Tuesday, July 31, 2012
As the Mets' official 1967 Yearbook displays above, things could be a lot worse in Met land. Before last night's game, I began to think of what I wanted out of the rest of the season. Who I wanted to see succeed, the type of performances I wanted to see, where I wanted the team to end up. As the game began, a record popped into my mind: 33-27. The Mets would have to go 33-27 the rest of the way in order to finish the season above .500 at 82-80. Although it seems the season has already slipped away, my body refused to drift off to sleep as last night's fiasco of a game twisted and turned to its eventual conclusion at around 2 AM Eastern time. And when the game was over, a new record popped into my head: 32-27.
Regardless of what your feelings are regarding the team's inactivity before and during today's trade deadline - whether you hated, loved, or were indifferent to the lack of moves, the deadline has passed. The Mets' chances to alter the roster drastically are gone. Now, you can root for the team to completely tank in order to net a higher pick in next year's draft, or you can root for them to succeed. I'll be doing the latter. A first half that was so full of promise has devolved rapidly, and the Mets find themselves at 50-53, nowhere near the position they were in when the first half drew to a close.
The first half featured brilliant starting pitching and timely hitting that was able to partially negate the horrendous bullpen. After Johan Santana's ankle was stepped on, and Dillon Gee went down with a freak season ending blood clot, the matter was compounded when R.A. Dickey timed his only poor stretch of the season along with the aforementioned strokes of bad luck. The Mets' bullpen is a disaster regardless, and the defense and offense have left a lot to be desired, but the Mets' fate was likely sealed when the starting pitching went from a strength to a weakness.
Coming into the season, I felt the team would hover around .500, and potentially reach the mid 80's in wins. Miracles have happened, and I'm not completely writing the season off with 59 games left to play (as Mets fans have seen first hand, leads can evaporate rather quickly). As the team is currently constituted, it doesn't appear as they're about to make a miracle run -which is why I'm asking for 32-27. If the Mets go 32-27 the rest of the way, they'll finish at 82-80. It would be their first winning season since 2008, and it would mean that they avoided what befell them over the last three seasons: a second half collapse. The move the team has taken in the right direction would be reflected in their win total, and a positive second half would hopefully help to show David Wright that the team is close to being a legitimate contender, and in turn facilitate a long-term contract extension.
82-80 is not what you want to strive for year after year. Still, if the Mets finish with that record, it will mean that they exceeded expectations - that the season as a whole was indisputably positive. The Mets haven't been able to say that since 2006. So, Mets, give us 32-27. And if you can shove some more wins in there, all the better.