The Mets are so far out of first place in the National League East that I woke up Sunday realizing I never bothered to check how Atlanta did on Saturday (they won, natch). They’re behind everybody you don’t want to be behind for the Wild Card, and have a few teams closing in on them that nobody would mistake for late-charging contenders. They’ve been outscored Something-Nothing more often than I care to count and have suffered through a West Coast swing pungently reminiscent of July 1991, when they went to California 15 games over .500 and came home in throes of what turned out to be a six-year slump. Worst of all from my “It’s So Much Better This Year Than Last Year” perspective, their record at this juncture of 2010 is exactly two games better than their record at this juncture of 2009.
I’m still not mad at them, but I’m becoming resigned to the likelihood that “The Best is Yet to Come” will not be this September’s version of “L.A. Woman”. We had enough problems with L.A. Dodgers these last four games. We had problems aplenty with Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants, too, and we haven’t beaten anybody a series since we were matched up with the Minnesota Twins. Good golly, we haven’t taken a set from a single National League club since the San Diego Padres visited Citi Field the second week of June.
Nevertheless, not mad. Just resigned until I have a reason to jump on board again. If only the Mets still had all those players who were doing so well a month or so ago. You remember: Wright, Reyes, Pagan, Dickey, Santana, Davis, Niese, Feliciano, Parnell, some other dudes…why did we get rid of that bunch and bring in these clowns?
That’s not a sideswipe at Carlos Beltran, by the way. Carlos Beltran’s major drawback is his possession of a human body, one that didn’t heal quickly and one that hasn’t rounded into 100% playing shape. Give Carlos Beltran two weeks — there are ten left on the schedule — and he could very well remind us of the Carlos Beltran we know and love. Right now he reminds me of the Carlos Baerga we knew and wondered, “What the hell?” But I take Beltranism in its present state as a temporary condition.
I take the 7-17 dregs that have washed ashore since that ill-fated trip to Thunder Island commenced as impermanent, too. Not every game is destined to be like Sunday’s…even if Sunday was the perfect apotheosis of what every game of late has been like. At any rate, not every inning will necessarily be Sunday’s sixth, the frame in which Reyes singles; is caught stealing 1-3-6 ahead of a Castillo double; Wright fouls out; Beltran hits a shot that is clearly headed to left until it’s intercepted by Casey Bleeping Blake; and Dickey’s left hip — if not his fighting spirit — has to be dragged kicking, screaming and tweaked from the mound while he’s pitching an unsupported gem.
You can give yourself whiplash looking for reasons this team has crumbled like a Drake’s Cake just as you can get a lethal sunburn waiting to meet a Met as he crosses home plate at Dodger Stadium. You can do anything you like, but there’s nothing you can do.
It’s just one of those weeks that effectively ends your season until further notice.