Just when you thought it was safe to become a proud New York Mets fan again, they find another way to “Build you up, buttercup baby just to let you down!” Six games over .500 at the All Star break and just 1/2 a game out of the wild card race, it looked like the Metropolitans were finding a way to overachieve themselves right into the playoffs.
However injuries and a lot of bad luck has pulled the rug from right underneath them of late and we’re now witnessing the unravelling of one of the most biggest surprise teams through the first half of the season. Losers of eight of their last nine games since the break, the Mets have found themselves at 47-48, placing them below .500 for the first time this year.
Now they’ve slipped to 8.5 games out of 1st place in the N.L. East, safely tucked away in third place and 5 games out of the wild card race after their weekend sweep at the hands of the L.A. Dodgers. Their pitching staff has been a regular *M*A*S*H* unit, starting with Mike Pelfrey who went down after just three games before having Tommy John surgery. The loss of Dillon Gee to a blood clot in his throwing shoulder was followed by the latest news that the first N.Y. Met to pitch a no-hitter, Johan Santana, was headed to the DL to heal a badly sprained ankle, to rest, and to give his surgically repaired shoulder some extra time off. Should the Mets fall too far out of contention, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if they opt to shut Santana down for a part or the remainder of the season at that point.
41 year old SP Miguel Batista, who has started five games for the Mets this season has been totally ineffective as witnessed by his latest fiasco in yesterday’s game where he threw 81 pitches in only three innings allowing four runs on five hits and three walks. Not much relief in sight as the much hyped prospect Matt Harvey, scheduled to come up to the majors after another start, allowed six runs on seven hits in just five innings in a 11-0 Triple -A loss on Saturday night.
If the Mets are to salvage the remainder of the season, then they will have to be buyers and go out and find some free agents to help head off their recent implosion. And it’s not just starting pitching that’s had the biggest impact on their downward spiral; their bullpen, who entered Saturday’s game with the worst ERA (4.95) in baseball needs an overhauling as well.
Relievers Jeremy Hefner from Triple-A Buffalo and Elvin Ramirez will be recalled from Buffalo probably before Sunday’s game, but they’ll need more ‘relief’ than that- and in more ways than one if they want to stay competitive going into the dog days of summer and beyond.