Sunday, August 12, 2007

How To Disappear Completely

In the 7th inning of Saturday Night's debacle at Shea, Jose Reyes tagged up from 3rd on a pop out by Wright and attempted to score. In a bang-bang play at the plate where Reyes appeared to be safe, he was called out. Arguments and whining ensued.

It basically looked like the Umpire, Alfonso Marquez, saw the play and had no idea what the hell the call was, so he called Reyes out.

It's the sign between a good team and a bad team. A Good team will get the lucky breaks needed to win games like that. A Bad team doesn't get that call. And right now, the Mets are playing like a bad team, which is pretty ridiculous considering that this is supposed to be a pretty good team.

But given that the Mets had 6 pretty big Divisional games this year, and more or less Shit the Bed in 4 of them, and barely won a 5th, it's clear that this formula that Willie is using right now ain't working.

Each game it appears there have been different, multiple goats per game. Whether it's been the continued failure to hit with runners in scoring position, the continued mounting of runners left on base or the complacent reliability on the "Productive Out," or several failures by the Bullpen at the worst possible moments, the Mets have been playing a lifeless brand of Baseball, and while there have been glimpses of hope and spurts of strong, inspired play, this has gone on for the better part of 3 months now, this general Malaise. The Mets have not won more than 4 games in a row at any time this season, and they haven't even done that since the end of June, when they last played Philadelphia. Since then, inconsistency has been the norm, and it's beginning to cost the Mets more and more as they play poorly against the teams they really need to beat.

Even Wagner, who has been the picture of rock-solid all season long hasn't been immune. His blown save on Friday was not only his second blown save of the season, it was his first loss. And he hasn't exactly been sharp of late, but he'd been able to minimize the damage and get out of jams until Hanley Ramirez burned him on Friday.

What's most alarming about this is that Wagner had, to this point, been the one guy that none of us worried about out of the Bullpen. In fact, he'd been having a standout season even by his own standards. Heilman and Mota both imploded in spectacular fashion on Saturday. Heilman has been up and down all season. Mota has been simply miserable most of the time, Feliciano seems to have hit the wall after his strong start, Sosa is a mystery, and Schoeneweis is Schoeneweis. Too many of these names have been unreliable at the worst possible times this season, and have often created deficits that the Mets offense has not been able to pull themselves out of.

Last year, it seemed like there was no deficit too large to overcome, no lead that couldn't be locked down in the late innings, no break that didn't go the Mets way. And the team played with confidence and arrogance. And now, they come in with what appears to be an false air of supremacy, and then fall flat on their faces and don't get the breaks.

I don't want to say that the Mets are in serious trouble. But to a man, it really looks like they're headed in a really bad direction right now unless some changes are made, both within the Starting Lineup and within the Bullpen. It doesn't help matters much when the Mets are potentially looking at going in to Pittsburgh this week with Mike DiFelice as the Starting Catcher, with Castro ailing and LoDuca on the DL.

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