Tuesday, August 28, 2007
It's usually good for teams with Playoff aspirations to come out with guns blazing when they embark on a difficult 10-game road trip that features 7 games against their closest Division Rivals.
Unfortunately for the Mets, such an effort eluded them as Brian Lawrence chucked up yet another pathetic effort, that was well out of hand by the time the Bootleg Bullpen Brigade eventually did a fine job of incinerating the game completely.
It seems like we've almost gotten used to seeing these kinds of games from the Mets this season. After 5 months, they've basically been treading water with their tenuous 1st Place lead, and just when it seemed like they were going to finally pull away from the pack, they end up fizzling out with games like Sunday night and Monday night.
The problem had been the offense for such a long time, but now it appears that the shortcomings are falling towards the Pitchers. The Bullpen, shaky all year, seems to be as solid as a bowl of Jell-o, and the Rotation, untested to begin with, is beginning to show signs of fatigue.
It's unacceptable to have Brian Lawrence start any more games this season. That is certainly clear. I think we saw the best we could possibly see out of him earlier this month in Milwaukee, and even then, he wasn't that great. Whether or not this means Pedro will ascend and fill this spot (still one start away, we hear), or someone else from the Minors will come up (Vargas? Pelfrey? I think not. Philip Humber took a no-hitter into the 9th not long ago, I hear) and make the start in what will undoubtedly be a crucial game in Atlanta on Saturday remains to be seen. With Maine obviously entering a dead-arm period, and Glavine and Perez being inconsistent, who can be counted on beyond El Duque? Someone in this bunch needs to step up.
Sometime in the 10th inning on Thursday night, as El Guapo and I watched Aaron Heilman arguably throw or fail to throw Strike 3 past Adrian Gonzalez 3 times, the following exchange occurred.
Guapo: Man, this is depressing.
M2M: What's depressing?
Guapo: That the Mets have to go to War with this Bullshit Bullpen.
He's right. For a while, the best reliever the Mets had was a converted starter. And now Sosa has been hit hard a few times, which is most likely a side effect of being used every damn day for a month because nobody else can get outs consistently. Mota has been the most alarming, to the point where he is close to being shoveled into the Aaron Sele zone where he only pitches once a week, if that. Heilman, Feliciano, Schoeneweis and even Wagner have fallen prey to the demons of inconsistency over the past month, to the point where it is costing the Mets games. Word is that Joe Smith is going to be back soon, but that doesn't mean he will be effective.
With the Mets lead having shrunk by a game last night, and 6 more games to come against the teams chasing them, and the pitching staff in total disarray, the Mets are looking at something very, very scary right now.