The Mets have been receiving some mighty fine starting pitching lately. Yet has it occurred to anybody they might coincidentally be on the wrong end of the same? That it just so happens that the Astro, Phillie, Rockie, Brave, Diamondback, Cardinal, Dodger, Giant, National and Marlin moundsmen have all been on a roll at the exact moment the Mets batters crossed their respective paths?
I hadn’t considered that, but perhaps that’s the answer as to why the Mets since June 28 — the night the Mets began transforming their season of promise into a festival of 4-3 grounders — haven’t hit much, haven’t scored much and have won very little.
Couldn’t be they are just totally and completely inept at one of the key elements of the game.
Nah, that can’t be it. Must be the opposing pitching being absolutely on fire.
Glad I figured that out, ’cause otherwise I’d thing we’ve got here is a group of three-tool players. They can throw, they can field and they’ve run practically unimpeded into severe mediocrity. But they can’t hit — and don’t even begin to dream about them hitting with power.
Jerry Manuel starts the kids, the kids don’t hit. Jerry Manuel starts (or perhaps showcases) the vets, the vets don’t hit. Sometimes the morose Met hitting is compensated for by the vibrant Met pitching. Far more often, it is not.
But again, that’s probably because everybody else’s pitchers are unconscionably hot.
Take the latest Met loss, from Thursday night. Bud Norris stuck out ten fewer batters than he did in his last start, against Pittsburgh, but gave up three fewer hits in just as many innings. Bud Norris, 5.23 ERA notwithstanding, is on a bit of a roll. If we’re going to give credit to Pat Misch for six splendid shutout innings before Carlos Lee pounded his final delivery into Misch patties, we’ve got to figure Norris is doing something right.
And what about that Brett Myers? He’s a proven commodity. He gave up the same two runs in seven innings Wednesday Norris gave up Thursday. That’s some pitching, right there with R.A. Dickey’s in the same game. Oh, and Tuesday…is it that the Mets struggled to score three runs off Nelson Figueroa and three relievers none of us who abstain from fantasy leagues have ever heard of? Or are Figueroa (fighting off vicious migraine-like symptoms, no less), Jeff Fulchino, Mark Melancon and Wilton Lopez just that overwhelming? Maybe they’re every bit as fearsome as just about every other starter and reliever the Mets have encountered since touching down in San Juan and selflessly distributing their bats to the local children as gifts from the mainland.
The Mets occasionally lose to a really good pitcher. They sometimes lose to pretty good pitchers. They have been known to succumb to OK pitchers with better backgrounds than their recent performances would indicate. They also don’t do much against pitchers generally classified as undistinguished or not especially talented.
But maybe they all got hot in accordance with the Met schedule. Maybe nearly every pitcher the Mets have faced for a span of 46 games, of which the Mets have lost 29, is sharp as a tack on the night or day the Mets oppose him.
Sure, that could be it.
Saturday night, 8 o’clock, Shea Stadium returns to Flushing one more time. The Last Play at Shea will have its world premiere on the big screens at Citi Field. I saw the movie at the Tribeca Film Festival in April — twice — and can recommend it as well worth the $10 price of admission (plus the $2 “service charge” if you order through the grubby hands of mets.com). I’m a bit biased since I’m in it for maybe 10 seconds and I contributed some historical research at the filmmakers’ request, but I’m mostly biased because it’s an immense documentary pulling together the intertwined legends of the stadium, the ballclub that played there, the musician who serenaded it last and the Metropolitan Area in which it all took place.
Check out the details here; swing by Section 326, Row 8 before showtime to say hi.