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The Heart vs. the Head When It Comes to Mets Run

By Mike Silva ~ June 27th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva.

The Mets wake up on their off day today to a .500 record, and only a 4.5 game deficit in the National League Wild Card. An outsider’s glance would say they are in good shape, especially when you consider they started the season 5-13. With over half the season left, they can now focus on getting 5, 10, or maybe 15 games over .500. It’s probably going to take at least 90 wins (+18) to win the Wild Card, even in the National League where parity reigns.

They are having an MVP season from Jose Reyes. Amazingly, Carlos Beltran has played in 76 of 78 games. Even better, he is putting up offensive numbers no different than the prime years of his contract. Their “Buffalo Connection” have accepted their increased roles and shown no fear of the big leagues. The value signings like Jason Isringhausen, Ronny Paulino, Chris Capuano, and Tim Byrdak have played a big role in their success. They even came up aces in the Rule V draft as Pedro Beato has proved to be a more than adequate middle reliever. Don’t forget, they have done this without much of a contribution from their best hitter in David Wright and emerging power hitter in Ike Davis. Bringing it all together is Terry Collins. The man that was run out of Houston, Anaheim, and Japan appears to have aged gracefully, and brought a rare combination of discipline and people skills to the dugout.

The head tells you a different story. Only the Pirates and Giants have a worse run differential than the Mets negative two. They are in the bottom third of the NL in home runs, towards the bottom in ERA, and give up way too many base runners per nine innings. They probably will be without their best power hitter the rest of the season. Jason Bay is doing a great impersonation of Luis Castillo. Their ace, Johan Santana, probably won’t come back, and if he does, he will be no more than a five inning fifth starter. They have plenty of backend of the rotation types. Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey, Chris Capuano, and even Mike Pelfrey would be #3 starters, at best, in the strong National League rotations. Jonathan Niese has top of the rotation potential, but he is only 24 and still trying to find his consistency. The bullpen? Not exactly lock down. The closer is combustible. The eighth inning guy is a great story, but can breakdown and go home at any time. The bench is kind of shallow as Willie Harris and Scott Hairston have been a disappointment. There is nothing statistically that tells you this team can make the kind of run necessary to get five over, much less double digits and beyond. More than likely, they will show up in the Wild Card standings only if a publication is generous with their standings.

The thing is the head doesn’t always prevail when it comes to baseball. If the stats didn’t lie, then the 2007 Mets would have made the postseason. The ’78 Yankees would have folded in August. During my short time watching baseball I have seen two lousy Cubs teams (’89, ’98) make the postseason. The Padres made the playoffs with 82 wins. The Cardinals won a World Series winning only 83 times. The Minnesota Twins won it all in 1987 without ever mastering the art of winning on the road. Don’t forget Kirk Gibson and the Dodgers in1988. Look at that Oakland roster and tell me how they didn’t win more than one title?

Of course, none of those stories had the specter of Wilpon bankruptcy hanging over their head. That’s what makes this narrative even more dynamic. Very rarely have we talked about the play on the field this year. It’s always been about contracts, payroll, and the July 31st deadline. Maybe it’s time to table that conversation until further notice. The Mets are .500. They are 4.5 games out of the Wild Card. The teams ahead of them – Pittsburgh, Washington, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Arizona- aren’t really much better; different versions of different problems. The leader, Atlanta, has outstanding pitching, but the Mets have proved they can play with them at home and even at their personal house of horrors, Turner Field.

The critical stretch continues in Detroit tomorrow. Who knows, within ten days this run could be over. Reality may hit in the form of the American League and the West Coast. Even if the fun lasts only a short while, isn’t this fan base entitled to it? The head will still be there when and if it falls apart

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to The Heart vs. the Head When It Comes to Mets Run

  1. Chakrabs

    Eh, the Mets at the very least are watchable. They’ll likely fall short, but I’ll still enjoy the ride. I think they miss Verlander while in Detroit, but even last year’s team managed to scorch him and the Tigers for 14 runs last year.

  2. Erica S

    The bottom line with the Mets right now is that they are inconsistent. This is why I will not even entertain the possibility of a spot in the playoffs. That way, if it doesn’t happen I am not disappointed and I can still enjoy the rest of the season for what it is.

  3. Stu B

    @Chakrabs: Hope you’re right – Pelfrey faces Verlander Thursday.

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