(Long Island, N.Y.) By sweeping the four-game Subway Series last week, the Mets gave their long-suffering fan base a taste of what it feels like to be important once again in this town. No one was boasting that playoff contention was on the horizon, but it surely felt good to hand the crosstown Yankees a few losses.
But to follow that up by getting smacked around all weekend long down in Miami to the team with the worst record in the major leagues is no way to go through life, son.
The lowly Marlins had a whopping 13 wins in 54 games (including a 7-20 mark at home) coming into the set in the Sunshine State, but were able to beat the Mets in three straight games and even scratch out a win in the finale, which was started by Mets ace Matt Harvey (who had a no-decision).
So who are these Mets, really? Are they as good as the team that knocked the Yankees out of first place or the one that gave the Marlins some breathing room in their quest to evacuate last place?
Probably somewhere in the middle and leaning towards the latter, unfortunately. The roster has way too many holes to be taken seriously and their offense is sketchy at best. The outfield is still in shambles and has been since Spring Training. Veteran Marlon Byrd is hitting the highest (.250) out of the group and Lucas Duda is second on the team with 10 home runs, but he is batting a paltry .239. Rick Ankiel was brought in recently to provide a spark, but the former starting pitcher-turned-outfielder is barely hitting over .200.
How about the infield? Third baseman and captain David Wright has been solid with a .277 average, seven home runs and 30 RBI. Daniel Murphy has been better than decent in the field at second base and has been proving himself once again as a big league hitter with .291, 4, and 25. But the other half has been atrocious with first sacker Ike Davis enduring another two-month slump (.168) and shortstop Ruben Tejada hitting .209 before being placed on the disabled list. Both were within innings of being sent to the minors to get their swing back before Davis’s recent mini-surge and Tejada’s injury.
John Buck was supposed to just keep the backstop warm until Travis d’Arnaud was recalled from Triple-A, but the highly touted catching prospect obtained from Toronto in the RA Dickey trade hurt his foot while the veteran has been one of the Mets’ best producers, leading the team with 11 home runs and 35 RBI.
But Terry Collins realizes that it will take more of the types of games against the Yankees to get his club playing with some confidence and not the type of team that is 10 games under .500.
“(It) establishes a mood in the clubhouse that we’re not that bad,” the Mets manager said in a post-game press conference. “If we play the game right, if we get some pitching, if we make some plays, get a couple of hits, they count and we can play and win baseball games, no matter who they are against.”
Hopefully they will have better luck against the Washington Nationals than they did against the Marlins.