Actually the Mets aren’t 4-70. They’re 4-7, which is considerably different — smack dab in the middle of “small sample size” territory, within the bounds of which no wise person draws conclusions. And even if you can’t resist the temptation, a bit of further, mostly non-quantified reflection should be enough to coax you off the ledge.
Let me try:
* The Mets have been in nearly every game. Which hurts when you watch starters crumble in the middle innings or relievers get unlucky late, but isn’t at all the same as getting your brains beat in night after night after night. That isn’t happening here.
* Going into tonight’s game, Met relievers were getting socked around to the clip of a .375 BABIP. That’s unsustainable. (Granted, the bullpen was better tonight and the team still lost.)
* I don’t have the stats at my fingertips, but if I had to guess the Mets are something like 3 for 23,596 with runners in scoring position so far. Also unsustainable, though that says nothing about the incidence of bleeding ulcers in the faithful.
* There are positives. No, really. For instance, Daniel Murphy has been a joy to watch, playing adequate to pretty darn good defense, collecting some timely hits and being robbed of a couple of others, and most of all just being healthy and present again after a lost 2010 and no stock with the new regime in 2011.
* However much it may disappoint his bafflingly rabid detractors, Carlos Beltran looks very much alive. He’s not the lithe, gliding Beltran of old and never will be again — he looks thicker and slower on the bases and in the field. But that bat is still fast and deadly, and in the field he took several routes to balls tonight that reminded you of the Beltran who patrolled center so well for so long.
Granted, there are plenty of dark clouds one suspects hide dark linings, small sample size and all. Pelfrey looks awful, Niese can’t seem to prevent little skitterings of pebbles from turning into landslides, Reyes’s robust batting average isn’t masking that he’s neither walking nor stealing, Willie Harris is making us wonder if we acquired some player with the same name as the Atlanta/Washington outfield sniper but none of the same skills, and Scott Hairston comes to the plate with the bat already ground into sawdust in his hands. All of that is worth at least beginning to think of as problematic.
But again, it’s early — the ledger has a lot more empty space than filled-in lines.
Sometimes it’s a clammy foggy night and what sure looks like a fly ball to right somehow keeps carrying until it’s back in Utleyville (granted, this happens more often when the fly ball is swatted by a beast like Troy Tulowitzki) and your starter has a look on his face like a guy in a business suit who just got crapped on by the one pigeon in a cloudless blue sky. Sometimes that’s enough for you to lose. Sometimes you have a week’s worth of nights like that stacked up all in a row.
It doesn’t portend anything, and there’s no causal link between it and grit or leadership or Bernie Madoff or the Yankees or abandoning the gold standard or Mayan prophecy or anything else.
We’re not 4-70. I know it feels that way, but we’re not. Be not afraid.
At least not yet.
Addendum: The Rockies were wearing one of the worst uniforms I’ve ever seen, if you exclude the Diamondbacks and baseball eras that are intrinsically terrible fashion-wise. There was the two-tone cap, which is awful in nearly every incarnation, particularly when one of the tones is black. There was the horrible spring-training-looking jersey, which also didn’t look like it matched the purple on the cap bill, or at least it didn’t on my set. And there were the road pinstripes, which any right-thinking commissioner would outlaw on the spot. What a trifecta of suck. At least we won the uniform competition, right?