(Long Island, N.Y.) Poor Terry Collins. The Mets manager is doing whatever he can to try and salvage whatever is left of the baseball season. But with his team’s plunge since the All-Star break, they are merely playing out the string – again.
With a 55-62 record at press time, the Mets are much closer to last place than first or either Wild Card spot. The losses keep mounting and the one bright spot this summer – Johan Santana’s no-hitter – is blowing up in their collective faces.
The ace has been horrendous since the early June gem versus the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field and the 134 pitches he needed that night may have taken its toll on Santana’s surgically repaired shoulder. (But ask any Mets fan and they will tell you that they are still fine with the way things played out.)
Wanting to limit the amount of work for Santana and Chris Young (another fragile pitcher also coming off of shoulder surgery), Collins announced this week that he would go with a six-man rotation for the foreseeable future. The real beneficiaries of this move are Jeremy Haffner, a youngster trying to break into the rotation full time in 2013, and R.A. Dickey, who will continue to pitch on four days rest.
“We think this is really going to give us the best chance to compete at the level we want to compete,” Collins said to reporters. “We’re going to play some teams that are going to be playing for something very, very special, so we want to make sure we’re running the best guys out there.”
If you read between the lines, it is apparent that Collins is being a realist and waving the white flag on any hope for a postseason berth. Even the most optimistic Mets fan has to come to grips with the current situation: they are seven games under .500 and there are five teams ahead of them for the remaining two playoff spots. And the closest one (San Francisco) is 10 games over .500.
So it will be another year without having to worry about standing on line to buy playoff tickets in Queens. But what is even more disturbing is what exactly do the fans have to look forward to for next season? This is a ballclub that has numerous question marks and huge holes in every facet of the roster. Offense, defense, base running, starting and relief pitching. Take your pick.
Yes, they played way over their heads for the first three months of the season and were gritty and did not have a quitter of the bunch. That was very encouraging and fun to watch. But a Triple-A level young player is going to run out of magic sooner or later and many of the guys wearing blue and orange are up here because ownership cannot afford to bring in a veteran at a higher cost.
You get what you pay for. And you can save your playoff ticket money for a rainy day.