The Mets just finished their toughest stretch of games during 2012. They played eight straight series against teams that were over.500 when they met, with most of those they faced being potential playoff contenders. Terry Collins knew that after a big weekend of Subway Series games and the late night flight to Chicago to play the worst team in baseball, there was a possibility of a letdown. He even addressed it with his players before the series opener against the Cubs.
Collins told his players that they played very well during that eight-series stretch, and it should be commended. Yes, they only played .500 ball during that time, but this was the kind of stretch that analysts were pointing to, saying it would be the time the Mets would fall out of contention. However, despite being very streaky, they have stayed afloat and are only 3.5 games out of first place. With about two and a half weeks before the 2012 All-Star break, the New York skipper knows the importance of finishing out the first half
strong. Unfortunately, the Mets came out very flat after that pep talk, allowing four unearned runs on three errors in the seventh inning last night and being embarrassed by the Cubs to the tune of a 6-1 final score.
In all reality, saying the Mets were flat is being nice; they were barely on the field, outside of Johan Santana. The New York ace did travel ahead of his team to get a full night of rest before his Monday evening start, but it was clear that he was the only player on the field that was aware of his surroundings. Not much can be said about the Lucas Duda error because we were anticipating errors like that this year since he’s not a natural right fielder. However, Wright missing that pop up in the infield is inexcusable because of his carelessness toward the play. With the wind whipping all night, we saw Chicago infielders and outfielders alike use two hands to catch fly balls and pop ups. In the seventh, Wright decided to try and one hand it off to the side; I know it’s hard to catch a pop up that’s caught up in the wind, but he could have shown a little more effort. Then, Ronny Cedeno botching the grounder at second base was also a lazy play. Mind you that this was all behind Jon Rauch, who could have used all the support he can get.
Watching last night’s game was a tough pill to swallow after seeing what kind of team the Mets can be this year. Hot streaks and cold streaks will come and go, which is understandable during a 162-game season, but the effort needs to be there. It wasn’t there last night, and Terry Collins had a feeling it was going to happen. He tried his best to nip it in the bud, but a manager can only do so much to motivate his players. After a game like last night, we’ll see if the Mets can shake it off and wake up for tonight’s match-up so they can win the ballgames they’re supposed to win, and finish the first half of the season the way they started it.