The Weeks Ahead: One Last Chance

An article by posted on August 3, 2010

I know, no sane fan can come away from a 14-1 flogging at the hands of one of the worst teams in baseball and shout “Who’s Next!”  As a Met fan these days, however, sanity is not an option.  Even with bitterness in my heart and vinegar running through my veins I have to at least wonder (rather than yell) “Who’s Next.”

Here’s just a few reasons why it should NOT matter who is next on the Met’s schedule:

1)  Presently, the Met’s are an awful team.  They seemingly finding new ways to lose games and are doing so by larger margins.  Whether it be stretches of bad pitching, poor hitting, ill timed implosions by the bullpen, or costly errors, they have proven capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory time and time again.

2) Jerry Manuel is the manager of our beloved Metropolitans.  I seriously considered putting Jerry first on the list but in the end he’s not the one on the field and even a bad manager can win if his players perform.  Still, it was a close call as he is quickly becoming one of the worst in-game managers I have ever witnessed.  Whether it’s the Diamondbacks or Yankees, I can’t imagine any opposing team in the majors who doesn’t line-up across the field and already have a leg up in terms of who’s skippering the ships as they sail into battle.  With that being the case, it’s fair to ask yourself, “does it really matter who’s next on New York’s schedule?”

3)  The front office, by not addressing ANY of the teams needs at the deadline, has made it clear they are looking towards the future.  The debate as to whether this was the right or wrong approach to take is one that won’t truly be settled for years to come.  Truth be told, I’m not sure the Mets ever looked like World Series contenders this season but I always believe ownership has a responsibility to put it’s team in the best position to win.  I understand not coughing up the prospects for Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt, but there were apparently more than reasonable deals on the table for guys like Octavio Dotel and Ted Lilly and the club elected to go with ‘potential’ over ‘proven’.  Right or wrong, knowing this team isn’t good enough to win the division as is, what other message should fans take from the apathetic approach with which the organization handled the deadline?  So in short (too late for that), does it really matter who is next on the Met’s schedule? 

4) Oliver Perez.  Recently, Ollie really hasn’t done anything to lose any games for the Mets that weren’t already lost, but he’s part of the reason why Wilpon and co. can claim “hey we’re not cheap, we have a $130 million payroll.” He’s part of what’s wrong with ownership and the front office and his presence on a major league roster is laughable for the Mets and their fans.  The more I look at the parallels between Oliver Perez and Gary Matthews Jr., two of the worst signings in recent years, I can’t help but realize what an absolute chuckle the Angels must have gotten when the Mets traded for GMJ and offered to pay a couple million of his salary.  Could you imagine a team now giving the Mets a player and some cash for Perez????  With guys like this taking up a roster spot and the team playing a man down, does it really matter who is next up on the schedule?

BUT….here’s why it DOES matter who the team will play in the coming weeks:

1) 6 upcoming games vs. the top 2 teams in the division.  Yes, they’re away from Citi Field.  Yes, both these teams are playing MUCH better baseball than the Mets.  BUT, New York has a combined 8-3 record against their division rivals.  Were most of those wins back during ‘better days’, absolutely, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one of those Lloyd Christmas “1 in a million” chances that the Mets win both series.  I know, they haven’t won a road series against an NL team all season but….but…but…. I got nothing.  Hey, I said “1 in a million”, cut me some slack.  So let’s say Lloyd ends up with Mary Swanson and the team takes 2 out of 3 from both the Phillies and Braves.  This would likely require a unicorn pitching a shutout, Santa Claus having a couple pinch hit home runs, and a Leprechaun making a few diving catches over a double rainbow (click here for an entertaining video) but the end result would certainly tighten things up in a division that currently stands as such:

2)  If the Easter Bunny, Lochness Monster, and Big Foot all come through this coming week and New York puts itself within striking distance, the following week will see them square off against a Colorado team that recently lost 8 straight.  Sure, they’re now on a 4 game winning streak, but that includes a sweep of the Cubs, a franchise that could give even the Mets a lesson on being dysfunctional.  NY only won 1 out of 3 when they played the Rockies in Colorado but it’s no secret they are a different team at home, unless of course you’re the Diamondbacks in which case it doesn’t matter if the games are played in Arizona or Mars.  Any decent showing against the Rocks would set up another 3 game set against the Phillies, this time back in Citi Field.  If nothing else at least the match-up will conjure up memories and video footage of the team’s brightest 2010 moments; their shut out sweep of Philadelphia back in May:

3) O.K., so by now everyone has hit the lotto and gotten what they want for Christmas.  There’s peace in the Middle East and the Mets remained afloat through the first 2 weeks of the month.  Week 3 matches New York up against a couple teams that boast a combined 81-127 record.  Piece of cake, a couple more winning road series to build on the imaginary beatings that were handed out in Atlanta and Philly.  This is getting too easy, I mean optimism is fun but being delusional is exhilarating.

It’s also somewhat exhausting, which is why I’ll wait to see if any of these dreams actually come true before commenting on the Week 4 match-up to the right.  I guess the only point to all this is simple.  After bleeding blue and orange all season, what’s another week?  As poorly as this team has played they have actually have a good bit of control over their own destiny.  The Mets have also shown a couple things that keep fans coming back for more.  They have demonstrated an ability to actually play as a team, something that has been missing for well over a year.  They have also shown an undeniable unity in the clubhouse and at times their pitching has been brilliant.  A good staff is capable of putting a team on it’s back regardless of the opponent and a winning streak is never out of the question when you’re giving up only a few runs a game.  Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, and Jonathon Niese (sans Sunday afternoon) have been exceptional and both Mike Pelfrey and Hisanori Takahashi have had their moments of brilliance throughout the year.

So who’s to say the Mets don’t decide August is the month they put it all together.  A long shot?   Absolutely, but so was Mine that Bird in the Kentucky Derby, yet I bet on him and that turned out alright.  Let’s not forget, all this losing hasn’t changed the fact that David Wright, Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran and Ike Davis still take the cuts for the Mets and I’m not sure a core like that isn’t worth one last chance, or better yet, one last prayer.

For more of my thoughts on the Mets, head to Metszilla.com

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