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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