As for making the playoffs, there is still always that outside chance. Hang in there Mets fans. However, for the paying customers that will be in attendance at Citi Field for Monday night’s game against the Washington Nationals, I fear you have no chance at all. Thus, I feel it my duty as a fellow member of METropolis to inform you that MTV’s Snookie will be at the game to pollute the atmosphere. Save yourselves while you still can. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Now that I’ve tapped into your sense of self-preservation, don’t look now, but there’s a grand piano with a Mets logo on it falling out of the sky. And it’s set to land squarley on Flushing, threatening to prematurley end the Mets’ 2012 season in July. So far, the second half has been a brutal existense for the Mets. And all eyes are on Sandy Alderson to fix it. The trade deadline is only nine days away, and at this rate, the Mets won’t survive this high speed of decent and re-entry into the second division for the first time all season. They are in the process of burning up, and the damage might already be too extensive to fix. Unfortunately, it’s tough to envision the Mets slamming on the breaks and over-coming this dilemma during the last two months of the season. But there is at least that – two more months.
As for the Mets free fall, we all sensed it could come at any time. Well, that time is now, and with great reason. Their starting pitching is failing
them. The one aspect of their game they could ill afford to have break down, has done just that. And so the General Manager’s first move was to announce Matt Harvey will start Thursday’s game in Arizona. And unfortunately for a guy like me, necessity is the mother of all invention, and I understand the move. Otherwise, I am vehemently opposed to calling-up Harvey, or any of the other pitching prospects we have to the big club this season, save for being part of September call-ups.
Ideally, I’d like a starting pitcher to have between three and four hundred innings pitched in the minors (if not more) before stepping on a big league mound. For me, it’s not an issue of ability or skill. Rather, I’m interested in starting pitchers understanding their craft, and gaining a grip on situational pitching. I speak of being a cerebral pitcher who comprehends pitch economics, and pitching to the scoreboard. You practice and refine these skills with extensive innings in the minor leagues first.
With the Mets’ situation being what it is, here comes Matt Harvey regardless. The twenty-three year old hurler will be making his major league debut after 245 innings pitched in the minor leagues. Obviously that number is low for my tastes. But a look back at Mets hurlers of the past point to exceptions. In 1966, Tom Seaver pitched one full season in Jacksonville and clocked 210 innings. Of course, he pitched for the Mets the following season. Dwight Gooden pitched 269 innings before joining the club. Johan Santana and some others followed more traditional paths to the majors. Johan Satana pitched 347 innings; Ron Darling 382 innings; and Jerry Koosman pitched 467 innings in the minor leagues before pitching for the Mets.
Promoting Matt Harvey points to a more dire issue however. The Mets are reeling, and both their starting pitching, and their bullpen are at the center of their woes. How ironic is it, that of Sandy Alderson’s two pet project pitchers from the past; Chris Capuano and Chris Young; Sandy chose the wrong one to retain, and the wrong one to let go? And that with the preponderance of Omar Minaya era players excelling to an extent, it is Sandy Alderson’s reconstructed bullpen which has been an abject failure this season? And that’s just the pitchers. His choice for centerfield has been highly ineffective as well.
Sandy Alderson’s bullpen must be reconstructed in any event. And as the Mets have fallen below .500 for the first time this season, it behooves the GM to do something smart with 2013 in mind, but quickly enough in order to affect the 2012 season as well. It’s a tight spot to be in, and Sandy is already catching flack for not acting fast enough.
Yes, time is of the essence. But haste makes waste as well.