Opinion: So close, but so far…

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

The Mets have lost six straight games, they’re seven games under .500, yet still just five games away from two different playoff spots.

The loss to the Giants on Sunday was one of the more frustrating games I’ve seen all season, complete with bad base running, fielding mistakes, bizarre decisions by the manager and more abysmal hitting with runners in scoring position. It was a Greatest Hits show of what has plagued this team in their worst moments.

In their last six games, all losses, the Mets are batting .145 with runners in scoring position. Yes, .145. Yet, remarkably, they have scored the sixth-most runs in the NL this season with runners in scoring position. This is hard to believe, but it’s true (ESPN, June 9).


MLB: New York Mets at Chicago Cubs


Here’s the thing though, 63 games in to the season and Terry Collins is still being forced to essentially play without a starting left and center fielder, a catcher and a shortstop, while getting below-average production from third base, first base and right field (Baseball Reference, June 9). I don’t blame him for reaching, which inevitably leads to poor decisions when desperate.

I genuinely think there is a good team in here some place, I think. They’ve played really well at times, but also played unbelievably bad. They’ve lost a ton of close games. This would be a drastically different discussion if the Mets could be, say, 12-13 in one-run games instead of what they are, which is 8-17. In that case, they’d be over .500 and tied for first. That’s just four little runs.

“I guess there’s always a silver lining where you can find good things here and there, but ultimately it’s about wins and losses,” David Wright told reporters after Sunday’s loss. “These last six days have been losses. It sucks. It’s tough to find those kinds of positives.”

There is 2/3 of the season left in a division that can’t find itself. This, plus the Mets rotation and promising bullpen, give me hope that Sandy Alderson and Collins can sit down and figure out what is missing, what isn’t working and how to fix it. I don’t pretend to know the realistic, practical solution. Is it trading for a hitter? Is it promoting more arms? Is it switching up the lineup? Is it replacing more coaches? The manager? More work on fundamentals before the game? Is it the uniforms? The schedule? The coincidence of competition? The crazy travel these last few weeks? Something else? I don’t know. But, something has to happen, because, as is – much sooner than later – this season is going to crash and burn.




263 comments
Jesse Toyens Martinez
Jesse Toyens Martinez

Enough of Terry Collins.. I think we know his ceiling already, Wally Backman should be the manager rest of year. #JV #Mets

Bryan McEntee
Bryan McEntee

Matt, its not a surprise that the Mets suck this year. Every single fan, except you, realized that before a single pitch was thrown this season. 

jdm711
jdm711

How about an honest post that goes something like this:  The Mets suck because the owners only care about money, they don't know baseball and they don't understand the principle of investment and return (as evidenced by their co-dependence with the likes of Madoff).  They have either tied Alderson's hands or Alderson is not getting the job done.  Collins is not the main problem, but at this point a change is needed.  The only thing that will really turn the Mets long term will be a campaign to oust the owner led by WFAN staff (no longer beholden to the Mets) a la the demand for the Piazza tirades, or at a grass roots level.  Metsblog is in the team's pocket, so there are many things that can't be said.  The whole operation has reached an all time low, similar in my mind to the day owners decided to get rid of Seaver for asking for money that he deserved and used Dick Young as their shill to get the job done.  The Mets ownership is not only incompetent and apathetic, there is an ooze of slime that covers Ebbets-Citi Field that cannot be removed until the Wilpons are sold and far away in Madoff land in Palm Beach or whereever, who cares.  Let's bring it on!  I picked up the Mets in May in 1969 and have been an intensely loyal fan ever since.  But right now I feel like a born sucker.  Revolt!  Fire the owners!

Pete Fiske
Pete Fiske

its...8 little runs, matt...not 4...4 runs ties 4 games...they could still (and probably) lose them

8 little runs...gets them those 4 wins you are thinking about


of course...if you had a home run hitter or two in this team, who hits 270 or so...

instead of a collection of strike out kings, pitch takers,  and single hitters...maybe you might score some more runs


and maybe if you scored some runs, you might have bigger leads near the end of games, and you wouldn't need to "scott-prostor-ize" your bullpen by using them so often


Darrell Smith
Darrell Smith

They need to fire Terry re and bring in someone who'll change the direction this club is headed. They are getting a defeated attatude , Terry is unable to change the climate.

boo5270
boo5270

Matt - you genuinely think the mets have a good team that is underperforming?  Who is underperforming?  They are essentially all performing to their ability.  Every guy. 

roxy
roxy

Remember the Mets Theme Song

Beat the Mets, beat the Mets

step rite up and beat the Mets

Its's so easy, Its's so fun

ALL you need is 1 run and you've won

Because the Mets are really missing those ball's

Hitting those foul balls over the wall's

Eastside Westside, nobody's coming down

To meet the F--k Met's of NY town.

tw22
tw22

I'm more cponcerned that this team lost three to the Cubs, the Giants are one of the best teams in the National League. There is no shmae in dropping three on the road to them, its losing to THE organization that has it worse than us right now. That's what gets me.

hankincolo
hankincolo

Matt, I'm usually pretty good at quickly finding the stat I need, but I couldn't seem to find their record in one run games for the years they were in the post-season. However, I'd bet my mortgage that the good teams win more one run games than they lose. 

Fans of the '86 team (the gold standard) will clearly remember how they mostly dominated the last three innings. This series with the Giants showed us how when that team needed a run or needed to hold the line, they did. This Mets team with this line-up is mediocre at best. Limited talent equals losing those crucial last three innings which equals a very poor one run game record. 

Therefore, no matter how much spin you'd like to give us with your "there's a good team in here someplace" line. The fact is even if Lagares returns, the Mets are still playing with half a line-up. Tell me I'm wrong, but I just don't see this roster worrying any pitchers.

semperfi
semperfi

Akeel Morris has a .28 ERA, 50Ks in 30 innings having given up only 12 hits, promote to AA, he is 22, why do we drag are feet promoting, Nimmo, Plawecki, Matt Reynolds, all of which are the same age range as Reyes, Wright and Murphy were when promoted and all are doing better but none of which seem close to getting to the MLB level. Every player in the organization should be given the opportunity to be promoted as quickly as their success allows and not based on the round they were drafted in which sometimes seems to be the case. I hope to see their #1 pick this year move quickly not spending a year at each stop.

Edwin Melendez
Edwin Melendez

Chris Young is terrible, a failed acquisition. Lucas Dudas performance history shows that he is not the answer at first base, he is mediocre at best. The players they have used at shortstop are not the answer. Its obvious d'Arnaud's bat is not ready for prime time. I do not know where they will find  the answer to these 4 positions. Until they find players that can hit for these positions they will not win. 

Doubleday
Doubleday

The team can't stay healthy:  Blame?  Manager

The team can't  play fundamentally sound baseball:  Blame?  Manager

The line-up card is a nightly disaster:  Blame?  Manager

The team can't hit in clutch situations:  Blame?  Manager and his hitting coach

The pitchers can't get past the 5th or 6th inning:  Blame?  Manager and his pitching coach

The top prospects are rotting on the bench behind non-performing vets:  Blame?  Manager

Reclamation projects that aren't panning out:  Blame?  GM

Annoyed fans aren't paying to go to games:  Blame?  OWNERS for allowing the above to happen.


semperfi
semperfi

The best move for SA is to reposition TC somewhere in the organization and promote Wally who is a fan favorite, World Champion and knows how to develop players, TC is a nice guy and should be given an opportunity to stay with that organization letting him same face and spinning it into a positive for PR purposes, Wally will give the fans and players a new face, voice and hope for change of direction with a ball club that needs it, then SA can focus on fixing the roster problems one at a time, they don't all have to be fixed to compete but have to make some changes to be taken seriously.

Michael Zvirblis
Michael Zvirblis

The obsessed Met fans I knew are all gone except for 1 egghead who still wastes his time going & crying.

ofdzca7
ofdzca7

It's ridiculous to measure the team's progress by proximity to the two playoff spots, as this site keeps doing. At least the FO is not so gullible. 

Dave D'Agnese
Dave D'Agnese

Until lagares gets back, screw outfield defense at this point. We can't score. The lineup should be

Campbell-Lf. leading off

Murphy 2b

Wright 3b

Granderson cf

Brown rf

Duda 1b

Flores ss

Recker c

Perfect left right balance and best opportunity to put runs on the board. Campbell gets on base, would be a great table setter

Michael Glyn Hall
Michael Glyn Hall

I'm usually completely on the same page as Cerrone but I find the 'there's a good team in there somewhere' comment a little vacuous; point to any team in the league and you'll find at least one underachiever ("if only he hit his potential"), an over-the-hill veteran ("if only he has one final breakout season") and a bevy of youngsters, a third of which will actually stay in the bigs. No, baseball runs on proven commodities, where you're more likely to find a needle in a haystack, than a diamond in the rough. Fans are crying out for a stable nucleus, not reclamation projects. Easier said than done, the FA market is insane. LGM.

dluts33
dluts33

Good post Matt and I agree that they are not far away, but need some pretty significant moves that are probably not realistic to complete in-season and will need to wait to the offseason. They need to bring in an everyday Major league caliber 1B, SS, LF and C. On top of that, they need to rid themselves of Terry Collins. NOBODY has developed over the last 4 years under TC, and in many cases players have regressed. This team needs a manager who is going to bring these players along, and TC has not been that guy from day 1 (oh yeah, and he is immune to winning games). Some of these things can be done quickly, but chances are this team is not going to compete until 2015 and that is going to be determined by Alderson's aggressiveness to address these issues.

Steve Finelli
Steve Finelli

Matt, bad teams consistently lose one run games.  Face it.......this is a bad team and it wouldn't surprise me that they end up in last while losing 90+ games.  They can't win at home, they can't hit, especially w men on base, their bullpen is VERY inconsistent and the starting pitching can't continue it's great run as they have been pitching above expectations and the law of averages will catch up.  One thing concerning about the young arms is the alarming number of walks which tells me that they don't have confidence in their stuff and they nitpick far too much.

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

The season is now more than one-third over. What do we know? With even a marginally better bullpen the team would be at .500. That one's on Sandy. With one of two professional hitters (C, SS and LF) the team would be at .500. That one's on Sandy. Team fundamentals are non-existent. That one's on TC and coaching staff. It's not like they didn't have time to address these issues. I think you get to a point where you just need to hear a new voice. There will be more hot and cold streaks but I think we can agree that the team will greet the All Star break ten games under .500. This will mark six consecutive years of meaningless Summer baseball.

spelletrader
spelletrader

Same sh!t, different season. Nothing about this team is close to anything other than last place. Don't let parity fool you, this team is horrendously bad.

Sell high.

gpopper
gpopper

Sell the team! It's not going to happen anytime soon. Fred wants Jeffy to have it and that is apparently that. I do believe Alderson is nothing more than a con artist, but who knows what goes on behind the scenes with the Wilpons. That leaves Collins and the coaching staff. I hate the firing of people just for changes sake, but it may be warranted here. Collins is a terrible field manager, IMHO. Teufel a mediocre third base coach. Warthen an iffy pitching coach. Select a door and send them out it. I believe Alderson should go also. The team is in a shambles right now and it doesn't appear it's going to get any better, anytime soon. Fans have their own preference as to which players should go and CY seems to be at the top of the list. Needless to say, there are more, but that's a start.

This organization from top to bottom is completely dysfunctional. From Collins on up, there is very little caring about the fans. It's been shown in remarks by Collins, Alderson and the Wilpons. The fans will love the team, but will not support it when owners, the GM and manager have that kind of mind set. Alderson makes moves out of desperation and Collins manages out of desperation. It's not a pretty picture. I could go on and on, but it's not worth it anymore. All fans have their opinions on how to fix things, right or wrong. WhT it does show beyond anything is the fan base is sick and tired of the garbage being thrown their way from both the organization heads and the playing on the field. People complain for one reason, they care about the Mets. Least the owners and GM could o would be the same. blah, Blah, Blah.... Let's Go Mets. And all,that.

John Grillo
John Grillo

To go from 8-17 to 12-13 in one run games is not just 4 little runs, it's 8.... you would need 2 more runs a game to win them. ... that aside I agree with the tone of most of the article... they need a Donn Clendenon type move which was adding an INTIMIDATING hitter to an otherwise weak line-up with a couple of decent hitters.... the World Series won't result in it, like Clendenon, but unlike Donn, they need one that will hang around 3-5 years. ... there aren't too many of these guys in baseball these days but that's what they need... Forget the Citi Field factor for a moment, Wright was never better then when he had Delgado (& Beltran)

JoMama
JoMama

This reads like a SNY circle jerk. Just call a spade a spade - this is not a good team, they play terrible baseball, are handcuffed by one of the worst FO's in pro sports and are banking on a few 20 year olds to turn the club around....in 5 years. My little girl will be 8 by then - I can't believe I'm putting her through a lifetime of baseball misery.

theglider
theglider

Chris Young plays because he was promised at bats. As bad as that deal was, it's what was done, so he has to play, like it or not.

Mike Kampf
Mike Kampf

So close?? Really?? Not so Matt. The divisions mediocrity as a whole is not reason to believe the Mets are So Close!! That's ridiculous & ignores the lack of hitting, scoring runs, players underperforming, being SWEPT by Cubs, the fact that they are 8-17 in 1 run games, being 7 games under .500 (That's close?), & lack of investment in this team! Listening to Joe & Evan right now saying the Mets are PATHETIC!! Ownership refuses to invest even as fan base erodes!! Pathetic!! C'mon Matt!!

Bryan McEntee
Bryan McEntee

@jdm711 Too bad Matt goes out of his way to find the silver lining. Metsblog could be such a powerful tool to oust the Wilpons

hankincolo
hankincolo

@roxy  I always like the line a friend of mine used. It was a play on the phrase, the Magic is back, instead his line was the tragic is back.

hankincolo
hankincolo

@tw22 I semi-disagree. I always prefer to look at current trends, such as how is a pitcher doing in  his last three starts? All teams have a hot streak where everything goes right and they take advantage of a slumping team. That's what the Mets did in Philly. However, all of these past 6 games were winnable. A good team wins at least half of them even if they not playing well.

hankincolo
hankincolo

@semperfi Because this team is in rebuilding mode. Rushing kids to the bigs will burn anbd ruin some of them. Moving Montero up when they did was understandable, but he's now shell shocked and trying to regain what he was doing in Vegas before he was brought. Those kids you mentioned haven't even made it to Triple - A. Give them time.  Plus, give them the chance to demolish the opposition in the league they're in before moving them up. Mid-season moves should tell us more about where this organization thinks they stand.

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

@JoMama That article was spot-on. And perhaps even a little easy on Terry. There just comes a time when words fall on deaf ears. There is a predominant culture of losing within this organization. It hasn't been helped by some of the most head-scratchingly clueless personnel moves since the organization tried to make Jose Reyes a second-basemen. The team IS competitive. And the season is not yet lost. Expunge the dead wood. You know who they are. Sure, Montero had a few bad games but he's the future. Give the fans a reason to visit Citifield.

ShawnP
ShawnP

@Dave D'Agnese  And NO Chris the stiff to be seen anywhere! I like this lineup for what it is and all we have anyway.

Dave D'Agnese
Dave D'Agnese

I don't know about everyone else but when he signed I thought him and Granderson both at best would be .230/15/70 with at least 100 k's each. Horrible signing and many of us knew it and dreaded it

Glenn Blasius
Glenn Blasius

@dluts33 "Not far away" and "needing a MLB caliber 1B, SS, LF and C." sounds like...."VERY FAR AWAY."  


Seriously, we should put our efforts into getting rid of the wilpons rather than savaging each other.  

gpopper
gpopper

Because he's available as a target. It's the closest one to me gets it syndrome. I don't agree with him all the time, but he's like all of us, he does seem to care about the team. And the there are some that just like being tough behind a computer. Matt gets paid for it, he can handle it, whether it's right or wrong. But, there are better ways to get your point across without shooting the messenger.

roxy
roxy

Yes, I remember that phrase. It is from the 80's. Mine is from the 70's.

Dave D'Agnese
Dave D'Agnese

@oldrockingguy at least ride out the hot hands until or if they even revert. Its better than young and abreu. That's the best run producing lineup we can put out there right now. Just give campbell three starts in a row what harm can it do seriously

dluts33
dluts33

Based on perspective. This team CAN be very good next season, if they make some necessary trades and/or free agent signings to address there current needs. In addition to firing Terry Collins. I would consider that close, because they have a real shot at completing for a championship next season if they do what they have to do. Ya gotta believe!

gpopper
gpopper

With Bud as honcho, the Wilpons aren't going anywhere, unfortunately. The team hasn't reached mega disaster status yet, at least in their eyes. I do agree savaging each other accomplishes nothing at all.

theglider
theglider

Then they'll never get another deal with any client if his agent, and he has many.

JoMama
JoMama

@dluts33 Enough of this already. Sure we "can" be good but we're not going to be. I'm as optimistic as the next guy but after 6 straight losses, I have lost faith. Everyone knew with early leads in SF that we were still going to lose those games - the bats, the pen, TC/Warthen - EVERYONE.

theglider
theglider

And we will never get another CAA client as a free agent. CAA represents Chris Young and I'm guessing they don't like seeing deals they've made broken.

theglider
theglider

Right.

People in here think this is all done in a vacuum and no one else is watching. You break a deal with a player and he'll talk about it, other players will talk about and his agent will tell clients, other agents and anyone else about it. And no one will forget.

theglider
theglider

We can explain this all day but they still don't listen. This is the same crowd that screamed when Eric Young wasn't put in as a pinch runner only to find that he was injured. And the ones who demanded Lagares play when he was on bereavement leave.

They give them eyes but they just can't see.