Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dangerous Game

The Mets went 5-5 on their last Road Trip, something that most fans seem to consider a hearty accomplishment considering all the injuries they've been experiencing. This is, perhaps. true, but if you consider that had the Mets hit at all after their 3rd game in San Francisco, they likely could have gone 9-1 on the trip. Examine:

Monday, the Mets lose to the Dodgers 3-2 in an 11 inning game noticed more for the 5 errors they committed than the 11 hits that generated only 2 runs. Ryan Church's baserunning gaffe gets most of the blame.

Tuesday, the Mets lose 5-3 in LA, mustering only 6 hits. They nurse a lead into the middle innings before the Dodgers rally against Maine. Once behind, the Mets manage only to hit into double plays.

Wednesday, the Mets lose 2-1 in LA, on 7 hits. Once again, the Mets can get guys on, and then only seem to be able to hit into a bunch of Double Plays. Their pitching keeps the game tied, Livan Hernandez has perhaps his best outing of the season, but LA wins on a few singles in the 8th.

That brought us to Boston. My initial feeling was that the Mets would go in and the Red Sox would feed them their lunch. Friday was, in my opinion, their best chance to do anything, with Santana on the mound. With Reyes back on the shelf, and the lower part of the lineup being littered with names like Ramon E. Martinez, I wasn't hopeful. But the Mets came out and basically dinked and dunked Matsuzaka to death in the 5th inning, making him throw too many pitches and eventually giving themselves enough of a lead that the game was safe in the hands of Santana, Putz and Rodriguez, and enough of a lead that it didn't matter that the Mets once again played one of their idiot games, making 3 errors and doing everything possible to keep the Red Sox in the game. An ugly victory, no doubt, that was predicated on some luck, just as much as it was the skill of Santana.

Saturday, the Mets managed to luck out again, in a game that played out somewhat similar to the final game in LA and that appeared to be just as frustrating for the Mets. After the first inning, Pelfrey and Beckett went to work setting down just about everyone in sight over the next 7 innings. For Pelfrey, who continues to improve despite not getting any recognition, it was another solid outing that would be forgotten by game's end. For the Mets in general, it was shaping up like a forgettable game. Against the backdrop of a major Arts Festival, I was in my office with a radio, fading in and out of the game in bits and pieces. As the 9th inning began, I left my office. Of course, I missed all the excitement. It was not quite 5 minutes later when the text messages started pouring in about Santos' HR, which sparked not only controversy, but for the Mets, victory. Once again, the Mets pulled out a game they appeared destined to lose, based on the skill of their pitching and a little luck on offense.

Sunday, the Mets once again managed to eke out their daily quota of 5 (and no more than 5) runs in their attempt to sweep, but their pitching, which had been the primary reason they'd been in all of these games in the first place, had what was for them their first and basically only bad game of the road trip. Redding got a lead and couldn't hold it, Green and Takahashi got the Mets behind, and Stokes got banged around in a 12-5 rout that basically gave you a very frightening look at what the Mets are looking at on days they don't pitch.

The pitching staff has been leading the way for the Mets, whether anyone wants to realize it or not. But if they continue to get such poor support, how long will the team be able to last? Will the pitchers be able to hold up, or will they leave the offense out to dry? It's a scary proposition the Mets are playing right now, as Reyes continues to languish on the Bench with a supposed "Day to Day" injury, Delgado is on the shelf and their replacements and the people around them can only generate sporadic offensive outbursts. The Mets haven't scored more than 5 runs in a game since the 3rd game in San Francisco, and one of those instances wasn't enough to get them a victory. Last night, again, the magic number was 5 runs. Maine was up to the task, but the latter part of the game seemed to drag on forever as the Mets bullpen continually got into and out of jams, and the offense continued to leave men on base. I feel somewhat nervous about the Mets chances with this lineup. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

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