Mets Show Unique Ability to Turn Good News into Bad
There should have been enough positive, encouraging or uplifting stories to tout where the Mets are concerned this week.
They scored 21 runs in two victories in Yankee Stadium, started to turn the key roles in their bullpen over to live young arms with plenty of upside, got two home runs in two games from once-slumping Curtis Granderson in Yankee Stadium, were rewarded with hustling plays and quality at-bats when they called up nine-year minor leaguer Eric Campbell last weekend, and made the moves no one believed they’d make before midseason by bringing up rookie right-handed pitchers Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom and thrusting them right into the rotation in two home games against the Yankees.
Montero pitched well, deGrom pitched great—and both lost. They lost because the Mets, after racking up 21 runs in two games in the Bronx, returned to their frail and feeble offensive ways once they returned to Citi Field, scoring no runs and managing just seven hits over two games against the Yankees in Queens.
Puzzling, indecisive and ultimately infuriating decisions continue to plague the franchise on and off the field. Last week, they recalled Wilmer Flores to give him a real chance to win the shortstop job after seeing Ruben Tejada continue to flounder with a sub-.200 batting average. But Flores got sick, Tejada got a game-winning hit on Sunday, and now nobody has heard from Flores since.
They called up deGrom to replace Jenrry Mejia in the rotation, even though Mejia was 3-0 as a starter, because Mejia was using too many pitches to get through five innings. Okay, insofar as that goes. But then Dillon Gee went on the disabled list with what WE ARE TOLD is a minor lat injury. So then, up comes Montero to also get a spot in the rotation, and, in the process, they outrighted (and ended up releasing) a fuming veteran Kyle Farnsworth, whose efforts in the bullpen (3.18 ERA) were not worthy of closing, but also didn’t merit getting released. Farnsworth has vowed revenge—if another team picks him up. Someone will, most likely.
They have also played annoying games with their outfield alignment. Juan Lagares, arguably the best position player on the team the first six weeks of 2014, has been on the bench four out of the last five games. Hard enough as it’s been to divvy up playing time for four outfielders, Terry Collins then exacerbated the problem by deciding to give 41-year-old pinch hitter Bobby Abreu a start in right field in Washington Friday night.
Chris Young, whose offensive performance has steadily declined every year since 2010, continues to get playing time despite his propensity for striking out and batting below .220. Young is okay defensively in center field, but Lagares is like the 1969 version of Tommie Agee out there, and he may have been able to cut off Alfonso Soriano’s RBI triple in the gap—which Chris Young did not—and hold him to a double that may have prevented the RBI on Thursday in the seventh inning. Roberts ended up scoring the only run in a 1-0 game.
The Mets struck out 14 times against the Yankees on Thursday—seven of those came while watching strike three. Seven more examples of ways in which indecision continues to plague the Mets.