Monday, July 20, 2009

Mets Series Preview

Monday: Livan Hernandez at JD Martin

Tuesday: Oliver Perez at John Lannan

Wednesday: Mike Pelfrey at Craig Stammen

I don’t hang around the Mets message boards, nor do I follow Mets blogs. However, the Mets, like the Nationals, have suffered a similar degree of epic fail this season. Injuries have crippled their rotation and their lineup. The eight players stepping on the field these days far from represent a contender; yet the Mets scrap, day in and out, to remain on the fringe of contention. Maybe they get their host of all-stars back and make a run.

I mention this because the Nats are not fielding a worse team than the Mets right now. In fact, given some of the decaying bodies they are sending out there (Livan, Sheff, Tatis, Cora, Dessens, Berroa), the Nats are probably fielding a more talented team. The Mets are staggering in at 15-27 since June 1st, which is sadly much better than the 12-29 posted by the Nats over the same stretch.

However, with each series comes new hope, or at least one would hope. AAA phenom JD Martin will get the ball tonight, and if he is any bit the revelation Craig Stammen has been, there will be more good than bad. For more on JD Martin, FBJ has an excellent analysis. John Lannan has been one of the better stoppers in the league. Stammen has been rolling along like Greg Maddux circa 1990s his last three starts. The three starting pitchers the Nats will face in this series represent three of the worst starters in the NL. Livan Hernandez becomes Daniel Cabrera if you pull out his two starts against the Nats. Pelfrey has 2 quality starts and 2 starts in which he gave up 9 runs since June 1st. And Oliver Perez is literally Daniel Cabrera, except 33 million dollars (plus or minus some change) more expensive.

The Nats are playing themselves out of games with defensive miscues, base running blunders, and general malaise. There is no fire when guys come up in need of a clutch hit late in the game, no sense of urgency. I won’t run out there and pluck quotes out of a vacuum like other columnists and bloggers, but next time somebody comes up runners on late in a close, take a close look at their eyes… nobody up there is striking fear in the pitcher. Even Adam Dunn still gets pitched to regularly, despite the fact that Willingham has been his only real protection the past month.

The Mets are so bad that it is hard to imagine the Nats not taking a game here, but who knows. The lay down job against the Cubs has really enraged some of the remaining diehards here.

“The Bombs” will be sending F. Leesburgh Pike to the game this evening. Autographs will be available in the men’s room behind section 108 during the Presidents’ Race.

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