(Long Island, N.Y.) When the New York Mets were playing well and hovering approximately five games over the .500 mark, it was apparent that the team was overachieving and the ball was bouncing their way. It didn’t seem likely that unknowns would continue to get two-out late inning hits.
Well, it may have taken half the season for that to happen, but it has certainly been the case since the All-Star break…and in a big way. Since David Wright and R.A. Dickey represented the senior circuit in this year’s mid-summer classic, the Mets have dropped six straight and 11 of 12 overall.
Things are beginning to get out of hand and the frustration has transcended to the players griping. After Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homerun off Tim Byrdak during the seventh inning of a 5-2 loss to Washington, the reliever and catcher Josh Thole had a shouting match in the dugout.
Manager Terry Collins has done an admirable job with what he was handed at the beginning of the campaign and now has had to add referee and counselor to his titles. “Once in a while when things go bad, you start making excuses, and I don’t deal with excuses,” he said in his post game press conference. “I deal with accountability – standing up and being a man, standing up and being a professional baseball player and playing the game right. This was never about effort, but we’re going to get back on track.”
Just how Collins does that remains to be seen. The Mets – just like nearly every other team – have had to deal with some huge injuries. But because of the lack of depth on the roster, second stringers have not been able to get the job done and are more suited for Triple-A. Some would say that more than a few of the Mets starting lineup would fit that category, as well.
The fact of the matter is that ownership is not in the position to spend any good amount of money to bring in a player or two that can make a difference. So they have to resort to stop gap moves and medium range salaries, so you end up with what you currently have at Citi Field.
Now four games under .500 with a long 11-game west coast road trip on tap, it is not out of the question that Collins’s crew can next see the Big Apple with a double digit deficit on the wrong side of the even mark. And any talk of contending for that second wild card spot should end at that point.
“You’re going to see a different team here in the next 10 days,” Collins added, trying to put the bad behind him. “We’re going to go back and do the things that got us here. We haven’t played well and we’re not going to make any excuses. We have to play better.”
That may be easier said than done under the current circumstances.