With eighty three loses this season, the Mets have already guaranteed they will end the season below the .500 level. What remains to be seen is how badly they will finish. But with so much positive individual achievement this season, how do we as fans reconcile the year that was?
What stands out most at the moment is R.A.Dickey’s pursuit of twenty wins and the Cy Young award followed David Wright’s chase to break Ed Kranepool’s all-time Mets hits record. With a little luck, both players can achieve their goals this week against the Pirates. David Wright is three hits away from Ed Kranepool’s 1,418 hits as a Metropolitan. R.A. Dickey is a victory away from twenty wins.
Earlier this season R.A. Dickey pitched back to back one-hitters, and broke Jerry Koosman’s club mark for most consecutive scoreless innings pitched. He became just the sixth Mets pitcher to post as many as nineteen wins in a season. And he is the first Met to win this many games since Frank Viola won twenty over two decades ago.
Heading into 2012, David Wright was already the club’s all-time leader in doubles. But this was a multi-record breaking season for him as a Met. He became the club’s all-time leader in walks, runs scored, and runs batted in. He remains one of only two players with a Mets career batting average at or above the .300 mark. And now, as stated, he is three hits away from Ed Kranepool’s hit mark.
The highlight of the Mets season of course came when Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in team history. Another notable achievement was Matt Harvey’s overall MLB debut. But in particular, he set the Mets record for strikeouts in a first MLB start. Then some lesser highlights consist of Jordany Valdespin setting the Mets mark for pinch-hit home runs, and Mike Baxter setting the club record with walks in a game.
Most recently the Mets just completed a three game sweep of the Miami Marlins. Unfortunately for all concerned however, the team’s overall second half has been abysmal. The starting rotation fell apart. Their knack for getting timely two out base hits left the building. The bullpen redefined inept. Defensively, they played soundly early on, but the deeper into the season they played the more troublesome their glove work and decision making became. Ultimately, basic fundamentals escaped them all together.
Earlier in the season, the largest controversy revolved around A) – possibly sending Ike Davis to AAA-Buffalo, and B) – Lucas Duda feeling he was not offered the same benefit of the doubt Ike was. The big guy sulked about it, and continued to do so with the Bisons.
Then things changed in Flushing. The notion Ruben Tejada could be tired and needed to improve his conditioning sparked hot debates focusing on preparedness and professionalism. Recently, Ike Davis’ night life, attitude, and commitment were called into question. And most recently, Lucas Duda found himself right back in Terry Collins’ dog house. After not hustling, he found his posterior on the bench. But removing him from the game was part of an uglier development when Coach Collins was perceived as throwing his players under the bus when asked if they had quit on him.
Matters that revolve around baseball are fair by me. They can be address and corrected. What disturbs me about the Mets rather meek ending is the return of controversy to Flushing. The atmosphere around Citi Field had been relatively calm for most of the season until recently.
When Terry Collins seemingly threw his team under the proverbial bus, the guy was in a bind. He knows as well as anyone, his reputation still precedes him to some extent. It would have been too easy to haul off on his team, and possibly really lose their collective attention in earnest. That type of behavior was once expected from Terry Collins. In his present and possibly last place of employment, probably not so much. So perhaps he tempered himself and his disgust manifested itself in the fashion it did. Because you have to consider Wally Backman is currently standing in the dugout along side him during September. And an outburst from Collins is something they can get out of Wally. So perhaps Terry Collins felt limited with respect to truly revealing himself, and thought it better to try another tact. Just a thought.
My point is, finishing the season below .500 is something we can work with. I would just prefer the year didn’t end with the team consumed in a myriad of media controversies like many recent seasons have.