A semi-coherent listing of thoughts following the atrocity seen today, unfortunately an atrocity Mets fans know all too well (and I suspect will know again sometime before it’s all said and done for 2008):
- I have been accused of being a homer on this very site. So be it. But I will say this: Carlos Delgado not only shouldn’t be the MVP, he probably shouldn’t even receive a single vote. I am enjoying that he has gotten hot in the second half. The Mets wouldn’t be in a playoff race at all without him. But April, May, and June count, too. If Delgado is even a league-average first baseman during those first three months, I can see him winning MVP. But he was probably the worst everyday first baseman in the National League over those three months. He doesn’t deserve MVP talk over Reyes, Wright, or even Beltran (who is having another quiet excellent season). But really, the only player who deserves first place votes for the MVP this year is Albert Pujols; he is quietly having one of the best seasons we’ve seen in the National League since Barry Bonds’ salad days, great hitting, great defense at first…and he probably won’t come close to winning. Proof again that the MVP voting system is completely broken, if the Jimmy Rollins win from last year didn’t demonstrate that enough.
- After today’s disaster, can we stop pretending that Luis Ayala is a closer, and not a bad pitcher who had a few good outings? If anything, the Ayala run proved that anybody can close, that one does not need some special mystique to effectively retire three batters with a 1-3 run lead; that so many Mets pitchers failed to do it before him is not proof of anything other than that the Mets do not have many good pitchers in their bullpen.
- While we are talking bullpen, does Jerry Manuel have any interest in using Al Reyes or Bobby Parnell? I know Manuel recently decreed that he was going to stop using younger players unless it was necessary, which cost Nick Evans his spot despite playing decent ball of late, so I can understand Parnell not getting much time (even with his 98 MPH fastball and the fact that he, not Eddie Kunz, is more likely to be the Mets’ closer of the future). But Reyes pitched effectively in relief as recently as a year ago; he strikes batters out, he doesn’t walk the park, and he’s a little homer-prone, but he even has the magical ability to close games that he and a select few walking the face of the Earth possesses. Can’t we at least give the guy a shot?
- Once again, it feels like David Wright and Carlos Beltran are going to play big over the last two weeks of the season. Also, once again, it is feeling like the pitching staff is going to let them down. Maybe it’s just after a week of some below-par starts by the rotation and a few disastrous relief appearances, but you cannot let a lousy team like the Braves come to Shea, start 2 of your 3 best starters, and come away with only one win. This series, the Nationals series, and the Phillies series felt like 2007 all over again (although the Mets actually won the Nationals series despite the big comebacks by the Nats).
- The shame of this recent run of lefty starters the Mets have faced is that it has kept Daniel Murphy out of the lineup. They really should have considered sitting Church in one of those serieses and started Murphy; Church just doesn’t look like the same player that was so good in the early part of the year and struggled facing the lefties. I love watching Murphy play; he has great at-bats and gives the Mets a pest early in the lineup that they have seemed to have lacked the past two years. Only Beltran and Wright grind out at-bats like Murphy. I don’t know if he’s capable of doing this over a whole season, but I’m sure anxious to find out.
- I can’t believe Jorge Julio picked up the win in relief today. God, I hate that man. And the Mets managed to get 2nd and 3rd with one out against him and couldn’t cash in. I wish I could count the number of times this team has left runners in scoring position this season; I bet they lead the league. As well as this team has done in scoring runs (2nd in the NL), it feels like they should have more. Conversely, the only pitchers who have pitched well this year have been Johan, Pelfrey, and Wagner (Ollie and Maine have been too spotty for my tastes and Pedro has been garbage), and one of those guys will likely never wear a Mets uniform again.
- Folks, be prepared for a rocky, rocky final 14, and be prepared for anything and everything; winning the NL East, winning the Wild Card, not making the playoffs at all. I am going to the last regular season home game at Shea, fully prepared that this may very well be the last game ever played in one of my favorite buildings ever built. Or it may host games 3, 4, and 5 of the 2008 World Series. Anything can happen, and probably will.