bad guys get great players and a call from Bud.

    11:56 AM

     
    Anonymous jake said...

    i do appreciate the non-homer perspective, but wow what a pessimistic vibe here.

    i just don't feel the same way. i feel like the mets are going to get hot, run away with the division and win the world series.

    bullpen is obviously an issue and if maine and perez don't get back on track we're screwed. but if those two tighten up then i think we're fine.

    my primary logic is that playoff experience will help the team as a whole and especially the young guys.

    also, regarding the offense, delgado is coming around. beltran is due to get healthy and start producing. castillo is doing his job. reyes has been awesome even when he's "slumping." moises rakes. if willie would just bench lasting everything would be swell.

    granted, i'm the guy who thought the redskins would win last year's superbowl and none of my optimistic pics ever work out. but i'm still convinced the mets are awesome and everyone else sucks!

    2:54 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    Jake, you would not be part of the minority to assume the Mets are going to get hot and make it into the playoffs. Contrary to popular belief, I do want them to win it all and do good. However, they have done nothing to really get anyone in the universe excited about what they have been doing and the direction they are going in. Under .500 ball for nearly three straight months? Ouch.

    RE: Maine and Perez…if they can go six and even seven (on rare occasions) the Mets will probably win those games because if they are in that late they are presumably be doing good. Willie showed he has a quick hook last year and while they’ve earned a bit longer of a leash, he is not interested in letting games get away. I’ll agree with you there, but the bullpen is leaky right now and not one person can be implicitly trusted which is the issue. Aside from Wagner, who can you count on to shut everyone down? I’m not saying things won’t straighten out. Heilman, Feliciano, and Wagner with possibly Sosa in the mix can contribute meaningful innings. However, the bullpen is not of paramount concern here. It’s part of it, but consistent offensive output and consistent starting pitching is huge as well. There are a lot of variables going on here whereas last year it was just starting pitching.

    Overall, I think the tone of Met fans is kind of one of blind faith. Not that it is a bad thing, I just see a lot of teams grouped closely together and the Mets inability to beat the Braves being huge red flags. Everyone assumes Beltran is going to play better, but he could be playing at his normal level. Glavine has gotten hit hard even in his wins and seems to be running on fumes. Perez and Maine have been hot and cold of late instead of just laying waste to everyone.

    The only guys who have trust right now to be there and performing come playoff time are Reyes, Wright, and The Duque (who has just been awesome this season). Maybe I’m being overly pessimistic and hopefully I am, but I think you can get where I’m coming from.

    3:16 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    Oh, and I think I deserve some negativity credits being I’ve given the Mets a heaping pile of praise this season. But let’s face it….adversity sells. If I wrote about daisies, puppy dogs, and ice cream cones, would anyone stop by?

    3:18 PM

     
    Anonymous jake said...

    yes i do see where you are coming from and we all know things could break good or bad.

    i guess i just feel like the mets are better than the rest top to bottom. please don't ask me to justify that because with our bullpen sucking i might not be able to make a case that we are better than the braves. i choose to ignore that bc i don't like the taste of puke.

    still...i don't see us blowing the division and if we do there's the wildcard.

    we agree the playoffs are a crapshoot so we don't know what to expect come october.

    i'm trying to be coherent but keep running up against your point of playing below .500 for months at a time.

    hopefully we can sweep the pirates.

    4:41 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    this makes me feel better
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20255686/

    4:45 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    No…Jake…the ‘just because’ argument is fine with me because mine is quite similar. At this point, you could argue either way so it really just boils down to confidence in them stepping it up a bit. But I (unlike a lot of others) are not considering the Nats pushovers. They have outplayed the Mets for a bit now and could give them fits if they are sleeping on this one….The Pirates? Not so much.

    As for the Mets blowing the division, the Mets and Braves should be within a game or two of each other either way for the rest of the season. I think they are close to even at this point. With seven games left, the Mets can solidify the division there. 3.5 games already….If the Mets can take 4 of 3, that would mean the Braves have to make up 4.5 games in less than 35 or so games. Not possible since I do not expect a collapse. If the Braves continue to spank them and take 5 of seven, well the Braves can quite conceivably outplay the Mets by two games against the field, no? For me, it’s won or lost there since I expect them to be next and next in their remaining schedules when they do not play each other as they have been for most of the season.

    You make sense, but it’s just two different outlooks. The Mets played under .500 ball, but I truly think they are better. Just a lot of things are not clicking and it is possible it clicks, but they could also continue to play in a haze. I know that is obvious, but again, it just boils down to your confidence in this team.

    That link certainly gives me the warm and fuzzies…but my main concern was not really missing the playoffs all together.

    4:58 PM

     
    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    Ostensibly the Wilpons value their friendship with Selig and desire to be model citizens and thus stay within the recommended slot but I believe it is a convenient way of minimizing expenditures, maximizing profits and deflecting criticism if they do not sign a top prospect. They are, after all, adhering to the guidelines for the best interests of baseball. The Wilpons are intelligent and resourceful businessmen that are slowly learning that running an entertainment enterprise is quite different from running an investment giant. The original owners of the Mets could never grasp the differences, especially when payrolls started to increase with the advent of free agency and destroyed the franchise to where Frank Cashen had to restore it from the ground up when the new ownership brought him in.

    It is disheartening, as a Mets fan, to see the Yankees bring up the kids and allow them to perform and feed off of their exuberance and success while it takes divine intervention to get the Mets to play LM in right field. While I exaggerate somewhat it would be more than acceptable to add the energy of Gotay and LM to what Reyes provides to a core group of low keyed individuals.

    6:16 PM

     
    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    I just saw the posted lineup for tonight and LM is playing right field with DW hitting 3rd, Beltran 4th followed by Delgado. I rescind my statement about divine intervention and carefully monitor my room for lightening bolts.

    6:25 PM

     
    Anonymous benny blanco said...

    Would i be delusional or crazy if ithoguht that once playoff time came, I expect and really think and feel the Mets will be one of the best teams. I expect domination. Am I being unreasonable?
    But I wil ladmit I am truely scared of the Rockies in a playoff series, I don't know why. Everyone else though? I'm just not scared of them. The Phillies with thier shitty starting and bullpen? I dunno how they're doing it.
    THe Braves are doing it on 2 starters and a decent bullpen.
    And then everyone else just sucks...

    Jorge Sosa in the pen. Holy guacamole! Good SHIT!

    7:06 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Time to bring in Jose Cruz Jr.
    Why is Omar waiting so long with such a quality bat out there?

    12:10 AM

     

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