The bad news is after only a week and half we are already in the cellar of the National League East. The good news is that we ARE leading the league in something: Excuses!
After 7 games our Mets have the 2nd worst record in the league. It seems that we are once again sleepwalking through yet another season. This team is still playing with a lack of urgency and determination. After losing 4 out of 6 at home to the two (supposed) weakest teams in our division, the Mets hit the road and John Maine promptly got his ass kicked. After allowing 7 hits, 8 ER and walking 3 in just 3 IP, Maine looked like a deer in headlights in the post-game interview. Bewildered and completely out of sorts, Maine fell right in line with what has become this team’s trademark. Excuses.
After Johan’s loss Sunday, Mets “manager” Jerry Manuel (and I use the word ‘manager’ loosely) said the team was “unprepared.” A week into a brand new season and the team is “unprepared”? Now correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that the point of spring training? To prepare? Isn’t one of the duties of a “manager” to GET his team prepared? I always get a kick out of how Manuel points out problems with this team as if he has no control over it.
In my opinion Sunday’s loss to Livan Hernandez strikes at the heart of one of many problems facing this club. It’s not just the way we play but the mindset we approach the game with. After Sunday’s loss David Wright said, “…when Livo is pitching like that, not making any mistakes, it’s tough to come back from that deficit.”
David, David, David. Come on now. That shows that you‘re giving up hope. ‘When he’s pitching like that?’ ‘Tough to come back from that deficit.’ Is this the attitude that permeates the Mets clubhouse? Is trailing by 4 runs to Washington in the 1st inning really insurmountable? Maybe the game should have just been cancelled at that point. If trailing by 4 runs is too much for the Mets, then maybe the fans should have been given a refund.
I’m not taking anything away from Livan Hernandez. But…it IS Livan Hernandez!!! Can anyone imagine Gary Carter in 86 saying, ‘Boy oh boy, that Clemens guy had good stuff’? Or in 73, when we pushed the far superior Oakland A’s to 7 games, Rusty Staub saying, ‘That Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue and Rollie Fingers aint too bad’? After we lost game 1 to Baltimore in 69, I don’t recall Gil Hodges claiming, ‘We weren’t prepared.’
How flat and lifeless is this team? Normally the return of your lead-off hitter would inspire. However, the Mets are 0-3 since Jose Reyes has returned. Of the 5 games we’ve lost, we trailed in every game, never even having the lead. In 4 of those losses, we allowed runs in the 1st inning. The other game we waited until the 2nd to fall behind. How disheartening is it to always be trailing?
I know many fans think it’s too early to panic. And maybe it is. But let me ask this: Last year the Phillies won 93 games. Can anyone tell me how many they won in April? I don’t know either. Baseball is funny like that. It’s the total wins for the season, not month by month. To use an old cliché, a win in April counts just as much as a win in September. Think these games don’t mean anything? Well, how different would 2007 have been had we won just one more time in April? How different would 2008 have been had we won just one more time in April?
Lets look ahead for a moment. If, by some chance, our Mets find themselves in a pennant race as summer gives way to fall, if September is ticking by and we are playing scoreboard, watching the results of what the Phillies and Braves are doing, lets think back to these games now. One game can mean the difference between going home or playing into late October.
Hopefully, it wont take our Mets too long to wake up. As for me, I’m not prepared for a long season.