Friday, April 5, 2013

Ah Yes

I can't say I'm terribly surprised that the Mets have crashed back to Earth these past two games, because I figured it was going to be a challenge, on most days, for the Mets to generate offense. Unless they were facing teams that were just as bad, if not worse, than they may be. In spite of the fact that the Mets seem to not have much trouble getting men on base, their age-old problem of not being able to do anything with said men on base reared its ugly head, and the end result, of course, is a pair of losses that have brought the team to 2-2.

It's a pair of real luminaries that did it to the Mets too, in Eric Stults and Alex Sanabia, off whom the Mets couldn't muster a run even though the opportunities were certainly there. The only real offense appears to have been some cosmetic runs off the opposing bullpen, primarily via the Home Run ball. This isn't where the Mets are going to butter their bread. If they sort of sit back and wait for Daniel Murphy to hit a 3-run Homer, they're going to find themselves even worse off than they figured to be. There needs to be that key hit; the sort of hit that will not only bring home runs, but also set up more runs in the process. They did that multiple times on Opening Day, so it's not as though they're incapable of accomplishing this, but so far David Wright has started kind of sluggish, and so have Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada, placed just far enough apart in the lineup that any little bit of a rally ends up getting squashed because they're not going well.

Of course, it's only 4 games into the season, and things change multiple times in the course of a season. But it's always better to try to stop these bad habits before they get really out of control. Their starting pitching has done admirably well as we run towards the back end of the rotation. Dillon Gee had a fine game yesterday but for a few hits that were bunched together by the Padres, and tonight, Jeremy Hefner pitched well enough to deserve a better fate, giving up only 1 run over his 6 innings. Plus Hef's one run came on a Home Run by Greg Dobbs, who may be one of the worst ballplayers I've ever seen, except that against the Mets he somehow consistently turns into Mel Ott, so we'll excuse Hef for that one. He's just another hapless victim on that end.

The bullpen, however, hasn't helped the cause. If the sputtering offense was bad, the bullpen made things worse by allowing some crucial, lead-stretching runs. Friday, the general ineptitude of Greg Burke and LaTroy Hawkins basically put the game out of reach. True, Burke wasn't helped by a Ruben Tejada error, and Scott Rice let in some of his baserunners, but a better pitcher can work around these things. (Plus I'm just leery about submarine pitchers that aren't Terry Leach. I suppose you could call it Jeff Innis Syndrome or some shit). Hawkins basically looks like he doesn't have anything left. I noticed it on Wednesday night when it took him 29 pitches to get through 2 batters. Tonight, the Marlins were just teeing off on him. The one run he gave up was windowdressing, but he's fortunate it wasn't 4 runs the way he was getting knocked around. I usually have one or two real good flogs each season, and so far it looks like Burke and Hawkins are the early favorites. Hopefully they'll prove ineffective enough that they won't stick around too long.

So, yeah. Games like the last two are going to be the story of the season, and we knew this. I suppose the key for the fans is to not get too sucked in by the periodic offensive outbursts, because they will happen from time to time, and then immediately be followed by a string of games where they get 10 hits, go 1-for-14 with runners on base, and lose 2-1. It's a slight step up from the days when they would get 10 hits, hit into 5 double plays and lose 2-1. But those could happen too!

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