New York Mets at the All-Star Break

There are only 4 other clubs in the National League with a worse record than the 42-45 mark the Mets have posted so far. It’s been 6 years since this club had a record as poor as this at the “half-way” mark of the season, and with their current state of affairs with injuries and the like, New York may be hard-pressed to top that .500 mark the rest of this season. Coming out of the break, the Mets will embark on a 10-game road trip, where away from home they are 8 games under 500. This road swing may go a long way in determining if New York fans have any glimmer of hope for the rest of the year.

M.A.S.H. Unit

New York’s starting lineup from the beginning of the year, save for a couple of pieces, has been on the disabled list much of the season. And that’s not including 2 starting pitchers and their expected main setup man out of the pen. It’s hard to win games when the core aspect of your team is not on the field, and right now, several of those integral cogs are not expected back very soon.

Power Outage

With only 52 home runs hit this season, it’s easy to see that this club strikes absolutely no fear in anyone they face. That paltry number is the lowest in all of baseball and it tops the 2nd worst homer-hitting club by 10. New York homers just once every 1.5 games.

40-year old Gary Sheffield leads the club in home runs with 10. Having 8 homers and second-most on the team comes from Carlos Beltran, and he hasn’t played since June 21st. Beltran, who some consider the best centerfielder in baseball isn’t expected to come off the disabled list and be able to play until some time in the latter part of August.

Sheffield’s acquisition has been one of the few things General Manager Omar Minaya has to feel good about and the veteran has met, if not exceeded everything the Mets could expect from him.

Slugging 1st baseman Carlos Delgado has been hurt most of the season and is not anticipated at returning until some point in August. Daniel Murphy has been the backup and in 82 games. Murphy has only 28 RBIs to go along with 7 errors.

Having your cleanup man and # 3-hitter on the sidelines makes for a very un-imposing heart of a lineup.

No Punch Presence

Third baseman David Wright was supposed to offer another big stick in the lineup, while his fielding was also expected to be a solidifying force in the infield. Here at the break, Wright leads the Mets in most offensive categories, including stolen bases, and his batting average is still stellar, as he is hitting .324. And that’s despite him having a sub-200 run this month. But his home run count is only 5, making it virtually impossible for him to continue with his 30+ homers that he has put up in each of the past 2 seasons. His 87 strikeouts leads the team by a lot, as does his 12 errors in the field.

Nada Sparkplug

Jose Reyes has only played in 36 games this season as injury woes have also beset the Mets’ leadoff man. It has been reported that he is partaking in agility drills and may soon return, but given how the Mets’ front office has handled their injury situations, Reyes’ return is anyone’s guess. The shortstop was not having all that great of a season before his injury, having just 11 steals, 15 RBIs and a less than awe-inspiring .355 on base percentage for a setup player.

His replacement, Alex Cora is batting just .246, while fighting thru an injury of his own.

Luis Castillo has only 11 extra base hits in 79 games, while his misplayed muff against the Yankees is now a classic on most “blooper” shows.

Catch Me

Behind the plate has offered little as Brian Schneider has played in only 29 games due to injury and is batting just .229. Replacing Schneider has been Omir Santos who reportedly the Mets’ hurlers like throwing to. Santos is hitting .268 with 24 RBIs in 50+ games.

New Guy

Jeff Francoeur was brought over in a trade with Atlanta for Ryan Church in the hopes that he could provide some hitting in a lackluster lineup. And while he was in a much more hitter-friendly ballpark in Atlanta than Citi Field, his numbers are similar to the lack of offensive output the Mets have seen from many of their players this year: 5 homers, 37 runs batted in, and a .256 average in 84 games.

Arm Strength

The Mets have just 1 complete game from starting pitchers; that’s 1 in 87 games this season. Their 343 walks are 2nd worst in the National League with only the Nats having more in the entire Major Leagues. Johan Santana, the “ace” of the staff has lasted an average of only about 6 innings per game. In looking at last year’s stats, he allowed 66 earned runs, while this year he already has given up 40. Opposing hitters have dinged Santana for 15 homers so far this season vs. the 23 he allowed last year.

The rest of the starting staff is a bit of a mess.

Expected #2 starter John Maine hasn’t pitched since June with shoulder problems.

The Mets have lost Livan Hernandez’s last 3 starts where he has an 11.57 ERA in those affairs. On the year, they are 7-10 when he is on the mound.

Filling in for Maine has been Fernando Nieve, who started out ok, but now has given up 25 hits and 9 walks in his last 3 outings encompassing only 15 innings pitched. Yes, the Mets have lost all 3 of those games too.

Oliver Perez has come off the disabled list with a balloon-like 8.78 ERA on the season, while New York has not won any of his road starts.

The Tim Redding situation hasn’t worked out as the free agent has given up 41 runs in just 51 innings pitched with the Mets dropping 6 of his 9 starts.

New York does have a winning record with Mike Pelrey on the mound, but at 10-7 in his 17 starts, that’s not a whole lot to be excited about.

Any Relief?

The middle relief was hurt badly when JJ Putz went on the shelf. Overworked Bobby Parnell has shown flashes of good, while Pedro Feliciano has held left-handed batters to a very low .171 batting average against him. MVP of the team is probably closer Francisco Rodriguez, who is tied for the National League lead with 23 saves and has a minuscule 1.91 ERA.

What now?

This edition of the New York Mets has been decimated with injuries. With so many key players being hurt, it has been very difficult for the club to have any consistency in their lineup. The bench is weak and the team has for the most part, played very poorly behind an almost mediocre starting staff. It would take a monumental effort by the Mets, combined with a collapse of the 3 clubs ahead of them in the National League East for the Mets to even sniff a playoff spot. With the core of their lineup still expected to be out till some points of August, it might be time for Mets fans to turn their attention to football, better now, sooner than later.

-Lenny Moretti for

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