I was going to write a post about the Mets being done, how they have no chance to win the NL East or the Wild Card. But then I thought, “maybe they do.” And for the life of me, I just can’t decide.
I won’t go into the reasons the Mets have no hope. Those are already well known to all of us — Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Jason Bay’s lack of hitting, Jeff Francoeur’s lack of hitting, Mike Pelfrey’s collapse from his early season promise, Jerry Manuel’s managing, etc. etc. etc. Aren’t you glad I didn’t mention all of that. Let’s talk instead about why they still have a chance.
The overall starting pitching is still pretty good. Johan Santana has been struggling a bit lately, but even a struggling Santana is still an ace. And he’ll be okay. R.A. Dickey remains phenomenal. And Jon Niese and Hisanori Takahashi remain reasonably solid.
As far as the bullpen, Francisco Rodriguez seems to have overcome his troubles, and Bobby Parnell is developing into the eighth inning guy the Mets have been looking for. The rest of the bullpen, despite a couple of rough outings and a very highly overpaid lefty mop-up guy whose name escapes me right now, is perfectly adequate.
Now the hitting — the biggest problem. Carlos Beltran is still finding his footing, but he’ll be all right. David Wright, Jose Reyes and Ike Davis are just fine. Angel Pagan has been a Godsend (even though I still think he’s overachieving and would include him in a trade for a big bat or a front-line pitcher). And Jason Bay has got to start hitting when he recovers from his concussion, right?
Helping the Mets’ case is that their competition is as flawed as they are. The Phillies have been hot lately and just acquired Roy Oswalt, but they just placed Ryan Howard on the DL, and Chase Utley is still out. So they might have some trouble scoring runs over the next few weeks.
The Braves, well, I just don’t think they’re such a great team. They have played extremely well up until this point, but I think they are due for a fall.
The Mets have been a streaky team all season. They need to get on one of those good streaks and get back into the race. And they need to do it now, before it’s too late. I still think they have a chance. At least I think I think they do.