Sunday, June 10, 2007

Odds & Sods

With a forgettable week for the Mets in the books, we look back with some observations and odd notes I have mused about over the past few days while incapacitated and unable to express these thoughts in this forum.
  • This team as a whole is suffering from a serious case of the Blahniks. The balance between the struggling offense and the starting pitching is starting to become dangerously magnified, to the point where it's becoming too much to expect the pitchers to be perfect every time out. The poor outings from Perez and Glavine over the weekend are too much to overcome (although Glavine really had a once-a-year meltdown on Sunday), and right now, the team isn't hitting enough to come back from 6 run deficits.
  • Nothing rankles me more than losing to the Phillies. Not only because they are the Mets closest rival, but there are some mitigating circumstances that makes me hate them even more. I fear that they may fire their sleepy manager, Charlie Manuel and hire someone who might actually be able to manage that team. But this week was simply unacceptable. Tuesday's extra-inning affair was simply one of those "shit happens" games that will occur a few times a season. Fine. but the losses on Wednesday and Thursday are the ones that really rankle me. Wednesday was the beginning of this carnage. It was bad enough that Heilman basically pulled a Doug Sisk; got himself into a jam, then nearly got out of it before hanging one to Rollins that he simply blasted out for a 3-run HR that changed the game, but then seeing Endy swing out of his shoes before hitting a shot right at Rollins who started a DP that would have happened even if Endy hadn't pulled his hammie coming up the line. That Endy hit into the DP was enough. But Endy getting hurt and landing on the DL at the same time was like pouring salt on an open wound. Head-shaking moment.
  • Wednesday was bad enough. Thursday night's affair was so bad that it literally threw me over the edge. You could do a study about my reaction to that game and call it "The Evils of drinking heavily combined with Scott Schoeneweis." I had been busy most of the evening, but I had returned to my office and switched on the game in the bottom of the 9th. Wagner had already blown the save, giving up the game-tying HR to that fine, upstanding gent Pat Burrell. I'd missed the great offensive explosion: 3 HRs in the 6th inning that produced a grand total of...3 runs. The Mets went down in the 9th, with the great #2 hitter Ben Johnson leaving 2 runners on base. Schoeneweis came in. And already knowing that this was a dead ballgame, I began drinking. And drinking some more. And the runs began scoring for Philly. And I switched the game off, and continued to drink. And then, the text messages to El Guapo began...
  • "Schoeneweis makes me want to gouge my eyes out"
  • "This is Hell's worst misery. What the fuck is going on here?!"
  • "We are going nowhere. And the bitch of it is this is a better team! THIS IS MADNESS! WHAT THE FUCK!"
  • "I love bullpens!"
And so on, and so forth. El Guapo didn't respond, and, really, how could he have? What was left to say?

  • And the weekend proved to be no better. A colleague called me on Friday and said to me, "You may as well give the Tigers 3 straight wins, because the Mets ain't doing anything this weekend. The Tigers have to be licking their chops right now." And for the most part, he was right. The only saving grace was Sosa's absolute brilliance on Friday night, shutting down and shutting out the potent Tiger lineup through 8 innings, keeping the game out of the hands of people like Heilman and Schoeneweis, bridging the game to Wagner for the 9th. Still not much offense, but a win is a win. And thank God for that.
  • Back to the grind for Saturday and Sunday, as the Mets at least showed some life on offense, but most of their scoring was done after both games were completely out of hand. Kudos to Gomez for his first Major League HR on Sunday, and to Wright for HRing in all 3 games in Detroit. But is it a sign that the Mets bats are actually waking up? Or will it simply be a mirage? Green is due back on Monday, which helps, and I would guess Johnson or Ledee are the most likely candidates to be sent down. With Alou still about a week or so away, it appears that Carlos Gomez will stick around for at least a little while longer (especially given that he is infinitely more valuable even off the bench than the Ledee/Newhan/Johnson types), and probably start until Alou returns.
But all was not lost. Some good things did happen during the week.

  • Newhan was finally cut, sent down to AAA after Chavez's injury because the Mets needed a real Outfielder in his stead. Although, given that he was replaced on the roster by the equally fearsome bat of Ricky Ledee, I'm not sure if this is necessarily a season-changing move by the club.
  • Wright appears to be rolling now, having hit HRs in 4 straight games. Of course, since he is the only Met producing consistently on the offensive side, all the HRs in the world may not be enough to save the Mets hide right now.
  • Schoeneweis was used in all 3 games in the Philly series (and pitching with his severed hamstring tendon which is unfortunately not a severed head tendon) and was therefore burned out and not used in any of the games in Detroit.
  • The last episode of The Sopranos is tonight. Here's my prediction. Paulie Walnuts rats out Tony's whereabouts to Phil Leotardo. They both gang up to go after Tony. They find him, and Phil fires a bullet at him. But just as the bullet is about to strike Tony square in the forehead, Endy Chavez comes leaping in out of nowhere to catch the bullet, and fires it right back at Phil and Paulie, piercing through both of their chests and killing them instantly. And Tony gets on his horse and rides off into the sunset.
This is a real guillotine stretch for the Mets, with 6 straight series against teams that made the Postseason last year, including both of the Mets playoff opponents from '06. And as such, it's a pretty bad time to suffer a teamwide power outage. Hopefully, the team can put this week behind it as we move on to La-La Land, and then back home to Chicken Sacrifice Stadium, before matchups against Minnesota, Oakland and the MF Cardinals (and then off to Philly for 3). Hopefully, Maine, Sosa and El Duque can continue on strong and Perez and Glavine get back to basics. Hopefully Delgado, Beltran and Reyes can catch fire all together and put a hurting on these teams.


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