Can The Mets Be Next Year’s Orioles?
The Mets are giving us other things to think about lately, such as the New York Giants’ secondary and an inability to put together a running game. Also a chance to lament about another September of non-meaningful games for the Mets.
The Mets are mired in fourth place, thinking about how a hot run could have them chasing .500, which would be a successful season. Personally, I’d rather have the collapses of 2007 and 2008 than what they are today. At least they were in a pennant race, and if you’re a baseball fan, that’s all you can ask for from your team.
Since 1997, when Orioles manager Davey Johnson was named manager of the year and fired the same day by Peter Angelos, the franchise that long symbolized baseball excellence had hit the skids.
The Orioles showed some improvement last year, but were still projected to finish last in the AL East. But the Orioles have some power, their bullpen has pitched well and they took an impressive 24-7 record in one-run games. That record, despite a negative run differential, is the probably the single most significant stat to explain why the Orioles are in a pennant race.
Conversely, the Mets are 17-18 in one-run games, symbolic of a team with sporadic power and an inconsistent bullpen.
Can the Mets improve enough from within to be a contender like the Orioles?
Baltimore has more power, where the Mets anticipated power from David Wright – he’s fallen short of expectations in that area- and Jason Bay and Lucas Duda haven’t provided much either. Maybe Wright and Duda will produce next year along with Ike Davis who has given the Mets plenty of thump this season, but he can’t do it alone.
The Mets certainly have to figure out the plan behind the plate and in the outfield – that won’t be easy.
Building a bullpen has proven to be a tricky proposition for Sandy Alderson two Winters in a row, but if he can accomplish that objective, perhaps Citi Field will be as alive as Camden Yards will be tonight. For now, you could actually hear the crickets chirping during a Mets broadcast.
It could be if the Mets split their losses in one-run games. Add nine wins and subtract nine losses and the Mets are right there in wild-card contention.
Split those losses in one-run games and the Mets are playing meaningful baseball in September.
About the Author: John Delcos
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that.
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