- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

A September for Distemper

Well [1].

Your New York Mets, losers of five of six, will send Daisuke Matsuzaka to the hill on Sunday in an effort to prevent the Indians from sweeping, a tactic that summons up visions of the Maginot Line. Anything’s possible — Dice-K may author the Mets’ second no-hitter for all we know — but the Mets’ best hope for tomorrow is that nobody back in New York is bothering to watch.

Which seems all too likely. Beyond a full slate of games from an inferior sport, once again the Mets are limping down the stretch of a busted season, not just a bad team but once again a deeply boring one.

This time, at least, not all of the lack of fireworks is their fault. David Wright, Matt Harvey and Ike Davis are hurt. Zack Wheeler is nearing his innings limit. So are the minor-league arms one might want to see. Wilmer Flores is struggling to adjust to big-league pitchers who have adjusted to him. (One also suspects he’s a little tired.)

Beyond those guys, what drama is left? If you’re eager to track Lucas Duda’s relative progress at first (crappy calls by all-too-human umpires aside) or keep score as Aaron Harang toes the rubber next week, my cap is doffed to you. My reaction is a shrug. Small sample sizes being what they are, I can’t work up much enthusiasm about Matt den Dekker’s success with the bat or Travis d’Arnaud’s lack of it. I’ll note the debuts of Harang, Sean Henn and perhaps Juan Centeno or Francisco Pena for The Holy Books, but if my calendar’s not clear don’t look for me to rearrange my plans.

Barring some unforeseen significance, the Mets have exactly one feel-good story ahead of them: their Closing Day honoring of Mike Piazza. The rest is shaping up to be a September you don’t want to remember: fuss over Ruben Tejada’s return from exile, the activation of Frank Francisco from the 180-Day Malingerers’ List, and the revelation that Harvey will indeed have Tommy John surgery. (Nicknames aside, Roy Halladay ain’t no doctor.)

And I didn’t even mention the possibility [2] that the Mets will once again kowtow to MLB on 9/11.

The Harvey news is a disaster, though by now it’s a familiar one [3]. The rest of the Mets’ late-season woes don’t particularly impact their future one way or another. But they do leave a sour taste, when we need baseball the most.