Hope is the best of things June 20-21

2010 Mets return back to form

After Friday night’s win, the most negative Mets fan figured that the Mets would get at least 1 of the next 2 games with their 2 aces on the mound.  However, in typical Mets form, they failed once again to put their foot on the throat of a better opponent.

Much like the 2007 and 2008 season, the Mets will bring you to a point where it looks impossible for them to fail, and then they pull a performance out of the blue that makes you want to rip all your hair out.  What we are left with is yet another embarrassing episode in our long history of bowing to the team from the Bronx in losing 5-3 yesterday and 4-0 today.

Let’s face facts.  The Mets are nothing near the Yankees.  Even with injuries all over the place and facing our so-called “aces” and with the Yankees getting just 2 hits with RISP this entire series, they still stomped all over the Mets.  An offense that obviously only feeds on the bottom feeders of the league was shut down on three straight days. On Friday, Takahashi was up to the task. However, Pelfrey and Santana, yet again, Santana let the Mets down.

After putting together a very impressive 19-5 run, after losing 2 straight the Mets find themselves still 2-and-a-half games back of the Braves.  Here are some of the Mets biggest concerns this season.

Jason Bay has been a DISASTER

Slumps happen to the best hitters.  Three month long power outages and toothpick hitting OF with RISP only happen to Jeremy Burnitz and Jason Bay.  I love it how Yankees fans whine about the struggles of A-Rod or Teixeira and you look up and both of them have over 8 HR and 40 RBI.  If you want to know what “struggles” are, then look at the abortion of a season that the Mets starting LF is having.

Jason Bay power numbers through 67 games

2010     4 HR    27 RBI

2009   18 HR    65 RBI

2008   14 HR    36 RBI

2007   11 HR     46 RBI

2006   19 HR     52 RBI

2005   12 HR     33 RBI

2004   14 HR     46 RBI

Compared to last season through the same amount of games, Bay has 14 less HR and 38 less RBI.  Any Mets fan would take the DIFFERENCE in the power numbers from last season to this season.  It makes you think that why would the Red Sox let go of a player in his prime that drove in 119 runs and hit 36 HR for them last season for Mike Cameron and Jeremy Hermida?  Did they know something the Mets didn’t know??? Obviously, because Jason Bay is making the decision VERY easy for Mets management if and when Carlos Beltran comes back.  Forget about Francoeur and Pagan going to the bench, Bay should be escorted to his favorite spot and not move until someone needs a day off.

The Rod Barajas obsession is OVER

He was a nice story through the first 2 months of the season, belting HR every few games, and coming up with his share of clutch hits.  Somewhere in the last month, however, his career caught up with him.  Since Barajas hit his last HR on May 31, he has just 2 XBH with no HR and no RBI while seeing his BA drop over 25 points.  He has worked very well with the pitching staff, which I guess is his main reason for being on this team, but the offensive threat he was earlier this season is gone.

Rod Barajas – Since June 1

H-AB      8-44

HR            0

RBI           0

XBH          2

Whaddya Bench?

The next area of concern is the Mets bench.  While fans are infatuated with Chris Carter, a career-minor leaguer does not a good bench player make.  After hitting his 2nd 3-run HR of the road trip last Sunday, Carter went 3-22 with 0 HR and 0 RBI for the rest of the trip.  Overall he is hitting .231.

With his 0-3 today, Fernando Tatis now has gone almost a calendar month without a hit, going 0-14 since his single in the 8th inning on May 23.  His BA on the year is a robust .179 with 2 HR and 6 RBI.

Alex Cora and Henry Blanco have been excellent defensive players for the Mets, but no one will ever brag about their offense. Cora by far this season has been the Mets most productive offensive player, driving in 14 runs in just over 100 AB.

Overall their pitching has been very solid.  However, the inability of their aces to step up in first the Phillies series and now the Yankees series is a BIG cause for concern. Perhaps the Mets biggest problem over these last 3 seasons has been their lack of killer instinct.  In 2007 and 2008 they took leads of at least 2 games into the final week of the season which were played at home.  In both cases they failed.  They had multiple chances earlier in each season to bury their opponents but failed to do so (lost final 8 games vs Phillies in 2007).

Fast forward to 2010.  Early in the season they were riding a 9-game win streak after defeating the Phillies in the first of a 3-game series at Philadelphia.  They then lost the next 2 games by a combined score of 21-5 with their 2 aces on the mound.  That sent them into a funk where they lost 14 of their next 20 games.

After taking the first game of this series, the Mets had an 8-game winning streak. Again, with their 2 aces on the mound, on the road against a rival they get embarrassed, losing the final 2 games of the series by a combined score of 9-3 and not scoring for the final 15 innings.

I mentioned in a previous blog that the aura of this team had changed.  That the loser, quitting mentality and overall victim, woe is me, status of this team had changed. Perhaps I spoke to soon, or perhaps I was blinded by hope.  Whatever it was, this team now has the next few weeks to show us what it’s true colors are.

In order to keep the fans feeling good about this team and for their own self-psyche, the Mets need to end the losing streak right here and take at least 4 of 6 in this next home stand.  However, if they continue to have problems scoring runs and their pitching reverts back to mid-May, then we will have seen the best of the 2010 Mets and their season will be over.

Top 10 Regular Season moments in Mets history

6.  Piazza tops 2-out rally with blast off Mulholland – the date was June 30, 2000 and the Mets were playing their hated rivals the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium.  Trailing 8-1 in the bottom of the 8th, Robin Ventura grounded out to drive in Derek Bell and move Mike Piazza to third base, however there were now 2 outs. Todd Zeile then singled to drive in Piazza and make the score 8-3.  Jay Payton then followed with another single to put runners on 1st and 2nd which prompted Braves manager Bobby Cox to go to his bullpen and bring in Kerry Ligtenberg.  Ligtenberg walked Benny Agbayani to load the bases, then walked PH Mark Johnson and Melvin Mora to cut the Braves lead to 8-5.  Cox again went to his bullpen, this time bringing in lefty Terry Mulholland.  Mulholland then walked Bell to cut the lead to 8-6 and make it 4 straight bases on balls for Braves pitchers.  So…situation is bases STILL loaded, STILL 2 outs and the score now 8-6 with Edgardo Alfonzo coming to the plate.  Fonzie quickly fell behind in the count 1-2.  Fonzie then ripped the next pitch into the 3b-SS hole and into left field.  Joe McEwing (who had PR for Mark Johnson) scored and Mora raced home with the tying run.  Shea Stadium was now in a frenzy.  Up stepped Mike Piazza with the chance to give the Mets the lead.  Piazza hammered Mulholland’s first pitch like a bullet down the left field line.  Never getting any higher than 10-12 feet off the ground, the ball caromed off the padding in between the auxilary LF scoreboard and the fence to give the Mets a 10-8 lead.  Shea Stadium had now reached a noise level where the stadium was shaking.  Piazza was greeted by high-fives and a curtain call. Ventura grounded out to second to finally end the inning, but the damage was more than done.  Armando Benitez then closed out the Braves in the top of the 9th to give the Mets an improbable 10-8 victory.

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About Mark Kelly - CKMagicSports

Sports Historian that is well versed at the four major sports first, then College Hoops, Football, Olympics, Tennis, Golf and NASCAR. Former ESPN Researcher in Bristol, CT. After a 10-year career working in everything from SportsCenter to ESPNNEWS to Cold Pizza. Had to retire due to complications from Cancer treatment. I am a now 25-year survivor that still suffers everyday from the side effects of chemotherapy & radiation. Suffer from Crohn's disease and Lymphedema everyday and started a website called CKMagicSports.com that I do podcasts on that you can help support by clicking on KNOCKOUTCANCER link on my CKMagicSports website. https://www.gofundme.com/KOCANCER Read more about my 25-year battle with the disgusting side effects of this disease here. http://www.ckmagicsports.com/marks-story/
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