Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mets getting September results in April

Last year, the Mets lost nine of their last 15 games to blow the division. This year, the Mets have lost nine of their first 15 games.

It's way too early to talk about blowing the division, especially when the Mets are only half a game behind Philly and one game behind Atlanta. (Sorry, Marlin fans, I never worry about Florida until the end of the season when they rise up and knock the Mets out of the playoffs.)

Losing nine of 15 in the middle of the year is no big deal. It's bad in September, though not as bad as the 12 of 17 to close out 2007. Losing nine of 15 to start the year probably is not that big a deal, either, but until the Mets turn it around, there is always a fear that this is the real team.

Surely the rotation is not so bad that Livan Hernandez can see his ERA rise to 7.31 and still have the second-best ERA among starters. (It would have been third-best had the Mets kept Nelson Figueroa. Now the Mets are talking about a front-office meeting to discuss the pitching staff. Maybe they should have had that meeting before letting Figueroa go.)

One or more of Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez and John Maine may end up with disappointing seasons, but not with ERAs over 7, barring injury. They have track records much better than that.

Hernandez, however, did have an ERA of 6.05 last season, following an ERA of 4.93 in 2007 and 4.83 in 2006. So expectations for him should be lower.

The Mets finally face a lefty Friday, so Manuel is talking about starting both Gary Sheffield and Fernando Tatis in the outfield. Apparently, he is not sure who would play where, since neither is a good outfielder.

Opposing pitcher Scott Olsen has made three starts and has an ERA of 9.00. He has a lifetime 1-5 record against the Mets with a 4.74 ERA.

Sheffield went o for 5 today and is now hitting .111 (2 for 18, with four walks). So shaking things up by putting him in the lineup is a questionable move. Tatis at least did well last year so he has a recent track record of success.

If Manuel starts both Sheffield and Tatis, then he is starting to panic. With Johan Santana on the mound, the Mets need defense, not more hitting. Especially when the hitters are not likely to be as productive as the ones you are benching.

I do not buy the notion that Santana's games are that much more important because the rest of the rotation is floundering. Santana can win every one of his games and the Mets will have fewer wins than the '62 Mets if other starters don't step up.

But the Mets could really use a win Friday night.


"Nutball Gazette" said...

Yeap The Mets are in September form right now. I would like to think there is some light at the end of the tunnel, but I just do not see it right now.
It could be a long summer for Baseball in "all" of New York.

Anonymous said...

I think the sheffield experiment should be nearing an end. he brings nothing to the table. his one hit was an important one, but all he will do now is take at bats away from others. church should not have to sit for anyone right now, and murphy should definitely play in games against the nationals so he can get some confidence.
our starting pitching is a mess, but so is our hitting with risp. maybe tatis should start at 3rd base and d wright can take a breather. i am getting tired of his lack of clutch hitting lately! maybe willie mo can come up and show these guys how it is done!

mhochman said...

Well, if we can get our September results out of the way now, that would be good.

Bottom line is that we are playing sloppy baseball, The good news is that it's early, but it won't stay early for long. I have to agree with km, I was not dissapointed to see us pick up sheffield, as he could have been a decent bat off the bench for cheap, But unless he starts hitting soon, he's just taking at bats away from others.

Murphy is never going to get better in the outfield sitting on the pine, he has to be out there every day.

Uncle Mike said...

Nutball Gazette would like to think there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Don't you know that the light at the end of the Mets' tunnel is always an oncoming train?

Unbelievable. Last night, the Mets scored 8 runs, and the Devils scored 1 goal. Guess who won?

I wonder how many of those wasted 8 runs from last night will come in handy for The Great and Powerful Johan Santana today. Wow, he's REALLY made a difference for the Mets, hasn't he?

Then again, the Yankees recently left a four-game series with the Indians, allowing 22 runs in one game and 10 in another, and still managed to escape with a split.

It reminds me of the urban legend, of those early days of the Mets, when the Internet didn't exist yet, and if a team was playing while you were at work, and if you couldn't listen on the radio, and if you didn't want to wait until the 11:00 news to get the score, and you didn't know anyone who went to the game, you had to call a newspaper's sports department.

Depending on who's telling the story, the paper varies -- the Daily News, the Post, the Herald Tribune -- but it tells of a man who calls up a paper and asks how the Mets did today. He's told the Mets scored 19 runs. And he asks, "Did they win?"

I can't confirm the call to the newspaper, but the wonderful website says that on May 26, 1964, the Mets played the Cubs in a Tuesday afternoon game in Chicago, and won 19-1. Winning pitcher, Jack Fisher; losing pitcher, Bob Buhl. This tells me two things: A, the story is possible; and B, the wind must have been blowing out at Wrigley that day.

Mhochman makes a good point, though: If you've got these clunkers in your system, get 'em out of the way now. The Yankees got away with it in 2006, sort of did in 2007, but not last year. Hard to believe that, in each of those three years, I would've gladly taken a 9-6 record into the first Fenway series of the season.

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