Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Second-Half Itch

Yes, folks, I realize it's been a week since I last posted, and I also acknowledge that I need to post on my trip to the left coast to see the Mets start their second half with a whimper (along with the triumphant return of Carlos Beltran who looked good at the plate but not-so-hot in the field). Patience, my dear minions. I am still going through the many photos of two cameras, and trying to frame out my posts.

In the meantime, you get to hear me bitch. I guess you can see that some things just don't change, especially after a relaxing week in my favorite city ever, San Francisco.

The Mets went on a 2-4 home stand right before the break, have embarked upon a 1-4 road trip* (*and counting) on the west coast...not to mention have fallen short so far in the month of July with a 5-10 record* (*also "and counting"). Ouch.

Well, as the saying goes, a team never is as good as they look on a winning streak, or as bad as they look on a losing streak. Of course the Mets look like world beaters when winning and absolutely horrific on losing streaks.

Take for example last Thursday's and Friday's games against the Giants. Now, the Giants have a fly-ass pitching staff, and with Tim Lincecum starting the first game after the break, it looked like the Mets would have to fight back. However, the Mets have historically been able to handle Lincecum, and our ace in the hole was Carlos Beltran returning after a season-long injury.

Now if I were to tell you that Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey's respective ERAs would go down, but still had a collective 0-2 record in the games they pitched you'd think I was lying, right? Wrong. But can you get upset about losing a game to Lincecum? No. You can get upset however at losing a game against Matt Cain.

Who I'm really upset about though is Mike Pelfrey. What the hell happened to him? I can understand "dead arm" issues but after watching his pitiful performance against the Diamondbacks (whom I'd like to point out are in last place in the NL West) it's clear to me that he's second guessing himself, just like last season. So what gives? According to an article linked out on Metsblog, the consensus from the team is "Mike throw your fastball." That says it all. He needs a shrink, but for brevity sake I say let him just win a game and regain his confidence.

After all, we were ready to throw Johan Santana under the bus for a crappy first half. He's pitched his balls off (uh, pun intended). I know there is "First Half Johan" and "Second Half Santana" but the fact is, his first half was not as indicative as historically told. Not to mention, his differential in the second half was also very slight, meaning there is a difference but I didn't think it was as great as one would believe. Anyway, I'm saying let's give Mike a chance to work his shit out. Not that we have much of a choice. But he will come around I believe.

Next is the offense. Back to the games after All-Star break, losing two in a row 1-0. WTF? When Jose Reyes returned, it took a while for the team to adjust to him back in the lineup, not to mention it also took a while for him to adjust himself back to playing every day. Once he took off, it was like a house-afire. That said, Carlos Beltran looked good at the plate...pitiful on the field. As an example, when I was at Saturday's game in San Francisco, there were two easy plays I personally thought he kind of dogged. Then I thought, well, I can't judge (since you know, I don't get paid to play). But several tweeters I followed not to mention my game partner both said Angel Pagan, had he been playing CF, would have gotten to them easily. Fair point, since I did agree but again though my harsh-on-Carlos gene was coming out to play.

So what do those defensive plays have to do with the offense. Well, it goes to show the whole chemistry thing is not overrated or a myth. However, this is the time for the Mets to make a pont and win some fucking ballgames. I said in June, right before going on the road against two bad teams, the Orioles and the Indians, that nothing less than a sweep against the O's and nothing less than two wins would suffice in those series. Well they swept both series, making a strong statement that they would beat up on the weaker teams. They need to now turn it up and beat on the Diamondbacks to make a statement in their own National League.

I don't want to jump yet. It's discouraging to come back from a hopeful first-half and subsequent All-Star Break to this. It feels like eons since the break, which we all agreed the Mets could use and would need. Now it's time to grab the bull by the balls and kick some ass on the road. Or this season will get short, quickly.

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