Friday, June 4, 2010

The two-sixth report

The Mets have played 54 games in this 2010 baseball season. That is exactly 2/6ths of a regulation season.

The Mets are 27-27, 5 games back of Atlanta for first place in the NL East, currently in 4th place. They're also 4 full games back of San Diego for the Wild Card lead.

Going back to the 1/6th report, they had a semi-bad 27 game stretch, going 12-15 to balance out the 15-12 that came before it. The Mets are 19-9 at home, and 8-18 on the road. That's quite a difference. They're home for 6 games before going back on the road. I won't count over the entire schedule, but I think they play 81 games at home and 81 games away from it (unless you're the Phillies and Blue Jays). A month ago, I looked at who the Mets had played, thinking that they beat bad teams and lost to teams better than they are. 9 teams in the NL are better than the Mets, and 6 aren't. I don't know how much all that means.

It strikes me that this team does not have what it would take to realistically contend with other teams in their division. The pitching staff has been erratic. Guys in the bullpen who got off to great starts aren't pitching as well, and they're also getting overworked. The starting staff became better by subtraction when Oliver Perez was demoted to count his money in solitude and John Maine came up with an injury to get out of the rotation. The starting rotation as it stands now is enough to get by, but the way Jerry Manuel uses his bullpen leads me to think that we'll see flashbacks to the end of the 2008 season (also managed by Jerry Manuel) with the bullpen failing to hold leads, etc. It was that way in the Mets' 57th game, even after a stellar 8 innings from our first ace.

There isn't much of a bench. We have a good backup catcher (who expected me to say that 2 months ago). But beyond that, it doesn't seem very useful. Alex Cora is a rock stepping in on the infield, I don't think I've noticed Chris Carter lately, and there's a few guys just keeping the physical dugout bench from flying away. The starting 8 finally seems consistent. Some days they can't do squat, but they're all in it together, and other days they can all hit the ball.

If that part of the team can get back to its 2008 level, and Jerry Manuel can stop his over-reliance on the bullpen and push his starters more, then maybe, just maybe, we'll have some interest come September.

As far as cutting ties with anyone mid-season, I just don't see Jeff Wilpon paying anyone off to go away. That includes Oliver Perez, Jerry Manuel, Dan Warthen, and Omar Minaya. And that type of mindset in the higher up reaches of the team is going to ultimately hurt the club in both the short and long term.

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