MLB Handicapping: Stay Far Away From Mets
by Matt Severance - 07/08/2009
I wouldn't say to give up totally on those New York Mets futures that you may have jumped on early this season, but I certainly wouldn't buy any right now with how the team is going.
New York is still a very reasonable 15/2 to win the National League pennant on Bodog, which are the sixth-lowest odds on the site among NL clubs (behind the Dodgers, Phillies, Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals). Look for that number to rise, however, if the Mets don't turn things around soon.
Following Tuesday's 8-0 loss in the series opener to the Dodgers at Citi Field, the Metropolitans have lost nine of 11 games and are four games below .500 for the first time since late in the 2005 season. They have been shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since May 2005 and haven't scored in 22 innings, their longest scoreless streak since April 2004. New York has just 10 hits in those 22 innings, and they are all singles. In fact, since Saturday the Mets have more strikeouts (21) than total bases (14).
The Mets have scored three runs or fewer in 10 of their last 12 games, and it's clear those injuries to Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes are beginning to take a major toll. David Wright looked like an MVP candidate in late June, but he is on the skids after carrying the offense for a while. Wright was hitless in the recent sweep by Philadelphia and went 0-for-3 on Tuesday. He has just five hits in his past 44 at-bats. He is 1-for-23 with eight strikeouts in July, and his average has dropped 23 points in that time.
And there's really no help coming on the horizon. Reyes is still feeling pain in his right leg and had to have a cortisone shot Tuesday - that's never a good sign coming six weeks after landing on the disabled list. And Beltran, who has a deep bruise below his right knee, still needs to have an MRI to see his progress - and that won't come until after the all-star break. Delgado is expected out until mid-August.
The pitching situation isn't much better. John Maine, probably the team's third best starter, appears a while away as he hasn't even thrown off a mound since being disabled with shoulder pain on June 6. No. 2 starter Mike Pelfrey took the loss on Tuesday, and the Mets have lost four of his past five starts. Even ace Johan Santana has lost four of his past five starts and had a 6.19 ERA in June.
"It's a team funk right now," said Manager Jerry Manuel to reporters. "It's not just one guy, it's a team funk. When you don't hit, or you're hitting all singles or what have you, it makes your team somewhat lethargic, and that's what we look like."
It's more of a funk - this club is in dire straits, and there's probably no team in baseball more looking forward to the break: "I think everyone's welcoming the all-star break," Wright admitted.
But three days off isn't going to fix what's wrong with the Mets, so steer clear of them unless GM Omar Minaya makes a big move.