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jueves, julio 19, 2012

The Mets: In The Breakdown Lane

RA Dickey, who tonight all by himself is supposed to stop a 6-game losing streak

Your ever optimistic bloguero hoped he wouldn't have to write this. He hoped that somehow the Mets would remain in contention, that they would gather their mysterious forces as they did earlier in the season and end up in the playoffs, that the scrappy, come-from-behind team without many big stars would surprise and delight the fans, and most important delight your Bloguero, but alas, apparently not. It looks like the Mets have caught up with themselves. The gloom is back. The fans are shaking their heads.

Last night the Mets lost their sixth in a row, their longest losing streak of the season. They looked utterly horrible. They are now one game over .500, 8 games back in the division and 6 in the wild card race. Usually, you count a team out when they are 10 games behind in the division. That might be the case by the weekend. And tonight? They've been fading. Rapidly. They have evidently lost their spark. A team meeting on Wednesday night netted nothing. Insufficient inspiration. The bullpen is a shambles. And the offense has been timid. And tamed. It's not necessary to name all the names. Andrew Keh writing in the Times had this lede this morning:

The Mets began Wednesday with a meeting to discuss the importance of maintaining a standard of hard work, high energy and individual accountability during this vital stretch of games. Their day ended in disappointment hours later, after nine innings of the sort of uninspiring play that helped precipitate the meeting in the first place.

You can now hear the Mets' desperation. Somebody let the air out of their tires. They've lost it. Soon you will be able to see the empty seats in Citifield. And after that, entry will again be $1. Maybe there will even be beer bargains. Mighty Terry Collins, the Man of Mystery, who's been remarkable until this skid, told the AP this about tonight's RA Dickey start:

"I'm sure R.A.'s going to give us a good game tomorrow because that's what's going to crack this thing. This game, as you can see by what they do, is on the mound. If we continue to pitch, we'll win our games," Collins said.

So it's already "this thing" that has to be "cracked." Terry C isn't shrugging it off. Nope. He might as well admit he's stymied. In other words, it's that substantial. It's durable. It's heavy. It's now an "it." It is really an incipient death rattle. And as if that single bit of telling rhetoric isn't enough to convince your Bloguero that the Mets are going to continue losing because they can't really win with the team they have, not when it counts, there's that other pregnant phrase the Manager used. "If we continue to pitch." Ooops. That hurts your Bloguero. You mean there's some other possibility? Like that starting pitching is completely shot also? That the starting rotation is going to be shelled by the opposition? What if they continue to have pitching breakdowns? And if the bullpen continues to suck and to give away narrow leads late in games? And if the offense continues to sputter until too late? And if the miserable seasons of Jason Bay and Ike Davis continue? And if, and if, and if. What a horror.

No. Your Bloguero is a great optimist, but once again, the writing is now on the wall for the Mets. Yes, your Bloguero will watch this evenings game and hope against hope that something changes for the Mets. The Nationals are very, very tough, and they have shellacked the Mets in the last two games. Is there any reason to believe that with little or no offense RA Dickey, all by himself, can give the Mets a win? Doubtful. And even if he does, what comes next? The team has as many holes as Swiss cheese, and management is trying to figure out whether it can escape spending money to stay in the race. By the end of the series in Washington, that is, your Bloguero fears, going to be painfully clear.

Put 2012 in the books. It's over. It was fun while it lasted. It was really great to believe there was an inspiring story at Citifield. But it now has run its course. There is no joy in Metsville, the mighty Metropolitans have all struck out.