Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reyes doesn't score, Mets lose

Yesterday, for the second day in a row, the New York Mets wasted one of baseball's more valuable commodities, a quality start. The bullpen that Minaya built for this season is like the straw house that one of the three little pigs constructed. It's falling apart. But then, it wasn't built to last. Not when it contains ex-starter Aaron Sele (5.26), ex-starter Jorge Sosa (4.30), Steve Schoeneweis (5.02), and Guillermo "Buzzard Luck" Mota (5.71). (Their ERAs are in parentheses.)

The bullpen's latest victims were Pedro Feliciano and Jorge Sosa. In 1.2 innings they gave up three hits and four runs.

It wasn't just the Mets relievers who weren't getting the job done. The Mets batters managed just eight hits off six Phillies pitchers. But then, the Mets hitters aren't as good as the Phillies', so when the Phillies pitchers pitch a good game, the Mets are in trouble.

This season, Jimmy Rollins is better than Jose Reyes. Chase Utley is a better hitter, if not a better player than anyone on the Mets' roster. And the Mets don't have a power hitter that can compare to Ryan Howard.

Reyes, in particular, has not played well in the last two Phillies series.

In the first game on Friday, Reyes stepped to the plate six times, struck out twice, and reached base once; he also failed to it around the bases. In the second game, Reyes had five plate appearances. He reached base three times, twice on walks, once on a hit. Though he stole two bases, he couldn't cross the plate.

In August when the Phils swept the Mets, in game one Reyes went 0-4, neither walking nor scoring any runs; in game two, he went 0-5 with no walks nor runs; in game three, he went 1-3 with a walk but no runs; and in game four, a 11-10 loss, he couldn't get a hit but walked twice and scored once, going 0-3. So in the last six Phillies games, all loses, Reyes scored only once.

A pattern seems to be developing.

It's my guess that when Reyes fails to score any runs, the Mets have a losing record.

Unfortunately, yesterday there was no win by a Mets' minor league team that could cushion the big club's loss. The season's over for their minor league affiliates, and it could be nearing an end for the Men of Shea, who've been playing more like boys.

There was some good news. El Duque's admitted that his foot's still not healed enough for him to return to the mound. ESPN reported that "Hernandez said Saturday it's still bothering him during his delivery."

He never should have made his last start. It was obvious to everyone but Mets' management that El Duque wasn't ready to return. His sore foot obviously affected his ability to pitch: The Braves used him for batting practice, scoring eight earned runs in three plus innings.

Regarding El Duque's status, here's what the Mets' manager had to say about it: "I think we're going to err on the side of caution," Randolph said. "If there is any question or whatever then he won't pitch."

He should take that same caution the next time the thought enters his mind to throw Guillermo Mota into a close game.

1 comment:

  1. If the Phillies made the postseason it would not bode well for the Mets. For whatever reason, whether it be better hitting or better execution or the fact that they care more, the Phillies own the Mets and match up very well against them. But against everyone else, the Phillies don't show the urgency and can't match the intensity and wind up losing to lesser opponents. And the Mets feast on bad teams, especially away from Shea, so they'll make the playoffs and the Phillies will be inactive in October despite clearly looking like the better team over the past 8 head to head matchups.

    Howard, you're right on with Reyes. If he doesn't get on base and falls in love with playing pepper with the outfielders, the Mets chances of winning are seriously compromised. I know he's still young, but has he not figured out by now that groundballs and line drives is his best avenue for success?

    His 2nd half struggles aside, we all know that the Mets biggest weakest heading into the playoffs is the bullpen. It was the case in spring training when Sanchez got hurt again, Mota got suspended, Bradford was let go, and Bell, Ring, Lindstrom, and Owens were all traded for no relief help. It was still the case at the trade deadline, when the Mets failed to get anybody to help a belegueared and overworked bullpen. And it's still the case today. The only way the Mets are going to win games in October is if a couple guys in the bullpen get hot, because only Wagner can be considered hot right now. Heilman, Mota, Sosa, Feliciano, Smith - these are all guys capable of getting hot, but we've yet to see it, which is the reason for our pessimism. Although I see it hard for the Mets not to make it to the NLCS, with their current problems, a trip to the WS probably eludes us for another season.