Thursday, June 30, 2011

Half Way Home

By my count, the Mets are 41-40 over the first half of the season. It's really on par with my pre-season prediction. But given how the idea of being above .500 is a very recent revelation in Mets-land, I think 41-40 is pretty darn good.

Jose Reyes really needs to be the starting shortstop at the All-Star Game. 121 hits over 78 games (remember he missed a few games and he leads the league in hits), 15 triples (almost double the next player), he's tied for the MLB lead in batting average, and 2nd in the majors in SB and runs.

The injuries to David Wright and Ike Davis have certainly changed the face of the team (and I still blame Wright for Davis's injury). It sounds like Wright will the first of the two to return to the lineup. But I think I've already said that I like 3/4 of the infield that we've seen for most of the past month and a half - Turner at 3B, Reyes at SS, and Tejada at 2B, with Davis at 1B.

And in the outfield, is may be possible that Jason Bay is finally breaking out. Or not. We'll have to see. But he certainly looked good hitting the Mets' first grand slam since 1986 (ok, in almost 23 months). Angel Pagan is looking good, and I like Jason Pridie as a 4th OF. But who would have expected Carlos Beltran to lead the Mets in both HR and RBI, be 2nd in ABs (behind Reyes), and the most surprising stat for the most surprising Met of the first 3 months ... Carlos Beltran leads the Mets in Games Played.

Remember that with all of that, the Mets are still just a .500 club. The offense can break out like it did for 4 games in Texas and Detroit, and then it can go dormant, like I think it will when the Mets get back to Citi Field. Some of the individual numbers may be sustained, but long stretches of winning won't be with this club. They're just not there yet.

And then there's pitching. I'm not sure I sorted the stats correctly. Chris Young (out for the season) leads the club in ERA. Mike O'Connor is second. And the best of the current 5 man rotation is Dillon Gee in 6th (3.32 ERA). On another note, Francisco Rodriguez leads the club in appearances (somewhat ironic because everyone is watching him with that mark of games played he has this year). 20 saves in 41 wins. I actually don't know if that's normal or not.

Looking over wins-losses, it seems somewhat backwards. The "ace" and last year's biggest (good) surprise are both 4-7 (that's Pelfrey and Dickey). Niese and Capuano are hovering around the .500 mark (14-13 combined). And Gee really is another one who deserves at least a look at the All Star Game. For as good as the starters have looked, remember, they're just a .500 club.

And in the bullpen, it's been a bit of trial and error, and a bit of sense of "these are our guys". I said back in March that I liked that it was a lot of new guys. Manny Acosta is a waste (highest ERA of the current 25 man roster). But other than that, I think the Mets have a good rythym in the 'pen. But those things usually don't last. And it certainly took a while to get to this point.

I think what I'm trying to say is that there's been some good (Reyes, Gee, Beltran, Izzy, Beato, both of whom I have yet to mention), some bad, or at least not-as-good (Dickey, Pelfrey, Willie Harris), some lineup changes due to injury (Pagan was out, Bay was out, Chris Young is gone, Wright and Davis have been out), and good finds (like Turner).

And not to mention the change in culture brought in by Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins. I know some Mets fans have been very critical of Collins, but I think every one has to say that Collins has made a difference in the clubhouse.

41 down, 41 to go. And I still stand by my prediction of 83 wins (which actually means a slightly better 2nd half than 1st half). As hard as it is to see making a move to give up on the season, I think there will be an offer by a real contender (which I do not consider the Mets to be) for either Beltran or K-Rod that's just too good to pass up.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Few and Far Between

I'm back with enough thoughts on the Mets to exceed the limit of a facebook status. Let me go over a few items.
  1. Justin Turner, Jose Reyes, and Dillon Gee need to be on the All-Star team. Reyes should be starting at SS for the National League. I think it's been a while since I said the Mets had 3 genuine All-Stars. Carlos Beltran is also worthy of at least being in the conversation as a reserve. I know it's somewhat of a popularity contest, and that most fans outside of New York have never heard of Turner or Gee, but these guys should at least be on the manager's radars for selecting reserves and pitchers. Gee has a shot at having 10 wins by the break, and remember, he didn't start the season in the majors and was out of the Mets rotation for a week or two. Lots of people could say that Turner has been keeping the Mets afloat while Wright and Davis have been out. More on him later. And what can I say about Reyes? He's such a dynamic player having a career year, leading the league in most offensive categories (except nose hair).
  2. There was a fan movement about 9 days ago to show the Mets management and ownership (and the media) that fans want Jose Reyes to stay a Met. I absolutely support that effort (short of bloggers who become martyrs aside). I really hope Fred Wilpon and his new best friend got the message. Looking at Reyes's stats, I truly believe Citi Field is the best place for him, and the Mets certainly need a guy like Reyes at the top of their lineup. 3 steps back if they let Reyes go or trade him, and 3 bases forward (and rather quickly and matter-of-factly) if they can lock him up.
  3. I really believe the Mets are better off without David Wright. Yes, you heard me right. Wright is wrong, at least for the Mets. And I blame Wright for Ike Davis's injury, but that's besides the point. I'm sure I've said this before, but if David Wright was the "face of the franchise" during these really bad years (from losing in the playoffs in 2006 through 2010), then what leadership has he provided? And I have to say, I like 3/4 of the Mets infield right now - Tejada at 2B, Reyes at SS, and Turner at 3B - and add back Ike Davis at 1B, and I like where this team is going. For Wright, this injury is giving the fans and management a chance to see what life without Wright can be like, and frankly, it's not so bad. It's even refreshing. And this injury is at least delaying the possible trade (or at least serious trade talk) involving Wright.
  4. I also like the idea of a Duda-Pagan-Pridie outfield. I'll let you figure out what that all means.
  5. I still do not consider the Mets a contender. A few weeks ago, I posted a thought on the facebook page for this blog that I saw a parallel to the 1997 Mets in this year's team (and I think this was after Wright and Davis were already down and out) - new management and a new direction, knowing it realistically will be a couple of years before it all pays off, and knowing that a few of the faces defining this year's club won't be around when it does pay off. I really do believe that Terry Collins has changed the tone in the Mets clubhouse. I think we heard that all the way back in Spring Training. He really was the right man for the job, despite what some people think about some of his on-field decisions. Maybe the Mets will live up to the phrase that I coined in 2009 - "Mets 2012. Rejuvinated at 50!"

And lastly, our thoughts are with Gary Carter as he begins to fight brain cancer. Go Kid!

Leave a comment or drop me a line at DyHrdMET [at] gmail [dot] com. "Like" RememberingShea on Facebook (the function formerly known as "Becoming a Fan"). Become a Networked Blog