Shallow Grave Gets Deeper: 0-5

Well, you've got to hate joining the chorus of howling critics but let's face it. Five straight losses to start the season is a bad audition. If Next Year Is Now, does that mean that this season is already dead and buried?

There's something Amazin' about being the ONLY team left in baseball without a win in 2005.

Why can't we be more like the 2005 Braves, who have now won four in a row, stand in their customary first place atop the NL East and managed this despite scoring only 14 runs in their first five games? The Mets have scored all of 16 runs in their first five games and still have nothing to show for it.

Why can't we be more like the 2005 Chicago White Sox who, despite hitting 4 for 24 with runners in scoring position (an abysmal .166 average), still managed to win three of their first four games? In the Saturday evening's 6-3 loss to the Braves the Mets were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position and are now 5 for 38 (.132) so far for the season.

Why can't we even be more like the Washington Nationals? Even they have won three games already this season and each victory was of the come-from-behind variety. They won one game down 3-2 in the 8th by a 7-3 margin. The following day, they tied the game in the 8th and won it in the 10th and tonight, won in the 10th again after coming from behind yet again. The Mets, on the other hand, haven't seen a lead since Bradon Looper's atomic meltdown on Opening Day. That's 36 consecutive innings of playing from behind. The Mets fall behind and they stay behind.

Hey, the Mets weren't even the only team to blow a lead in devastating fashion to lose on Opening Day. They're just the only team to do so and not bounce back. The San Diego Padres opened 2005 with a lead going into the 9th inning at Coors Field and the indominable Trevor Hoffman set to get the save. Hoffman, like Looper, imploded and gave up 4 runs in 2/3 of an inning as the Padres went from winning 10-8 to losing 12-10. The Padres won two games of their next three games.

So there isn't a prominent excuse the Mets can make that some other team hasn't already overcome themselves this season.

Tomorrow, Pedro takes the mound again and either the cycle will be broken or the mounting pressure will break this team's season before they even play their first home game.

The funny thing is, a few days ago, you could take note of Smoltz's 32.00 ERA and his horrific first start and think to yourself, hey, that's great, Smoltz has lost his stuff as a starter and we can take advantage of him. That's how winners think. But the other way of looking at it, the Met Fan way, is that well, Smoltz started his first game of the season poorly which probably means he's going to come back twice as strong this second time around.

Let's face it. It doesn't really matter who the Mets face. Not if it's Smoltz, nor Pettitte nor Roger Clemens. These names are only built-in excuses for people who are looking for excuses to justify losing. The Mets don't discriminate by losing "only" to the aces. They've lost games where they've faced the likes of Aaron Harang and Horacio Ramirez so we really shouldn't bother making distinctions between facing stiffs or aces for our first victory of the year.

You think it's frightening going into the season 0-5? Imagine that Cincinnati, the team that swept us to start the season, have lost two in a row to the Astros, the team we are open our home season against in two days. The team that beat up on the team that beat up on us.

It isn't time to worry about who we face, not which team, not which pitcher. They all lose during the season eventually and if the Mets were to defeat Smoltz, Pettitte and Clemens in a row, how long will we be talking about the 0-5 start?

On the other hand, yes, 0-5 can easily become 0-8, the hole can easily get deeper and the Mets could make up one morning and find they've dug a hole to China.

As Kaley notes in Flushing Local:

Fifteen teams since 1980 lost six or more games to start the year. 70-92 was their average total. Nine of them went on to lose a seventh game, averaging 64-98 at year end. The 1983 Astros lost nine from the start and ended eight games over .500 at 85-77. Of course, the 2003 Tigers went 0-9 on their way to a near-historic 43-119 mark.

We are all well-versed in what happened in 1962: 9 straight losses to start the season and a 40-120 record by the end.

If you think it can't get that bad, just remember six days ago what you'd have thought of the chance of starting the season 0-5.

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