A recent Rising Apple article has given birth to a new-to-be weekly column featuring what bothers New York Mets fans, as if told to a therapist in a treatment session. This is the first in a series of columns to be posted by different contributing writers of Rising Apple. Leading off, here is my side of the conversation.
As a New York Mets fan, I have bumped into trouble with the law on multiple occasions – Murphy’s Law. No, nothing to do with Mets great announcer Bob Murphy. For those who aren’t familiar with Murphy’s Law, allow me to give you some examples. Did your computer ever crash when you were in the middle of an important report for work or school and then you realized you didn’t save it before crashing? Or how about you are driving in traffic on a 3-lane highway, and whichever lane you switch to, it ends up being the slowest?
Basically, it boils down to this: if anything can go wrong, it will.
But then, it gets worse. In a baseball game, if anything can go wrong with the Mets, it will – either at the most inopportune time or if a number of things can go wrong, the one you would least like to happen will occur. And this is where stress sets in – big time.
My biggest worry is the Mets bullpen. I don’t trust Betances nor Familia. With Lugo recuperating from bone chip surgery in his elbow, I feel like I have to hold my breath every time Diaz comes in as the closer. Shall I remind you of some history that backs up my anxiety about our bullpen?
The Proof is in the Mets pudding
Well, back on September 4, 2019, the Mets were up 10-4 versus the Nationals. Then Mets manager Mickey Callaway pulled Seth Lugo after a 1-2-3 eighth inning, figuring the game is in the bag. Well, Murphy’s Law hit hard. Relievers Sewald, Avilan, and Diaz combined to give up seven runs for a devastating walk-off loss. Adding insult to injury, before that game, teams leading by six runs in the bottom of the ninth were 274-0!
Or how about this one? During a stretch in June 2019, the Mets led by two or more runs in each of their past five games only to see it erased by the bullpen.
I get the jitters whenever Jacob DeGrom is pulled in the 7th inning with a one or two-run lead. Murphy’s Law runs rampant in his personal pitching history, evidenced by the number of blown saves after he leaves the game, and of the low numbers of wins attributed to his ledger.
Maybe the additions of May and Loup will help but they are not designated closers. I can sleep well knowing we have a good offense and will surely score runs. I have faith in our starting pitching. But I still imagine sleepless nights wondering how we will protect leads and not have all that offense or good starting pitching go to waste.
Can Diaz’s improved numbers in a small sample size in 2020 overcome the disastrous outings he had in 2019? Is this enough to wash away the lingering bad taste in the mouth from ugly outings in 2019? While admittedly he was better in the COVID-shortened season, it was still not at the elite level during his time in Seattle.
So I continue to worry. I still don’t have that unquestioned confidence and trust that I need to feel good about myself as a Mets fan going into 2021.
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Nonetheless, while I begrudgingly brace myself for the worst, I will continue to hope for the best. LGM!