It's getting so bad that I'm beginning to think Brian Schneider deserves to be traded to a contender.
Strangely enough, our lone power bat of the weekend actually is on a contender, through no fault of his teammates. Your depleted, disabled, demoralized, depressing New York Mets have lost 12 of 18, yet sit no more than 2 games from first place in their division. Will wonders and helpful American East League combatants ever cease?
Can't speak for the former and we know we have the latter working on our behalf for only another week. Bon Rayage to our friends from Tampa Bay as they set sail for three dates at home versus their October 2008 nemeses the Phils. If the Rays, who zapped us Sunday, can do what the Orioles did — sweep Philadelphia — all will be forgiven from this soggy weekend. Then it's the Blue Jays' turn to reinforce the lessons of 1993. After a fashion, however, we'll probably have to stop relying on others to get our job of staying close to top of our division done.
In case you're wondering, even though we've been playing dead, we're not dead yet. Not just the Phillies are in range, but so is the National League Wild Card; it's never too early to not sneeze at any possible ticket into the postseason. Sadly, it's not as close as it was recently. We are 2½ out of the Consolation Prize, but we're fifth in that particular derby, trailing…oh, it doesn't really matter at the moment 'cause we're talking a pretty fluid situation. Other than Washington and probably Arizona and San Diego (and Pittsburgh, since Carlos Beltran noted how they couldn't shine the Mets' shoes after they took three straight from us), everybody in the N.L. is not just alive for a playoff spot. Everybody is conceivably viable.
Well, sure. It's June 22. There are 95 Mets games left and a similar amount for everybody else. It would be folly to count us out no matter how many Mets pitchers couldn't make their sinkers sink, their fastballs move, their strikes not turn into runs — and no matter how hard Jerry Manuel tugs on his relievers' arms in an effort to make them fall off. We're not healthy at the moment — Jose Reyes, in particular, is not close to returning, which I should have known after Omar Minaya hinted he might be — but someday we might be healthier. John Maine and Oliver Perez are set to go the Amy Winehouse route and, if all goes to plan…who am I kidding? There is no plan. There can't be a plan where the Mets and their nicks, cuts, scrapes and dire bodily circumstances are concerned. I will believe none of these rehab reports or derive any satisfaction from the alleged progress they yield until somebody's actually back on the team and back on the field. That goes for Reyes, for Maine, for Perez, for Delgado…you know, I'd all but forgotten Angel Pagan was on the DL, too. You know when I'll count on Angel Pagan? When he's playing left or right or, MRI forbid, center for the big league club and presumably getting hurt again.
We're two out of first and only 2½ from the Wild Card with a long way to go. Keep telling yourself that. It's the only thing I've got these days.
Hope you've got Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.