Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I'm giving him the New York pronunciation of his name today, as the rest of us probably should as well.

It seems like the Mets and Pirates play a game like this just about every season, where the Mets blast out to an early lead of 4 or 5 runs by about the 3rd inning, and then they just stop, which as we all know they have a habit of doing, and in the meantime the game is just coasting along, and the Pirates get a run here, and a run there, and then it's a 2-run game, and then it's the late innings and all of a sudden the Mets pitchers become incapable of getting any of the Pirates hitters out, like they've turned into some kind of annoying, singles-hitters version of the 1984 Tigers or something like that.

It's three years in a row now that the Mets have played a game like this against the Pirates, and the subsequent results generally have not been very good. Oh, sure, the Mets can rebound from a loss like this, they certainly won't lose 4 to the Pirates, and maybe they'll even go into Washington and win 2 of 3 or sweep, but at some point, it will crop up again, and it'll happen at a really bad moment, like, say, the upcoming stretch where the Mets are playing Philly or the Yankees. In fact, looking into the archives, you'll notice that each time the Mets blew one of these games against the Pirates, they immediately went to Washington and played well. Of course, in '07 it was the last game of the series, and last year's game was a rainout makeup on a forgettable Monday afternoon at Shea. But games like this set a precedent. I mentioned it enough times to make myself and every other Mets fan sick late last season. It should be different this year, and for the most part, it has been. But you see games like this and it's a bit of an acid flashback of sorts. The names are, for the most part, different, be it because of the myriad injuries on offense or the radical revamping of the bullpen, but when the result remains the same, it makes you more than just a little nervous.

This argument, I suppose, can be rebuffed by the fact that the Mets were playing with all of 4 players that were in the Opening Day lineup last night, and one of them already missed about a month with an injury, and another is playing a different position because of an injury to the incumbent. The Mets, because of all these injuries, have been, basically, treading water and surviving, particularly this past week, because of great pitching and subpar opponents. The offense hasn't generated more than 5 runs in a game in several weeks now, or at least it seems that way. The Mets have all of 33 Home Runs as a collective team. This isn't last in the NL, surprisingly, both the Giants and Pirates have fewer, but then again, you expect those teams to be at the bottom. Not the Mets. It's the hope that, as time passes and these injuries heal, the Mets will start to hit a bit more and not essentially force their pitching staff to be quite so perfect all the time.

In the meantime, the concern shifts to J.J. Putz, who is one of those new faces in the Bullpen, but last night, and for a few games now has done a fairly good job of impersonating one of those guys that was in the bullpen last season. You can't put all of the blame for last night on him, but I think it's safe to say that you can put the brunt of it on him. Whether it's mechanics or the elbow issue that was bothering him on the West Coast, something's not right with him right now, and last night it reared its ugly head at the worst possible moment. Late in the game, men on base, you expect Putz to come in and shut it down, and instead he massacred the game. Not so good.

You wonder just how long the Mets can survive with their roster in the shape it's in. Santana tonight.

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