The only thing worse than getting swept by the woeful Arizona D’Backs, is actually staying up to watch all three losses.
There’s plenty of blame to go around, but make one thing clear, this isn’t just an ordinary team slump, this team is sinking fast.
All the good vibes and great clubhouse chemistry that seemed to fill the back pages in the first half, had disappeared in one fell swoop. One Met player told the NY Post last night, that “things are desperate”.
A closed door meeting before the game did little to fire the team up. The fact of the matter is that they rolled into Arizona and played dead against a team who hasn’t swept a three game series in almost a year. The worst bullpen in the last 50 years silenced the Mets bats and rendered them impotent.
There are so many things that are terribly wrong right now, it’s hard to find a starting point.
The Mets have registered just one win since Carlos Beltran’s return. He looks great at the plate and rusty in the field, but the players around him went into the tank almost immediately after his return to center field.
Jason Bay has been a flat out disaster and after nearly four months, has hit just six home runs. Last season, the Mets got 20 home runs out of left field between Gary Sheffield, Fernando Tatis, Daniel Murphy and Angel Pagan who all logged some time there. In 2010, the Mets decided they would upgrade, but that has hardly been the case.
The return of Oliver Perez has hovered over this team like a black cloud. He pitched an inning and a third and looked terrible despite the scoreless stint. If you look beyond that you saw a pitcher struggling to hit 84 MPH with his fastball, with no control, and the good fortune of some terrible situational hitting by the D’Backs who got Perez off the hook.
A rag tag rotation has delivered plenty of quality starts in recent weeks, most of them ending up in the loss column. Their ace Johan Santana should have a 13-4 record to go with his 2.87 ERA, but thanks to some ill-advised calls to the bullpen by Manuel, he has just seven wins despite allowing two runs or less in 13 contests.
There are no signs of life or motivation in the lineup. Anyway you slice it, that has to fall on the manager whose job it is to keep the energy and morale high. Yesterday, Manuel joked that his next stop might be the street after last night’s 14 inning loss. It reminded me of when Willie Randolph joked that Omar was in his office with a machete, a few days later in Los Angeles he was fired. Omar Minaya is meeting the team in Los Angeles for the Dodgers series. It sounds very ominous to me.
The Mets have needed a number two starter for two years now, and Minaya has either chosen to ignore that fact or is prohibited from adding any additional payroll. Over $20 million dollars has been slashed from last year’s budget with the promise that it would be there for in season additions. However, given the chance to take on Roy Oswalt, the Mets made it clear they were out before they were even in. The same goes for Cliff Lee. Instead their searching the scrap heaps where the quality of available pitching is no better than what they already have, giving the Mets a net result of zero. They will pay for this costly error with thousands more of empty seats at Citi Field after this dismal road trip that has felt like a slow and grueling torture for the fans.
When the first half ended, I implored readers to enjoy the ride in the second half. I had no idea we would be sliding down a 50 foot rusty razor blade.