Any enthusiasm and energy the Mets may have had when they broke camp in St. Lucie and headed north have slowly dissipated. The visions of grandeur that Jon Niese would be the ace of the team, that Lucas Duda and Ike Davis would have breakout seasons, that Collin Cowgill would be the leadoff hitter they haven’t had since Jose Reyes, that Kirk Nieuwenhuis would rake in right field, that the bullpen couldn’t possibly be worse than 2012 – all those things and more now seem like more fantasy than substance. The baseball odds on the Mets heading into the season were never great, but nobody could have expected things to deteriorate so quickly – so much so that they now boast the the third worst record in baseball trailing only the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins.
Last night’s 4-2 loss to the Cardinals was particularly reflective of the team’s struggles as they lost their sixth straight game for the second time in this very young season. They looked futile and if anything could go wrong for them, it did.
“The game is very cruel sometimes, and right now we’re experiencing kind of the cruelness of it,” said David Wright after the game. “You get a quality start from your starter and there’s just so little room for error that a ball bounces one way, you don’t catch a break here, you don’t catch a break there, you end up losing the game because you have to play near-perfect when the offense is struggling the way it is right now.”
There’s no shame in losing to the best team in baseball, but it’s not just the losing, it’s how they lose that make it all so maddening. When they get a well-pitched game, they can’t score enough runs, and when the do score runs they can’t hold the lead.
David Wright is on the money when he says this game can be cruel sometimes, and it was a good choice of words because only yesterday I said it would be unwise of the Mets to bring Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud into such a cruel environment. There’s nothing to be gained by not waiting until September callups. They’ll both get a month of major league baseball in, and we get to keep them for an extra year which may become very important once we become relevant again.
The decision to not bring in a bona fide bat for the outfield since trading Carlos Beltran two years ago is especially painful during this Cardinals series. Some said that Beltran was done, that he has bad knees, was not a leader, or that he was too soft. Wrong on all counts. Not one day on the DL since he was shuffled off to Frisco and his lethal bat, powerful arm, and gold glove defense have all been on full display in this four-game series which wraps up this afternoon.
There is no quick fix for this team, but therein lies the problem. After three offseasons we should have been able to address at least one need at the major league level, but instead we’ve more than tripled our plight going from four areas of concern to 14 now.
From hearing Terry Collins speak last week, it already sounds like he’s moved on 2014 – a season which will most likely not be here for. The other day he said he has to keep playing Lucas Duda and Ike Davis to know what we have for 2014. After three years, shouldn’t you know what you have in those two and that they certainly are not core players?
Next year was when we were supposed to be seeing the transformation. It will be interesting to see what online bookmakers have to say about it when that time comes. Until then, we’ll just bide our time and wait. Apparently something magical and different will take place this offseason as for years we’ve been told they’d have a fistfull of dollars. In six months we’ll all find out if we were just being sold a bill of goods or if the front office is really going to pull a rabbit out of it’s hat.