What a difference an inning makes. I'm not going to sit here and over-analyze Sunday afternoon's game as I am wont to do. I'm sure that you all share my frustration with the way the Mets lost the game. A couple of kids made a couple of errors. A 40-year-old relief pitcher was tired from making appearances in five consecutive games.
As the eighth inning unraveled, the fire inside me was burning hotter and hotter. The Mets were within two innings of taking the game and the series, of feeling good about themselves and of heading into the next seven games against division rivals on an upswing.
As I watched the errors occur in succession and one ineffective reliever after another let this game slip away, I became so enraged that finally, after Bernie Williams' RBI double gave the Yankees the lead, I just let loose from my diaphram one word, one long-billowing syllable. I scared my dog half to death and once again made my fiancee wonder to herself why she accepted a proposal from such a loose cannon.
I've actually been much better this year. The Mets have lost a bunch of games, but this is the first time I lost my mettle. I think it's because of the way the game fell apart. If the Mets were beaten with their best pitcher on the mound by some hard hit balls this loss would have been a much easier pill to swallow. Sloppy baseball and mismanaging of the bullpen and the starting lineup contributed heavily to this loss, and that's what stings the most.
Is it so important to continue to coddle David Wright that we must continue to watch Doug Mientkiewicz and his .203 batting average flail away uselessly at pitch-after-pitch. Wright needs to be moved into the top half of the order, and the move needs to happen sooner rather than later. Continuing to give unneccessary at-bats to out-machines like Jose Reyes, Miguel Cairo, and Eyechart has assuredly already cost the Mets in the "W" column, and will continue to cost them until Willie Randolph wakes up and smells the sub-.300 on-base percentages.
Am I overreacting here? I mean, the Mets were supposed to be a .500 team, and here we are forty-three games into the season and they're two games over .500. Here are some ideas I've come up with to improve the team's performance.
- Release Mike DeJean. Nothing fancy, just release him. He's given up 12 walks and 18 hits in 15 innings.
- Demote or release Eric Valent and call up Brian Daubach. Daubach is a journeyman, but he's hitting .373/.438/.672 at Norfolk in 134 at-bats. Give him a few starts at first base to light a fire under Mientkiewicz.
- Don't pitch any reliever more than three games in a row, especially if they're 40 years old.
- Don't bat Jose Reyes leadoff. Sure, every once in a while he'll pull a two-triple game out of his ass, but more often than not he'll go 1-for-4 with no walks.
- Do bat David Wright somewhere in the top-half of the lineup. I touched on this earlier, so I'm not going to bore you with the details again.