As the Mets fade away

When I was a kid the Mets usually stunk. There would be a point every season where I’d more or less check out, and it was the late August road trip to the west coast.

Back in the day that meant two weeks of newspaper coverage being limited to “Mets at Los Angeles, night.”  No late scores, no internet, no WFAN, no ESPN.  “Mets at San Diego, night.”  Maybe the paper would print what my friend Tony called a “scorecard story” – something generic like “Joel Youngblood loves bicycles.”

I was looking at the standings this morning while trying to stave off despair* and looked ahead at the schedule.  When I get back from this eek’s road trip the Mets will be in Arizona, land of 9:40 starts.  Then some weeknight games in San Francisco that will start at 10:15.  That means I won’t watch and won’t hang on twitter (I need my sleep.)  They go to San Diego after that – I had wanted to make that my cool summer baseball road-trip before I realized how busy I was this summer – which means more off-rhythm start times.

By the time they get back to the normal 7:10 starts it will be August 7th.  Given the absolute free-fall this team is in, who knows what the standings will look like.  I’m not heading for the hills, but I think it’s less likely that I’ll be hosting Mets-watching parties on the deck the way I did in May.

What an awful awful two weeks.

* it is hard to stave off despair when the rotation is a Niese, a journeyman knuckler, a taped on shoulder, I dunno and I also dunno.

….

Here’s a little something I wrote late on the night of June 1st:

What an exciting night!  Lots of us were hanging on twitter and discussed the pitch count.  Yes I wanted to take him out after 7 and yes I feared and still fear putting that much wear on Johan’s shoulder…but that’s tomorrow’s problem.  In a one game universe that was exciting….

In a 162 game universe I don’t think it was worth it.

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7 comments
mike9986
mike9986

Okay, upon pondering, I really don't think the no-hitter damaged Santana. Look at his game log; after getting shelled by the Yankees and the Rays in his first two starts after the no-hitter, Santana really seemed to have righted the ship, giving up a grand total of two runs over his next three starts (including an 8-inning, 3-hit, 0-ER gem against the Dodgers on June 30). The July 6 start against the Cubs is when he got stomped on, and he hasn't been the same pitcher since. All evidence points to the sprained ankle, not the no-hitter. And wow, Shannon, you must be pretty down on the Metsies right now. Dickey's already been demoted to "journeyman knuckler"? Ouch.

MediaGoon
MediaGoon

Leg Injury anyone? Was there when he got stepped on covering 1st base. It didn't look good when it happened and after that happened he fell apart the rest of that game and wasn't great since.Which knee did he have surgery on?

Will Musto
Will Musto

You know. I was in your camp yesterday, Shannon. Then I read (what was then) Greg Prince's latest post on FaFiF last night. He wrote the following, and I really think I'm starting to lean towards agreeing with him on this point. Thoughts? "One explanation I will not accept is the 134 pitches thrown seven weeks earlier were lethal. Hogwash. As the handy chart printed here illustrates, three starts after Santana’s nine innings of no-hit, shutout ball versus the Cardinals on June 1, Johan threw six innings of four-hit, shutout ball against the Orioles; the start after that, it was six innings of five-hit, two-run ball dropped on the Cubs, blemished only by the evil Joe Mather; the start after that, these very Dodgers — or a Kempless, Ethierless facsimile — were subject to eight innings of three-hit, shutout ball. Santana’s had his downs since the night of The First No-Hitter In New York Mets History, but he crafted several legitimate ups along the way. If something’s wrong, it isn’t from an extra 15 to 20 pitches seven weeks ago only now truly getting the best of him. I’d have bought it if the lousy start against the Yankees and the lousy start against the Rays had been followed by this lousy start. But he looked very good twice, pretty darn good (save for Mather) once and good enough to have escaped, save for ankles and Bucknors, another two times. But if you’d like to use 134 pitches as your crutch (and I’m not a doctor, athletic trainer or pitching coach, I just play one on Faith and Fear, so how would I know what’s right and what’s wrong?) and tell me oh dear, that extra inning worth of exertion was too much strain for the surgically repaired shoulder, there goes the man’s career, there goes our seasonand present irrefutable evidence to support your assertion, I’d have nothing to say except what Lyndon Johnson had to say in 1963 in response to fears that he’d expend too much political capital too early in his unforeseen presidency if he attempted to push controversial civil rights legislation through a recalcitrant Congress: “Well, what the hell’s the presidency for?” Except replace “the presidency” with “a great pitcher” and switch out “controversial civil rights legislation” for “long dreamed of franchise milestone whose fruition is as cherished in its existence as it was in fantasy”. He’s Johan. He’ll figure it out."

Paul
Paul

Given the choice, would you take Johan Santana's no-hitter and a July exit from playoff contention, or a one-hitter in June, a successful run at the second wild-card spot and a loss in the one-game playoff because the bullpen (still) stinks?

Shannon Shark
Shannon Shark

I love the guy but he's a journeyman knuckler. Might even win the Cy Young!

metslady
metslady

I can't believe I am saying this....but, I think I still want the no hitter. I have been a fan for 49 years and it has always irked me that with our great pitching history, we never had a no hitter before. Losing the one game playoff due to the bullpen would eat at me all winter.

Steve D
Steve D

To get deep into the playoffs, Johan would have had to throw well over 200 innings, around 3000 pitches. I don't think he would have held up even without those 20 extra pitches,

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