Friday, June 08, 2007

New York Mets Malaise? [J. Mark English]

For the first time all season, fans who root hard for the orange and blue, are feeling more blue then orange these days. And with good reason. There is a lack of confidence in the bullpen. Wagner blew his first save of the season last night. Aaron Heilman looks like he is about to slit his wrist every time he takes the mound. Scott Schoeneweis hasn't gotten an out since the last full moon.

Carlos Beltran is the only health outfielder on the team. Even the back up outfielders are injured and on the D.L. Chavez went on the disabled list as of today. Alou may not see another crack at the bat for sometime. Still waiting for Shawn Green to return. Carlos Gomez has not exactly been tearing it up at the plate. Ben Johnson really belongs in the minors, not in the majors.

The Mets bats have also gone cold. This is happening in light of the Mets pitching staff being very solid. I think for something like the last ten games they have not given up more then three runs. But if your offense only scores two, then what good is that to a team?

The hope for the Mets is that they can chalk up this downturn to injuries. If it is injuries, then hopefully they return to the healthy side of life very soon. Because the season is about to get a lot more difficult. They take to the road against the AL defending champs, the Detroit Tigers. (The Phillies get the KC is that fair?) Then they must fly out west for a showdown with the the L.A. Dodgers. After the western swing, they return home for a battle with their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees. Whats worse is that they may wind up playing a dangerous Yankees team in the middle of a resurgence.

As the Mets swoon, the Yankees are beginning to fly. Their offense beginning to click. A-Rod is back to being...well, A-Rod. And if Roger Clemens can bring in a dominating presence, suddenly things may be looking upwards for a team that I wrote off last week.

Either this week for the Mets is just one bad egg in a basket full of wonderful treats. Or, its the beginning of a drought which could pull them into a tight race between the steady Atlanta Braves, and the hot Philadelphia Phillies.

Say what you want about Jimmy Rollins. His remarks about his team in spring training may were brazen. But he sure is backing up his words on the field. The little guy has killed the Mets, batting over .400 and driving homers against them every chance he gets.

Anyway, this coming week may tell us a lot about the character of the Mets. Can they respond to their first real bout of adversity this season. Will they bend to the terrible forces of mounting injuries? Can the bullpen regain the confidence it had earlier this year? Will the offense find its swagger? Will this team learn to score again?

So many questions. Answers will be forthcoming starting tonight against the Tigers. Stay tuned.

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