Friday, December 12, 2008

Cole in Mets' stockings

I'm having trouble getting worked up over Cole Hamels calling the Mets "choke artists." (Click here to go to WFAN and hear the broadcast.) It doesn't matter what players say in the offseason - it matters what they do during the season. People got excited last year when the normally reserved Carlos Beltran pronounced the Mets the team to beat in 2008. And at the end of the year, it didn't matter.

Last offseason, the talk was that the Phillies had the Mets' number, since the Phillies beat the Mets seven times in a row down the stretch in 2007. In 2008, the Mets beat the Phillies, 11-7, in the season series. And that didn't matter, either.

What really mattered was that the Mets' bullpen threw away the season. ESPN's Jayson Stark offers several startling statistics to make this point, including:

If all games had ended after seven innings, the Mets would have finished six games ahead of the Phillies.

Stark goes on to say:

The Phillies lost no games they led after eight innings. The Mets lost seven of them -- and lost 13 games they led after seven innings.

Thanks to Omar Minaya's moves, the Mets are extremely unlikely to blow 29 saves again. And Brad Lidge is just as unlikely to go the whole season without blowing a save, as he did last year.

On paper at least, the Mets have closed the gap with the Phillies, and maybe that's why Hamels seems to be worrying about the Mets rather than enjoying his own team's success.

The Phillies dominated the postseason, winning 11 games and losing only 3. They won both the World Series and the NLCS by a three-game margin, 4-1. Over the 162-game regular season, they only beat the Mets by that same three-game margin. suggesting that the Mets were the Phillies' toughest opponent of the year.

Shouldn't Hamels believe that the Phillies won because they were the best team, not because the Mets choked? Ultimately, calling the Mets choke artists only demeans the Phillies.

But the only way for the Mets to remove that stigma is to do it on the field.


Jonmouk71 said...

I don't think any Mets fan should have a problem with what Hamels said. And if Benigno or Francesa have Youklis or Ortiz on and they call the Yankees a bunch of choking losers, I've no problem with that - we deserve it until we win it all for a change! "Save the fight for the fioeld, boys." (Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees)

mhochman said...

Thats the thing, i can't get too upset, because we DID choke the last 2 years. but, we do seem to be in the Phillies heads, as all they ever think to talk about is Mets Mets Mets.

Cesar said...

I guess I'm the only one who doesn't feel that the Mets choked in 2008. Really, with inconsistency in both offense and relief pitching all year round in '08, were any of you seriously thinking the Mets would make the playoffs and actually advance further in the postseason? Also, unlike in 2007 the Mets weren't in control of the division the entire season, and in September they blew a 3 game lead, not 7. So 2008 was an inconsistent season, not a collapse.

Anonymous said...

they choked, less so in 2008 than 2007, but the same result. hamels was speaking the truth, but that doesn't make it ok. he should keep his girly mouth shut. did you guys here this guy talk? i really thought it was a woman until they said it was cole hamels! the mets need to respond. as strawberry said, if this was done in 1986, they would be fighting. let's see how the current crop respond.

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