The Mets, despite unyielding optimism from Steve Cohen, played a game last night they need to quickly forget. It’s only one game, but still…
The Mets threw a game away last night against the undefeated and division rival Phillies.
Baseball wisdom says it’s only a game in April, and there’s still 161 left to play, but in the ultra-competitive National League East, one game becomes two games in the standings in September, when soon there are no games left to play.
Mets Throw One Away…
That aside, it was the Mets defense that opened the floodgates for the Phillies when five runs crossed the plate on an errant throw on a ground ball to Luis Guillorme to catcher James McCann, allowing two go-ahead runs to score, erasing a carefully held 2-0 Mets lead. (If you can bear to watch…)
S___T happens, they say, and if Guillorme makes that throw a hundred times again this season, McCann makes the play, and the Mets bullpen pitches a clean ninth inning.
But there were other things awry when you take a peek at the Mets box score. Despite ten hits, the Mets left ten men on base and were 4-11 with runners in scoring position, and one of those four responders was Jacob deGrom, who went 2-3 during his shortened night.
The Mets can hit, and they will. But leading the league in batting average as they did in 2020 (.272) did not translate into runs scored as twelve teams finished ahead of them, including division rivals Braves, Phillies, and Nationals.
Now, before you say here are another “non-believer” Mets fans who are pushing the panic button one game into the season, that’s not it at all.
It’s just that it seems more judicious to determine the cup is half-empty until it’s clear the cup is half-full – so that the door is always open to seek ways to improve the Mets.
Mets: Separating Optimism From Realism
Optimism is one thing, and we can all share in that as Marcus Stroman takes the hill tonight to even the series with the Phillies.
But let’s remember, MLB has shortened the number of teams qualifying for the playoffs from sixteen (last year) back down to a typical ten.
Short of winning a division, there will only be two teams in each league qualifying for a postseason slot as a Wild Card. Barring a total collapse in San Diego where the Dodgers deservedly are favored in the NL West, that leaves one spot open for the Mets, unless, of course, they can win the NL East.
With no breathing room, it should be incumbent on writers like myself and Mets fans everywhere to point out areas where improvement is needed – and further – to track that improvement or lack thereof as the season moves along.
The Mets Are Good – But How Good?
Therefore, the title I assigned to this piece is wrong, and instead of forgetting last night’s loss, it needs to be remembered as a formula the Mets need to avoid from here on in.
Unlike the Yankees and Dodgers, who are playing in decidedly weak divisions, the Mets have to be almost perfect, with little room for error.
Steve Cohen’s optimism is necessary and warranted for the Mets to achieve their goal, unlike the empty words spewing from the mouths of the Wilpons previously.
But despite the goodwill of Cohen’s words, as supported by his forking over $341 million to keep Francisco Lindor in a Mets uniform for the next ten years, words of wisdom come from Joe Maddon, who has said, “You’re only as good as your record says you are.”
So, whether you believe it or not, I want to see that long-wished-for parade down Broadway in November as much as any of you.
But before that can happen, the Mets need to tighten things up quite a bit.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…