Saturday Was A Microcosm Of Past 11 Months

Last night, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to write about this morning. The I checked out today’s New York Post and saw that Kevin Kernan basically wrote exactly what I had in mind. So rather than have anyone thing I am plagiarist, I will comment on parts of Kernan’s insightful column.

I attended the early game yeterday and even though Johan Santana had anything but a stellar performance, the Mets bats did their part to carry him to a his first win at Shea as a Met.

I walked away from Shea feeling good about the Mets…

Back-to-back 12 run wins…Carlos Delgado, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran all seemingly back on track…a decent west coast swing..all this had me believing again in the Mets…

Then the nightcap game happened.

Same old Mets. Bonehead plays, sleepy bats, and an appearance of not giving a crap as things fell apart late.

In a 9 hour period, we saw all the Mets have to offer. Glimpses of greatness, glimpses of crap. That sounds like mediocrity to me.

Kernan writes:

PASSION comes before winning. The Mets could not sustain their energy for two games yesterday.

The split doubleheader at Shea Stadium was every thing you needed to know about the makeup of the 2008 Mets.

The bats came alive in the first game, pounding out 12 hits in a 12-6 victory over the Reds. Then Bronson Arroyo put the Mets’ bats to sleep in the night game as Cincinnati produced a 7-1 victory as the Season of Boos returned to Shea Stadium.

Arroyo allowed only one run. In his previous 16 2/3 innings, the right-hander surrendered 23 runs on 31 hits.

But he tricked the Mets by changing speeds, quick-pitching and outright embarrassing them. He couldn’t retire five batters his last time out. Last night he retired final 13 batters he faced over eight innings.

The Maddening Messy Mets also made two errors in the nightcap.

“It was a long day, but they were out there as long as we were,” said David Wright, who made one of those errors. “No excuses. We’ve got to go out there and play better.”

Yes, they do, but maybe the Mets don’t have the type of personnel to do that.

Time and again, David Wright is the only regular player who give an outward appearance of caring about his and the teams performance.

Billy Wagner was brought into the 2nd game in a non-save situation since didn’t pitch in a week. In typical Wagner fashion, he stunk it up (though aded by crappy defense behind him) and gave up several runs. When Willie came to take him out, he beat up a Gatorade cooler. Thanfully, Wags definitely cares about his and his team’s performance.

Ex-Met Jeff Keppinger, who was traded for Ruben Gotay and was never really given a chance by the Mets, collected a career-high five hits in the second game, raising his average to .317. That was one more hit than the entire Mets team. But who’s counting.

Keppinger is a grinder. At this point, the Mets don’t appear to have a lot of grinders.

They have talent, but their players have shown themselves to be soft. Until they start grinding, the Mets will continue to falter when they run up against any type of difficult circumstances.

This game is all having a certain toughness and the ability to take advantage of the other side. The Mets don’t do that.

During these type of long days, it’s all about grinding it out. The Reds are a last-place team. If the Mets can’t take advantage of going against a last-place team with a struggling pitcher, after having knocked around that team in the opening game, when and where are they going to show the toughness to beat the Phillies, the Braves and the Marlins?

Not to beat a dead horse but the makeup of this team is something that Teflon GM Omar Minaya needs to be called out on. Unfortunately, Kernan falls short of doing that.

The Keppinger for Gotay trade makes absolutely no sense in retrospect. The Mets never gave Keppinger a chance, despite him proving himself as a hitter in college and at every level of pro ball, including with the Mets in 2004.

Hew was given up for Gotay and ultimately Gotay was released because Gotay was the player he was when the Mets got him–so-so glove with a good bat.

The Mets can use two or three Keppingers on their team right now. Instead they have a glut of milquetoast starters, and a bench filled with decent outfielders and no one to play a capable back up infield.

In that first game the bats were alive but Johan Santana was nothing special, allowing 10 hits and three runs over six innings. In the second game, Mike Pelfrey actually pitched better than Santana, but had nothing to show for it as the Mets offense disappeared.

After all their success in the first game the Mets went right back into their funk in the second game. On the day the Mets surrendered 29 hits and the bullpen was mildly atrocious. The offense had its chances early in the second game but Arroyo got out of trouble.

The Mets fell back into their bad habits of swinging at the first pitch.

They went right back to being those Maddening Messy Mets, a lifeless bunch capable of being embarrassed by any team, any place, at any time.

Today’s game is a must win for the Mets and especially for Oliver Perez, who needs to get back on track. I cannot believe that I am actually writing that a game in May against Cincinnati is a must win but they need to salvage a series win.

That is what has become of the Mets these days.

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