Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blacked Out

In the top of the 7th inning of tonight's Mets/Cubs debacle, SNY went black. I changed channels, reset my cable box, but nothing worked. It popped back on for the duration of a commercial break between the top and bottom of the 7th innings, but that was it. After about 10 minutes, I gave up, turned off the TV and turned on the radio. Time Warner Cable screwed me out of seeing the last 3rd of tonight's game.

Or, perhaps, they did me a favor.

Without SNY, I was unable to see the Mets offense go right back in the tank that Steven Matz pulled them out of on Sunday. Daniel Murphy returned and looked just like the same old Daniel Murphy. 4 At Bats, 1 Hit. And that 1 hit represented 33% of the Mets offensive output against Kyle Hendricks and a troika of Cubs relievers. No Met reached 3rd base against this vaunted Chicago pitching staff.

Jon Niese, on the other side, did his admirable best to try to outpitch his own non-existent offense, but this was unfortunately an impossible, unwinnable undertaking. While Niese only allowed the Cubs 4 hits, unfortunately two of them came in the top of the 6th inning, and happened to be a single to Baseball Jesus Kris Bryant, followed by a double from David Eckstein-like Matt Szczur, which eluded Michael Cuddyer and allowed Bryant to score the first and only run of the game.

There have been years where the Mets offense just can't do anything with any sort of consistency. In fact, a majority of the team's history has been predicated on such a thing. Sometimes, they've managed to win in spite of this (ie 1969, 1973). But most years, for as good as their pitching can be, the season simply boils down to them not being able to hit enough and their pitchers simply not always being able to throw shutouts. And so you get years like, say, every year for the last 5 years, where the Mets can get great pitching most nights, but lose 4-2 or 3-2 because they just can't hit enough.

But this year they seem to be turning this into an art form. True, the lineup has suffered without d'Arnaud and Wright and Murphy, although Murphy came back tonight and it didn't make a damn bit of difference. It's the guys that are still there that aren't helping. Michael Cuddyer might not be Jason Bay-bad just yet but he's pushing the limits of Carlos Baerga-ness (and of course departed tonight's game hurt). Lucas Duda has crashed back to earth, not so much because he turned back into the lummox he was prior to 2014, but because without any protection in the lineup, he's pressing, and trying to do too much and as a result swinging at bad pitches and getting away from what made him successful in the first place. Curtis Granderson was hot for a second there but now he seems to be on the downswing again. Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares have run hot and cold and lately it's been more cold than hot, and Ruben Tejada is just a complete disaster. And there's no depth to speak of, anyone else the Mets have on the roster right now is at best worse than anyone who's starting right now, and that's a truly frightening prospect. This past weekend, the Mets swept the Cincinnati Reds, and on one night they won because they managed to score 2 runs on 3 hits. The next day it took them 13 innings over two days to score 2 runs, and the second run basically scored by accident. Sunday, they scored 7 runs, but the pitcher happened to drive in 4 of them so that doesn't excuse anyone else. Is the solution here really to teach Steven Matz to play Left Field? I don't think so. At this point it's not Collins's fault because he can only make do with what he's given, so if you need a scapegoat, right now Sandy Alderson looks like your guy.

That is, unless you feel its easier to blame a majority of these players for not hitting better.

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