Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Yes, This Does Indeed Suck
So far this season, the Mets are making me and any other fan/blogger/writer who had confidence in the team look like fools. That much is not debatable. Yes, it's only been 17 games. And a determination regarding the ultimate fate of the 2011 Mets (or any other team) can not be made after 17 games. However, if any team in the Majors needed a fast start, it was the Mets. How they've performed so far has not only been bad - their play at times has bordered on unwatchable. So, what should be done?
For one, it's important to note that negativity for the sake of being negative helps no one. If the fans show up at the ballpark every night and boo anything and everything, it won't help. Boo a lack of effort (of which there's been some), but nothing else. It puts the players on their heels. It undoubtedly makes them feel like garbage.
Would I be stunned if the Mets continued falling downward and spiraled into oblivion? No. Would I be stunned if the Mets won 7 games in a row? No.
The main problem with the Mets' 5-12 start is that it's the only sample size we have. If they had a stretch like this after beginning the year 26-21, people would be upset. They'd be disgusted. But they wouldn't be calling for an immediate firesale. Doing that after such a tiny sample size (no matter how brutal it's been) is foolish. The Mets aren't this bad. I think that's pretty apparent. So, what ails this team? What can be done immediately to alleviate some of the issues? Here are a few suggestions:
-Release Chin Lung Hu: Most fans have been saying this since day one. Hu has absolutely no value to the team. He's strictly a defensive replacement, who is not being used as a defensive replacement. His main value is as a shortstop, and the Mets have a shortstop who plays every inning of every game. Hu is completely overmatched at the plate, which has led some to pronounce that they'd rather pinch hit with RA Dickey. Hu needs to go. Now. Cut him and call up Nick Evans.
-Increase Pedro Beato's responsibility: Terry Collins intimated today that Jason Isringhausen is the team's 8th inning man, which is fine. However, the bridge to Izzy and Frankie must go through Beato. He's been the best arm in the pen so far, and has fantastic stuff. There's no need to baby him.
-Argue when horrendous calls go against you: This is for Terry Collins...the worst possible thing for the fans to get a sense of is apathy. And that's exactly what they sensed last night after a series of terrible calls against Josh Thole and an almost impossibly bad call at 2nd base doomed the Mets. It was the perfect time for Collins to get himself run, to maybe light a fire. At the very least, getting tossed there would've given the umps some pause...maybe they'd be a little less apt to screw the Mets. Just maybe. Next time that happens, I expect an explosion.
-Disprove the notion that the team is soft: Ever since 2006, there's been a belief that the team is soft. That they quit when they're down, don't go above and beyond, don't pitch inside, don't fight back when someone (an ump, an opposing player), bullies their team. That has to change. Winning solves everything. However, while this team is learning how to win, it's important to show that they have a chip on their shoulder. As Billy Joel says at the end of each of his concerts, "Don't take no shit off nobody." For the longest time, this team has not only taken it, they've fallen down and rolled around in it. That has to stop.
I'm confident that the Mets will turn this around. That they actually have talent. That there's absolutely no way they can continue to underperform to the level they have so far this season. If they improve, and do the four things listed above, the clouds will start to part. There will still be storms every now and then, but the daily sense of dread will go away. Their mission starts tonight, at home, against a brutal Houston team. Destroy them, please.