Who would have thought on August 19th that the Yankees are the best baseball team in New York record wise? Yes the Bronx Bombers are 2 games over .500 while the Amazins are a game under. All you need to look at is their record for the second half: 13-20. The Yankees are in the process of a youth movement. The Mets, well, they’re just not moving while they chase a wild card spot. A pursuit that may end soon if they continue their current trend. They have allowed 38 runs through four games of a three-city trip that could bury them if they don’t wake up soon.
A lot has gone wrong for the Mets, including devastating injuries and an underperforming lineup that can’t buy a hit with runners in scoring position. Just when you think things can’t get worse, comes news of Steven Matz’s scratch from tonight’s game. Matz, 25, has pitched to a 9-8 record so far this season in 22 games started, and holds a 3.40 ERA. So much for the best pitching staff in baseball.
Interestingly enough, Thursday's starting lineup had only one opening day starting position player in it, let alone only two players who were even on the opening day roster. When you have guys like Ruggiano and Kelly supplying your offense, you're in a heap of trouble. Meanwhile, overrated (1-5 last night) specialists Bruce and Reyes continue to contribute little. The team has now lost seven of their last 10 games and dropped below .500 for the second time in the last week. With last night’s 10-7 loss, the Mets fall 4.5 games back (five in the loss column) in the race for the second National League Wild Card spot.
Injuries have killed them but the team is also fundamentally flawed. Too much reliance on the home run, zero team speed, inability to string hits together were problems that surfaced in spring training and continue to this day. A total franchise breakdown from management on down.
Anybody who took last year for granted and just assumed it was the start of a "window of contention" learned nothing from 2006. There are never any guarantees in sports and building your franchise around starting pitchers in an era when pitchers get hurt constantly is very much a risk. Last year, a good, not great team found lightning in a bottle. The fact is, like the Yankees, this team is not good enough to make the post season. The difference is the Yankees made moves toward the future; the Mets are still living in the past without the lightning.
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