Friday, July 14, 2006

Second Half Preview

I checked my magic 8 ball this morning for a read on what might happen to the Mets the rest of the season. The 8 ball said "you've got a 12 game lead jackass, relax."

If I wanted to just relax and take it easy until October I'd be a Yankee fan. While I realize that it would take a monumental collapse to miss the playoffs, here are the top 5 reasons I'm worried:

5) Injuries
The strange situation with Pedro Martinez, the sliced finger of Jose Reyes and nagging injuries to Xavier Nady threaten to derail this team. Reyes is the engine that makes this team go, if he's not back to form that's big trouble. The past few the seasons the Mets have struggled with the bottom half of the lineup, if Floyd and Nady aren't healthy and hitting, Valentin will be protecting Wright and Endy Chavez will get up in way too many key situations. I also worry about Paul Lo Duca wearing down (like most catchers, his numbers usually decline in the second half) and I'd like to see Castro get some more PT. Then there's Pedro, who apparently injured his hip by slipping on a wet floor while rushing to change his undershirt because a batter complained about it during a game earlier this year. Freak injuries like that worry me because without Pedro the rest of our pitching staff is very old.

4) Age
While the starting lineup has a good mix of youth and veterans, the starting pitcher is ancient. Pedro is actually the youngest of the 4 starters the Mets have right now. We don't even know how old El Duque is. Trachsel seems to age double whenever he's on the mound and Glavine has been fading recently. Who knows how these guys will hold up in late October, God willing.

3) Bullpen
Once a strength of the team I look down there and see nothing but aggravation. Aaron Heilman has been bordering on horrible the last few months and the dominant Sanchez of April and May is gone. Chad Bradford has been excellent but will teams get a read on his slop if they see him a few times in a playoff series? Pedro Feliciano has been good but now he's in Willie's dog house. Henry Owens looks promising and Darren Oliver fills his role ably. Then there's Billy Wagner. He should be the closer we've been waiting for, but he's not. He's Benitez and Looper and Franco all rolled into one big ball of uncertainty. Even if he saves every game from now until the end of the season, I'll still hold my breath when he gets the ball late in a playoff game.

2) Short series
Anything can happen in a short series. One little thing in the first game of a series (like a guy not running and getting thrown out at home on a ball that hits the top of the wall, or a guy limping off the bench to hit a homer off the best closer ever) can change the whole outcome. No matter who the opponent, you always worry in a short series. Even more so if you don't have dominant starting pitching, which the Mets do not.

1) I'm a Mets fan
I've been through too many heartaches and near misses to believe that the Mets are going to walk through the playoffs and beat whichever American League team emerges. I've seen Terry Pendleton and Mike Scioscia. And John Rocker and Kenny Rogers. And Brian Jordan's grand slam. This year Game 4 of the World Series is being played on October 25, 2006, the 20th anniversary of the day I learned that God was a Mets fan. Maybe we can win this thing?


Anonymous Reissberg said...

I have 13 words for you from our namesake, the late, great Bob Murphy...

Gets by Buckner! Gets By Buckner! Rounding 3rd Knight! Mets win! They Win!

Friday, July 14, 2006 8:14:00 PM  

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