Mets Drop Out Of First Place...For Now (We Hope)

Logically, the Mets are not going to win every series they play the rest of the season and valid or not, Jerry Manuel seems pretty upbeat:

“You know what?” he crooned after the 7-5 loss and dropping out of first. “I feel good about the way we’re playing, I feel good about the way we fought back. I think we’ve got a good team, a good group of men, and I think we’re going to be fine.”

Does he need smelling salts? Is he trying to overcome the dread and fear of what lies ahead with a little well-intentioned enthusiasm?

Uggla Out at the plate in the 2nd

Hmmmm. Let's see we've got John Maine with some sort of strange (and probably misdiagnosed) "mild strain" of his right rotator cuff. One starter on the ropes.

We've got Mike Pelfrey, last night's pitcher, suffering a rare bit of mortality after a long and successful winning streak. Pelfrey is about 26 innings from his career high in innings-pitched meaning that whlst he has been hot we may have seen him already reach this season's peak before fatigue sets in right around the time the pennant race gets hottest.

We've got no true set up man to the closer and Duaner Sanchez's drop in pitch speed combined with the Mets having allowed him to get fat again under the guise of nursing a knee allegedly sore from being hit by a batted ball earlier this month means his chances of a quick recovery are slim. (ha, no pun intended)

You've got these very same Marlins, division rivals tied with the Mets for second place a half game behind the Phillies, right in the thick of some very serious and sustained Manny-For-Hire rumours which theoretically anyway, could shift the balance of power in the NL East.

Plus, the Phillies may or may not be on the verge of a face-changing trade, you never know. The Mets on the other hand, have accepted that they are not going to be a player at the trade deadline. I can't say as I disagree with that because given the paucity of tradeable prospects plus the Mets' collective age at the moment, they will need all the future help they can get and trading it all away for some muppet like Raul Ibanez is not the answer.

On the other hand, Pedro is coming back Friday. You could look at that information either as something to be hopeful about or as grasping at straws with a rapidly-dwindling starting rotation revealing itself. Injury follows injury follows every ache and pain and Pedro even introduced another nuance he hasn't seen probably since he first broke into pitching; a wavering confidence.

Heilman, for all his warts, might just rise to the occasion, as he showed briefly the other night and fill the set-up spot whilst the Mets get Sanchez back on an emergency conditioning programme.

Ryan Church, like Pedro, is coming back although like Pedro we have no idea if this will be a fully flourishing player or a half-talent floundering with indecision and uncertainty. If Church stays healthy (IF, the magic word) and IF he hits as well as he so inexplicably did for the Mets earlier this season then there's right field sorted.

You might even say that Marlon Anderson, much like Carlos Delgado, has regained his rather uncertain footing during July and will be ready for the remaining 57 game push. Anderson went 2 for 3 last night and hit .303 for the month although because of the gruesome first half of the season he is still hitting only .224 on the season and has had his head called for on many occasions.

Last night, the bullpen, bar Joe Smith, was perfect. They do that sometimes, just like sometimes they can't get an out to save themselves.

Any one else but Uggla for crissakes, Joe.

Joe Smith, on the other hand, is consistently bad. I mean hell, even Duaner Sanchez had a scoreless outing last night but Smith? Last three outings, 1 2/3 innings, five earned runs. Last night, the ultimate sin, giving up a two-run homer to the Dan Uggla so the douchebags in the Marlins broadcast booth could chant "His name is Dan Uggla", and 1-2 for July with a 5.25 ERA. You might want to consider that, like Pelfrey, he has nearly approached his career high in innings pitched. He's only been a major leaguer for one other year and last year he threw 44 1/3 innings. He's already got 43 1/3 innings logged on that skinny arm this season.

Last night the Mets couldn't put up any numbers against JJ Josh Johnson. Not surprising considering he has owned the Mets for all his brief career. Prior to last night he hadn't given up an earned run against the Mets in three previous starts which netted him two victories. So you had to sort of expect this sort of offensive sputtering from the Mets, despite a clutch pinch hit three run homer from Damion Easley that threw the game briefly back into question. That's meant to be a game-changing moment, but as it turns out it wasn't. The Mets ground into three double plays. Wright, Delgado and Beltran all went hitless on the night.

But hey, you can't win every single series the rest of the season (well you COULD but let's just say it wasn't ever "likely" that the Mets were going to do that.)

The rest of the week, the Phillies have to go to St Louis. The Mets will be in Houston against the less-than-auspicious Astros and the Marlins will host the Rockies. Advantage: Marlins.

Next week the Marlins play at Philly and the Mets will be hosting the miserable Padres. Advantage: Mets

Thereafter, the Mets host the Marlins and the Phillies host the Pirates. Advantage: Phillies.

The following week, whilst the Mets host the Pirates, the Phillies begin a West Coast trip to face the Dodgers. The Marlins host the Cardinals. Advantage: Mets.

After that, we get to play the Nats, the Phillies remain out on the West Coast, albeit only against the Padres, and the Marlins host the Cubs. Advantage: Mets.

And so on and so forth.

So, like Jerry, not going to worry about last night's lost, losing the series and losing our hold on first place.

Keeping breathing in and out. Unless of course, the Marlins complete their blockbuster trade for Manny and the Phillies land Brian Fuentes or some other player the Mets are unable to consider adding because the price is too high.

In that case, ole Jerry will probably be sharpening his shiv and foaming at the month rather than exuding calm, cool and collected.


jdon said...

That is more like it. Sprinkle in some negativity once in a while. I have never thought that Omar is the sharpest knife in the drawer, but standing pat with this team is as dumb as it gets. Did he not watch them play like dogs for an ENTIRE YEAR? One month of prosperity and he is fine with it? Pelfrey was due for a stinker. If they are planning 180 innings for im they better ave a starter in the wings, because he has about 11 starts left. What is he going to pitch: 4 2/3 innings every tme out? You cannot win every series. But they better mop the floor with the Astros.

Jaap said...

Omar doesn't have much choice, I don't think to have sat on his hands. We can't afford to give up any more prospects - Phillies didn't do anything and neither did the Marlins (much) so there isn't much to answer for - it would be nice to have another arm in the pen, another solid starter in the rotation, a regular left fielder, etc. but I'm not bothered we made no moves - just glad we aren't in the AL East!

jdon said...

If we have to depend on te likes of Tatis an Endy Chavez we will pay for it. Endy Chavez is one of the worst offensive players in baseball. He has a truly ridiculous swing. Our only hope is recovery for Church. Otherwise we surely lose. With him, we have a chance. The fact tha Omar did nothing tells me he feels safe for at least another year

Jaap said...

I agree that we're pushing our luck relying on Tatis keeping up what he's done so far and yes, Chavez is anemic at the plate but let's not forget that occasional miracle glove of his. And who knows what state Church will be in even if he's not having aneurysms. I'd be amazed if he could come back after such a lay off and then just pop right back into early season form.
we're fucked and we could go on and on about it but the main thing is the rest of the NL East is fucked even worse. Our strength lies in the weakness of the NL East. As flawed as the Mets are they are still the quality of that division. And once you're in the post season, who knows? Yeah, too bad we couldn't get a great set up guy to take over and too bad we didn't get the equivilent of Alou's bat in left field but we didn't so fuck it, let's move on and win the fucking division, do the business, no?

Itsmetsforme said...

"Our strength lies in the weakness of the NL East."

wish that wasn't the truth. so maybe Omar's strategy was to prank call the gms of the other NL east teams, keeping them from getting a good night's sleep and thus from burying the mets with a savy trade? Cause I haven't seen him do anything else in a while. I can't believe his job is safe.

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