The Mets are up to their batting gloves in mediocrity. They’re not bad. They’re not good. They win one day. They lose the next. They score nine runs one day. They score none the next. The bullpen is lights out one day. They get their lights punched out the next. They’re slightly under .500 since the end of last May. Once the undisputed rulers of the National League, they are now just another National League team, drowning in a sea of parity. They are on the cusp of becoming irrelevant. Not bad, not good, not anything.
- Ryan Church (.309, 32 RBI) has been the biggest surprise, and the team MVP. The Mets have been struggling since he went down with a concussion.
- David Wright is on pace for another 30 homer, 100+ RBI season
- Jose Reyes may have figured something out. After studying video clips, he realized his stride was too long. Since then, he’s hit in eleven straight, and has been driving the ball the way he used to.
- Billy Wagner reinvented himself and is having one of his best seasons to date.
- Johan Santana hasn’t been dominant, but he leads the Mets in innings, wins, strikeouts, and ERA. The starting rotation would be a mess without him.
- Carlos Delgado has been the key to the Mets’ struggles at the plate. The Mets acquired Delgado to be their cleanup hitter. He was everything they wanted in 2006, hitting 38 homers, and backing up Carlos Beltran, leading the other Carlos to 41 dingers. In the past two years, however, he has clearly declined, and is a solid six hitter at best. He simply can’t catch up to a major league fastball anymore. The Mets lineup has suffered without the old Delgado’s presence in the number four spot in the order.
- The bullpen has struggled to get the ball to Wagner. They’re still missing a solid eighth inning man. Duaner Sanchez has been effective, save for one outing, but the team is reluctant to push him too hard following his injury. And regular setup man Aaron Heilman has looked lost all year. The bullpen’s most reliable pitcher has been Scott Schoeneweis. ‘Nuff said.
- The bench, a strength on paper, has been horrible, batting under the Mendoza line for the season.
- Injuries to Pedro Martinez, Orlando Hernandez, Moises Alou, Angel Pagan, Ryan Church, and others have had an impact.
- Carlos Beltran looks like Superman one day and Marty Feldman the next. He’s always been streaky, but his lack of power this year (4 homers) has been alarming. Is he suffering from a lack of a fearsome number five hitter, or is he just tired of playing for Willie Randolph, as some have speculated? Or is it just all mechanical?
- Willie Randolph hasn’t been bad. He hasn’t been good either. Fans are growing impatient with his upbeat, prepackaged postgame comments. He comes across as disingenuous. And he didn’t help himself with his racially-motivated comments about how he has been treated by the media. I guess Art Howe, Jeff Torborg, and Bud Harrelson got a free pass? Randolph’s job is legitimately in jeopardy. If the Mets are still mediocre by at least the All-Star break, he may have to start reading the ol’ classifieds.
The Mets are now in the middle of their first truly important series of the year versus the Marlins. They can either make a statement by winning the last two games, or make an even bigger statement by losing one or both games.