The New York Mets are a statistical anomaly. This team, by all means, was picked not even for last. They were picked for dead at the beginning of the season. Nonetheless, they are 31 and 25 with a .554 winning percentage. I completely expected this team to lose ninety games this year. At the writing of this article, they are currently 1.5 games out of first and are loosing their second game to the Nationals.
Can they keep it up? Or has it caught up…to them? Are the boys from Queens for real? Or is the other cleat ready to drop?
I’m sure if you caught SportsCenter, you saw the walk-off hit to bury the Mets last night. It was brought to you courtesy of Washington Nationals’ phenom, Bryce Harper.
Quick! Turn it on right now. I bet they’re still playing it.
The question is…how did this statistical anomaly that steamrolled some of the better teams in the league come to a dead stop?
As tough as any loss is, this really was not a game the Mets should have lost. The team’s offense has been hot, especially since the no-hitter last week. They were losing 3 to 0 in the fifth. However, in the sixth, the Mets closed the gap and pulled within one. The Mets took the lead in the eighth… only to let the Nationals tie it up at the bottom of that inning. The Mets surged ahead again in the tenth only to promptly lose it in the bottom of the inning. Thanks to a Scott Hairston homerun off of Ross Detwiler in the twelfth, the Mets came back an improbable third time in one game. The game was finally in bag, and then Bryce Harper came to bat.
We all know how that turned out.
Who (or better yet, what) is to blame for the woes of this statistical anomaly? The bullpen and, more importantly, Elvin Ramirez has been a pretty easy target. Rookie, Elvin Ramirez, allowed the game-winning single after blowing the 6 to 5 lead earlier in that inning.
The New York Mets bullpen may be dead last in the league, but blaming them for all of the team’s problems is unfair. Ramirez’s first inning was quite good. He almost got out of the twelfth as well by striking out Xavier Nady with one out and the bases loaded. He also got to a 0 and 2 count on Harper before allowing the game-winning hit.
So, what’s going wrong?
First, there is no excuse for sloppy play. There were three fielding errors last night. Three! Bobby Parnell pitched an outstanding inning that otherwise would have gotten a pitcher the win. Jordany Valdespin had two errors (yes, two) in one inning. Daniel Murphy botched a double play and Omar Quintanilla overthrew home plate to allow a run.
Second, the team is hurting. Check out my Fantasy Baseball bench if you don’t believe me. Outfielder Jason Bay and Relief Pitcher Pedro Beato returned today. Nonetheless, the New York Mets Disabled List still includes Jon Rauch (Relief Pitcher), Jonathon Niese (Starting Pitcher), Ramon Ramirez (Relief Pitcher), Mike Baxter (Left Fielder), Justin Turner (Second Base), Ronny Cedeno (Shortstop), Ruben Tejada (Shortstop) and Mike Pelfrey (Starting Pitcher out for the entire season).
So, what needs to happen to get this statistical anomaly back on its tracks?
Let’s face it. The Mets might not be dealing with Bernie Madoff, but they are not in any condition to throw money down on a big name player. Also, why should they? As nice as this season has been, the New York Mets are stockpiling for the future. Giving up talent for aging veterans is not a part of the modes operandi of the Sandy Alderson Mets.
In order for the New York Mets to keep this season interesting, they need to get healthy. They are on borrowed time putting up the Buffalo Bisons against Major League talent. Don’t get me wrong. Some of the Bison are good but most aren’t ready yet. As guys come off the Disabled List, it’s time to return Bisons (like Valdespin and Quintanilla) back to the pasture so they can mature.