July 22, 2012
After an impressive and surprising first half of the season, it appears as the Mets are headed into their usual second half swoon that we have seen since Citi Field first opened in 2009. The Mets entered the All Star break with a 46-40 record and within striking distance of the NL Wild Card and the NL East. Just a week following the break they now have fallen to 47-47 and are 5.5 out of the NL Wild Card and 7 games out of the NL East.
The team is a lowly 1-7 following the break after getting swept by the division rival Braves, losing two out of three to the first place Nationals, and losing the first two games of the series against the Dodgers. Nothing is going right for a Mets team who opened a lot of eyes with their exciting and resilient play in the first half of the season. The Mets lost their fourth starter in the rotation, Dillon Gee, for the rest of the season. They are missing their closer Frank Francisco for at least a couple of more weeks who re-aggravated an oblique injury. To top that, they placed their ace Johan Santana on the disabled list with an ankle injury. The Mets want to give Santana couple of weeks of rest as he has struggled mightily giving up six or more runs in his last three starts raising his ERA to a season high 3.98. Just like that, the Mets have lost two of their starting pitchers to injury and are trying to find replacements.
The Mets first option was Miguel Batista. Batista came out with a very poor performance today giving up four runs in just three innings. Batista had trouble throwing strikes as it has been his problem all year. Batista struggled in relief and has not done much as a starter. At 41 years old, the time has come to get rid of Batista. Despite a poor performance in AAA tonight, Matt Harvey needs to be called up and given a shot by the Mets. At this point, they have nothing to lose as they are down two starters and need someone to come in and be productive. Batista and Jeremy Hefner are not the answers. Both have been mediocre at best this season. If the team will not make a trade for a starting pitcher, they need to go to the minors and give their young prospects a shot.
What carried the Mets in the first half was their starting pitching. Following the All Star break, starting pitching has been their weakness. Their starters are putting them behind in games forcing them to try and comeback with a lineup who is just not strong enough to continuously come back game after game. When the Mets go early and often to their bullpen, it is only a recipe for disaster and that is what we are seeing right now. With a very weak bullpen and now a banged up, struggling rotation, it appears as the Mets are headed in yet another second half disaster. We do not know whether this team will be buyers anymore at the trade deadline, which is just ten days away. They are still in contention, but continue to fall in the standings with every loss.
With 68 games remaining, the Mets still have time to try and work a miracle run to make the playoffs. The problem right now is the injuries in the rotation and the young, inexperienced bullpen. If this team even has a thought of October on their mind, they are in dire need of a veteran reliever who has been successful and a starting pitcher as well. If Miguel Batista and Jeremy Hefner are starting come August and September, be prepared to see the Mets have another irrelevant September and an October on the green…golf course.