Does The Expanded Roster Help In A Pennant Race?

For the first time in who knows how long, the Mets finally have all their regulars in the lineup at the same time.  With the return of Paul LoDuca and Luis Castillo to the lineup tonight, we get to enjoy the team that Omar Minaya so intelligently put together to win us a World Championship.

But don’t get too used to seeing these guys all together out there.  In fact, by the time Pedro Martinez makes his comeback in about 10 days, the September call-ups will have already joined the team.  And as soon as the Mets clinch (which I know is some time away), the first string guys will yield way to the up-and-coming stars and backup players. 

But what kind of effect does the expanded roster have on a ball club?  The obvious is that the regulars get time off, so that they are well rested, both physically and mentally for the postseason.  And the flip side of that is that the backups get more playing time, so that they too are prepared for the postseason.  However, Ron Darling eluded to the fact that you have all these young guys who come up after their minor league season has ended, and they don’t realize what the big leaguers have done all season to get to where they are, and they don’t take things seriously.  It makes me think – could that kill the morale?  Could it frustrate the regular 25 guys?  Would Willie ever let that get in the way of winning?  It didn’t happen last year.  Considering we lost two of our starting pitchers just before the postseason began, we faired pretty well.  But it does make you wonder if that’s why teams who are so successful all season long, suddenly struggle in the playoffs. 

As I sit here and write this, the Mets are losing to the Phillies 5-2.  The NL East is far from being wrapped up.  These are the games the Mets MUST win (against Philly and Atlanta) because it kills two birds with one stone.  Not only do we win, but we don’t have to worry if they lose, because we already took care of that. 

In closing, I would just like to share my excitement in Endy Chavez’s return to the team tomorrow.  He is truly one of my favorite Mets and I just wish his return was at home, because I know he is a fan favorite at Shea as well.  In any event, the Mets still have work to do.  And as their new stadium’s corporate sponsor (Citi) states, “Let’s Get it Done.” … I think I’ll just stick with “Let’s Go Mets!”

PS…I worked for Citi for 5 years, so I felt a bit obligated to use their line!

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