The New York Mets started this season with the hopes of making up for the previous three disappointing seasons. The acquisition of Jason Bay, a healthy Johan Santana, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran and a comeback season for David Wright all made for a very promising year of baseball in Queens.
A Look Back: The Positives
I’d like to say that David Wright has been the pleasant surprise of the first half. But he is supposed to put up the numbers he has. Leading the team in home runs (14), RBIs (65), hits (102) and only one point behind Angel Pagan in average (.314), Wright has certainly proven that this is a comeback season for him, and that last year was just a fluke.
And speaking of Angel Pagan, who’d a thunk he’d be having the season he‘s having? As mentioned, he is leading the team with a .315 batting average, is fourth in RBIs (40) behind Wright and Bay, and tied for team lead in triples (6) with Reyes and Bay and stolen bases (19) with Reyes. And is it just me, or does this guy get this team going? I haven’t seen a player so fired up out there since a young Jose Reyes made his major league debut in 2003!
What can I say about Ike Davis, except I like him. As does every other fan in Mets Land. Tied for second in home runs with not-so-hot-lately Rod Barajas (11), Ike has earned his stay as the Mets first baseman of the future. He is currently fourth in hits (71), second in home runs (11) and third in RBIs (40) among NL rookies this year.
It took a little time for Jose Reyes to get going after missing the first week of the season. The whole hitting in the three-spot certainly didn’t help that. But once he did get going, Reyes surged to lead the team in runs (52), be third in hits (89) and be tied for team lead in triples (6) and stolen bases (19). Not to mention, the team just seems to win when he hits!
Normally, a good blogger would start with their Ace. I’ll get to him in a moment. I feel the need to talk about this guy named Mike Pelfrey first. Ten wins — ’nuff said. While all 45 of his runs were earned, he only gave up 7 home runs in 113 innings pitched. Oh, did I mention he has a save as well? Remember the 20 inning game? Big Pelf has done it all, and with confidence and composure, for the most part.
Now on to the Ace. We know the constant lack of run support he has suffered. But Santana continues to prove why he is an Ace, and a professional — giving all he’s got, battling through jams, and heck, even providing his own run support with his first Major League home run!
The starting rotation has been solid, considering it could have been worse (remember Ollie?). Niese, Takahashi and Dickey have all done decent to good jobs as the three through five starters. And Niese gave us the closest thing we’ve had to a no-no in a long time. That was just pretty.
Frankie “Let’s Make This Exciting” Rodriguez is on pace for a 40+ save season. Not too shabby considering he is not your typical 1-2-3 ninth inning pitcher. With four blown saves in the first half, you tend to become a tad bit concerned if at the end of the year we miss the playoffs by a game or two. But overall, he has been a solid closer, despite the near coronaries he has caused a lot of Mets fans.
A Look Back: The Negatives
If you would have told me in Spring Training that Jason Bay would only have six home runs at the All Star Break, I would have taken that bet. Although, I always say that once these “stars” become Mets, they tend to lose their edge (no, not Derek Jeter’s car). Bay is hitting .265 with 44 RBIs and 82 hits. Not really getting our money’s worth, but not a total flop either … at least, not yet!
I love Jeff Francoeur. Best arm in the game, if you ask me. However, while the Mets certainly did get the better of the Church-Francoeur deal, what has Frenchy done for us lately? Eight home runs and 42 RBIs is one thing, but what concerns me more is the .302 OBP.
Two words: Oliver Perez.
John Maine went 1-3 with a 6.13 ERA before being pulled from his final start before ever retiring a batter. An “habitual liar” about his health, who knows when we’ll see another major league pitch from Maine. No rush Johnny boy, take your time.
A Look Ahead:
The Mets could have easily been in first place. Or at least tied for it. Instead, they find themselves four games behind the first place Braves, and only a half game ahead of the Phillies. Four games is acceptable, considering there is still two and a half months of baseball left to play. And only one game out in the Wild Card race is just as sweet as one game out of first place. In the end, all that matters is the playoffs!
The second half will start with the eagerly anticipated return of Carlos Beltran. Do I think one man will make the difference? No. No matter who it is. Once the excitement dies down and Beltran gets comfortable, he will be no better, no worse than a guy like David Wright. They will be the good players that they are, but they can’t carry a team. It must be a collective effort and achievement. On the other hand, am I glad he is returning? Absolutely. I’d be out of my mind if I wasn’t.
The Mets need Bay and Francoeur (who will probably lose the most playing time to Beltran) to step it up. It may be hard for Frenchy to prove himself now, but he needs to produce when given the opportunity.
The pitching needs to remain solid. If Johan stays true to form and is an outstanding second-half pitcher, we won’t have any worries about him. If Pelf and the rest of the rotation can do what they did the first half or better, pitching will not be an issue, and the Lee trade will be no big deal to us.
Reyes needs to nip this injury in the bud and get his “bud” back out the field and do what he does best — get on, get over, and get in! As long as Wright and Pagan stay on track, and Beltran joins their hit parade, the offense should be okay as well.
K-Rod needs to settle down and throw strikes. No more dramatic ninth innings from him.
Finally, Jerry Manuel needs to learn how to manage. I’m not going to beat a dead horse, but I will say this. When the team plays well, he looks like a genius, when he has nothing to do with the success. But when the team struggles, he looks like the idiot he is, and how long do we tolerate that?
All in all, I still feel very confident that this team is a playoff contender. They come back in games that they never would have, even just last season. They’re playing harder and smarter and they have their swagger back. And they have the support of their fans behind them, stronger than they did in recent years. They believe and so do I.