It was another lethargic and lifeless effort by the New York Mets on Sunday, as the Tampa Bay Rays made quick work of them with a convincing 9-0 victory in the rubber game of the series. But don’t tell manager Mickey Callaway what an eyesore his team has become because he’ll tell you “at least they play the game the right way.”
It’s getting time to put pennies on the eyes of the dead from the neck up New York Mets. The 2018 season has become a rotten, stinking corpse on pace to lose 96 games, but fear not Met fans, because Callaway wants us to stop believing our own eyes. “The energy has been there all year,” he boasted after yesterday’s debacle, which makes one wonder how disconnected and out of touch he’s become.
I was reminded of the madcap escapades of the Keystone Kops yesterday, as I watched Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto bumble their way through nine slapstick innings in the outfield. Their pathetic performance was another indication of how far removed the Mets have become from the basic essentials of our national pastime. They have figuratively sailed off the baseball map and if the organization had any conscience they would have offered a refund to every fan as they began filing out of Citi Field in the seventh inning.
Am I being a little too harsh and overzealous in dishing out my criticism? Perhaps, but after a lackluster performance like that, the Mets earned every juicy morsel of the fire and fury I’m dishing out today.
I can almost forgive them (not really) for their league worst offense because to be fair they’ve been missing their $110 million dollar slugger that was supposed to be the centerpiece of the offense. And who the hell knows if Yoenis Cespedes will ever give the Mets more than 50 games a season for the duration of his severely bloated contract. Add to that the ill-advised contract to Jay Bruce and his three homers and .214 average and it’s enough to make you wanna vomit chunks.
But what really irks me to no end is how indescribably bad this Mets team is defensively. After a painfully atrocious defensive showing in 2017 — a performance so dreadful it set new franchise records for futility, ineptness and overall suckitude — the Mets decided to double down this year. Despite a record-setting, MLB worst -75 defensive runs saved last season, you would think there’s nowhere to go but up in 2018, right?
Wrong. Leave it to the Mets to find a way to go from the utter dregs of defensive malaise and take us to horrifyingly new lows, such as the game has never seen.
As of today, the Mets are on pace for an alarming -115 defensive runs saved, 40 runs worse than last season. It means that essentially the Mets are almost one run down before the first pitch of a game is actually thrown. That’s scary bad my friends – so scary that Edgar Allan Poe would shit his pants.
Sunday was a prime showcase of how bad things have devolved as we witnessed awful instincts, terrible routes, missing the cutoff man, throwing to the wrong base, and muffing a routine play. In the meantime we were also getting no-hit for six innings en route to a second consecutive shutout loss. But I digress.
The questions are many… Are they even trying? Have they tossed in the towel? What are they teaching these kids in the minors? Will the organization stick to its outdated philosophy of shoving defense off to the side?
The depth and scale of how bad this team is defensively are far-reaching and go beyond defensive runs saved alone. We’ve allowed 69 stolen bases, tops in the National League, and we are in the bottom five of MLB in double plays, assists, range factor, UZR and UZR/150.
Last year, the Mets sold us a bill of goods on how Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith were gold-glove caliber defenders and clearly they are not. The Mets have an NL worst -12 DRS at shortstop and ten of those got to Rosario, who continues to mishandle routine plays.
The worst position by far is second base where the Mets have an MLB worst -17 DRS, spearheaded mostly by Asdrubal Cabrera who has -15 DRS on his own.
“I love his bat, but Asdrubal Cabrera’s range is like nothing,” one National League scout said. “His range is like a first baseman at second base.”
“When your pitchers aren’t striking everybody out, as we’ve had in the past, the defense becomes a little more important,” Sandy Alderson said last September. “And I think probably recognition after this year that if we’re going to have pitching that puts the ball in play a little more, then the defense is going to be more of a priority.”
How hollow do those words ring right about now?
Over the 4th of July, my friend lamented, “How do you go from a team that had consecutive post season appearances to a team that is this historically bad in the span of one season?”
“It’s quite simple,” I remarked. “You take one-third of the game’s three critical components – pitching, offense and defense – and you toss it into the wood chipper.”
And essentially, that’s what our front office is guilty of doing. This is sheer incompetence on their part and a clear dereliction of duty. Add to that a total lack of respect for the game itself. What other teams operate like this?
And that’s NOT on the Wilpons, it’s all on Sandy Alderson, his neolithic age philosophies, and one of the worst player development programs in the game who struggle to produce MLB-ready position players who can – are you listening, Mickey – play the game right.