“Oh my God, the Mets are 13-3, ten games over .500, and eight games ahead of the Nationals!”
That seems so long ago now. The Mighty Mets, The Mike Barwis and Kevin Long Rejuvenated Mets, The Terry Collins Led Unstoppable Mets, The Michael Cuddyer Can Do Magic Infused Mets, The Unconventional New and Improved Bob Geren Lineup Mets, the all the superlatives you could think of Mets, are a mere mortal 7-11 since then.
And suddenly the sobering reality slaps you in the face, awakening you from your euphoric stupor, and leaving you to wonder who are these guys?
They are a mediocre team with outstanding pitching, putting them at good on baseball’s Homeland Security Threat Scale but not good enough. They’re nothing you can’t handle with some average to good pitching and a little duct tape.
Nobody ever doubted that the Mets Starting Rotation would be top five in baseball. But despite the old saying that pitching wins championships, you still need the bats to get you there, and Sandy Alderson doesn’t have the Bash Brothers to carry the day this time.
The Mets jumped fast on Michael Cuddyer as soon as free agency started, but what they failed to see was that despite his bag of magic tricks, endearing smile, a kinship with the captain, and a Mile High infused batting championship under his belt, the one thing Cuddyer wasn’t was what the Mets needed the most – a difference maker.
Last night’s 2-1 loss to the Cubs was a heartbreaker. It was a gut punch – the kind of blow to the mid section that leaves you hemorrhaging.
Matt Harvey did all he could to play the role of ace and stopper. But it was the Mets’ suffocating and toxic offense that stopped him instead.
The collateral damage was visible on the shocked faces exiting the dugout and by the deadening silence in the clubhouse where you could hear a pin drop.
That once eight game lead is now down to a game and a half as the hard-charging Nationals continue to bulldoze their way to the top of the NL East. By the end of this weekend, things could be looking very different atop the division unless the Mets bats find some way to come alive.
Good teams don’t squander a performance like Matt Harvey delivered on Wednesday night. And while we’re at it, another question… Why was a warmed up Jeurys Familia left standing and gazing from the bullpen instead of being on the mound to start the ninth?
Collins said he didn’t want to overwork him, but who does he think he’s fooling with that line?
The Mets will try to avoid a four game sweep this afternoon and avoid limping back to Citi Field looking like refugees from the trauma ward.
With an offense that is so woefully inept they’ve managed just 2.8 runs in their last 15 games, it’s tough to see how they’ll be able to punch their way out of this paper bag. But you never know. Stranger things have happened. As fans, all we can do is watch and hope.