Thursday, June 12, 2008

People, it's bad

Mets starting pitchers over the past seven games: 42 1/3 IP, 40 K, 14 BB, 2 HR, 2.34 ERA.

Games won by the Mets during this stretch: One.

First it was the offense going limp as the Mets lost three straight 2-1 games in San Diego. Once the bats came to life, the bullpen decided to pick up the slack, blowing leads of at least two runs in each of the next four games. Billy Wagner has now blown three saves in a row, including the last two games which featured two of the best Met starts of the year by Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey. Yes, that Mike Pelfrey.

These Mets keep finding new ways to lose and keep hovering around .500. They're currently three games under. I think it is time for them to accept that this roster, as currently constructed, is not that of a playoff team. Yes, if Moises Alou, Ryan Church and Orlando Hernandez were healthy and Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado were red hot, they might have a chance to dominate the National League. But those things are about as likely to happen at the same time as a bench featuring Fernando Tatis, Damion Easley, Marlon Anderson and Endy Chavez is to be an offensive asset. At least the Abraham Nuñez era only lasted a week.

If this team is going to contend this year, changes need to be made, not just in the coaching staff, but in the roster as well. The idea of Omar Minaya making trades to try to salvage this season with his job on the line is certainly a scary one, but at least he's not allowed to trade Reese Havens yet. The Mets still have an excellent core in David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana and John Maine, but they can only take the team so far given such a putrid supporting cast. The Mets entered the season without a reasonable backup plan at first base or left field, two positions where they'd pretty obviously need one. Sixty-five games later, they still don't have one. This has led to Tatis starting twelve games at corner outfield positions while hitting .232/.267/.321. Of course the Mets couldn't have predicted Ryan Church would suffer two concussions before the start of summer, but counting on him to be both durable and the team's best hitter wouldn't have made much sense either given his history.

I don't know what the Mets can do to reconfigure this roster that would make a big difference, short of signing a certain career home run leader who will remain nameless to play left field. But thinning the herd of thirty-somethings who aren't hitting on the bench and replacing them with some late twenty-somethings who are hitting in New Orleans is worth a shot. Dumping Nuñez and calling up Chris Aguila, who was hitting .308/.384/.584 at AAA, was a start. Sending Tatis packing and finding a spot for Valentino Pascucci, who's hitting .292/.405/.590, who be a fine second step. If you put enough younger guys on the roster, Willie's bound to start one of them eventually.

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