The Mets will not clinch tonight on their own play. They dropped a game to a Pirates team that has been pretty decent since the All Star break, hovering around .500. That may not seem that good, but consider: More teams in the NL right now are below .500 than above it, and the Pirates have been pretty consistently awful since they let Barry Bonds skip town. Not saying it’s an excuse; the Mets should eat pieces of shit like the Pirates for breakfast (they eat pieces of shit for breakfast? A gold star to anybody who replies to this with what movie I quoted from). But the Pirates are not as bad as people expect, and lefties have given them problems in the past, so it isn’t exactly a surprise, either.
It may be time to stop waiting for Pedro to return to form. It may be unrealistic to expect that. Really, Pedro hasn’t been “Pedro” since early May, and the team has sailed along without him. At this point, whatever the Mets can get out of Pedro down the stretch run that’s even remotely useful should be considered a bonus. I’m not writing Pedro off, but I’m not setting my expectations too high, either. The Mets have won without him, and in the postseason, they may have to keep winning without him. That’s not to say that Pedro rounding into form in October would be a bad thing; far from it. But temper your expectations; we may very well have seen the last of “dominant Pedro.”
Hey, what about the SNY poll during the game? For those who did not get the SNY feed, SNY ran a text message poll asking who the most improved Met this season has been, with the choices being Tom Glavine, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and Steve Trachsel (what? He’s just as shitty as he’s always been). Beltran dominated with 74% of the vote. Tom Glavine was second with 21% of the vote, which means people either didn’t pay attention to the second half of 2005, or they haven’t paid attention to the second half of 2006. Steve Trachsel had 3% of the vote, good for third place, in what I can only assume was the stupidest three percent of Mets voters. Jose Reyes, the correct answer, somehow only had 2% of the vote.
I mean, has anybody been paying attention? Steve Trachsel is as bad as he’s always been, but he only had 3% of the vote, so that doesn’t matter. Tom Glavine was pretty strong the second half of last year, but has been very average the second half of this year. Carlos Beltran is improved if you ignore the six previous seasons he had before coming to New York; sure, he stunk last year, but he was hobbled by injury and going from two relatively quieter media markets in Kansas City and Houston, to a large market in New York. However, Jose Reyes went from being a mediocre player in his first three seasons to taking legitimate strides to becoming the best shortstop in the National League this year. He’s improved his on-base percentage, his walk rate, his power numbers…every part about his game has improved. To me, this was a no-brainer, and unfortunately, it seemed too many Mets fans took that literally.
The Mets will, assuming the Phillies hold on to beat the Astros, attempt to clinch again tomorrow evening against Pittsburgh. Orlando Hernandez will face Tom Gorzelanny, who has pitched quite well for the Pirates this season, with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. He has pitched well, and I respect what he’s done this season, he could give the Mets fits. Game time is 7:05 PM.