Three games does not a season make, but don’t tell Mets fans. Clearly, the Mets are from from finished after losing two of three to the Marlins in the opening series of 2010, but there are some foreboding trends already developing. I was fortunate enough to attend all three games and be in the locker room for postgame interviews. The players are obviously not panicking yet since they are well aware this is a 162 game grind, but Mets fans are already starting to belt out doom and gloom chatter.
Take this quote from David Wright after last night’s 3-1 loss after being asked about the significance of getting off to a fast start:
"“Record-wise, it’s important for us, obviously so we don’t have to answer these questions. It’s important. It’s three games down, long way to go, but it would be nice to win every series.”"
Despite not sounding desperate, Wright and the other Mets players I heard from are surely aware of the negative tenor attached to this team. The problem is, too many holes have already been exposed for me to think this squad as constituted has a shot to jump out to a fast start.
The first one is their lack of power and clutch hits so far. Sound familiar? I believe we saw a wee bit of those trends last season as well. After Wright’s first-inning blast on Opening Day, the Mets have been close to putting a ball over the fence. The closest they came was last night when Fernando Tatis hit a bomb to left center that would have been a HR in 90% of all other ballparks but fell innocently into the glove of the CF for a 400-foot out.
The next is their dreadful situation at first base. Mike Jacobs is an abomination. He is as feast or famine a player as I’ve ever seen and yet……he has hit frickin’ cleanup in two of the first three games, ahead of Jason Bay! What a joke. A manager should only go so far with feeling the need to alternate lefties and righties in the lineup. As for Tatis? His genius baserunning adventure in Wednesday’s game tells you all you need to know about him. Seriously, what the hell is he still doing on this team and for that matter, where the hell is Ike Davis!
OK. Now that I got that out of my system, let’s be fair and rattle off a few positives. First is the effort by Jonathon Niese. Despite giving taking the loss last night (6 IP, 8H, 3R), the kid looked poised and showcased a variety of quality pitches. Rod Barajas had high praise for Niese after the game, saying that his he has “special” stuff and a bright future ahead of him. In fact, during Dan Uggla’s interview on the field with SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt after the game, Uggla also heaped high praise on Niese, saying his cutter was especially effective. Is there any doubt Niese in short order will be this teams #2 behind Johan Santana?
Second, the bullpen has actually been pretty solid. We’ve seen a few good outings by Fernando Nieve. Jenrry Mejia gave up a run in his one outing but you can tell his stuff is electric. Ryota Igarashi hurled a scoreless frame in his MLB debut last night and K-Rod has looked dominant thus far.
So, three games does not a season make, but when you are follower of the present day New York Metropolitans, it’s never too early to push that little red panic button.