A June sweep of the struggling Mets could knock them out of the picture.
Lets face it: No one should be surprised the Mets are a complete mess, even the Beer Leaguer, who picked them to win the NL Wildcard.
Yep. If you never read this space again, I’ll understand.
The problem started when GM Omar Minaya surrendered to impulse over practicality this winter, grabbing the expensive Porsche instead of the economic Civic. If he used half the money they spent on big-ticket Carlos Beltran - who they didn’t need - and used it for a fifth starter and middle relief, they could be in the hunt.
The Mets can still boast a solid core of talented young players, including third baseman David Wright and outfielder Victor Diaz. They probably have the best pitcher in the division in Pedro Martinez (who the Phils won’t see this series), in addition to a handful of veterans, like Cliff Floyd, Mike Piazza and Mike Cameron, who aren’t as washed up as people think they are.
But I was baffled how a team willing to spend so much on Beltran, Pedro and Kris Benson (who pitches tonight) failed to address bullpen even a little bit. Instead, they assembled a rag-tag collection of has-beens or never-weres knowing their No. 4 and 5 pitchers, Victor Zambrano and Kaz Ishii (who replaced the injured Steve Trachsel), were disasters waiting to happen.
Four of the seven relievers that started the year in the pen are gone, including veteran Mike DeJean. DeJean was outrighted by the Mets yesterday.
Record-wise, they've replaced the Phils at the bottom of the barrel. They've played a brutal stretch since the Houston series ending June 9, losing eight of ten, including their most recent sweep at the hands of the Mariners.
To add salt to the wounds, bodies are dropping like flies. Second baseman Kazuo Matsui was placed on the DL yesterday, which wouldn’t be a huge concern if Miguel Cairo wasn’t also on the shelf. Chris Woodward and ex-Phil Marlon Anderson will likely split time at the position.
In their frenzy, the team has scoured the waiver wire for scabs, signing former Reds closer Danny Graves. They also signed former-Phil Jose Offerman back on June 8.
It hasn’t been an auspicious debut for manager Willie Randolph, either. The rookie skipper faces Charlie Manuel-type criticism for his use of the bullpen and for making certain lineup decisions. Common requests, read on Metsgeek, include moving David Wright to the No. 3 hole, moving Aaron Heilman to the rotation and Ishii to the pen, dropping Jose Reyes out of the leadoff hole, moving Floyd to first base and making Victor Diaz full-time in the outfield, and the list goes on and on and on. Nothing Randolph does seems to work.
For the Phils, this is a great opportunity to dig in, puff out their chests and demonstrate some inner-division dominance. The Mets are really on the ropes, and a sweep could be enough to knock them out of the picture for good. In order to do that, the Phils must summon a killer instinct that’s been missing the past two seasons.
Let’s go Phils. Crush these bums.