Thursday, June 16, 2005

Not a good sign from those Mets

Something didn't sit well with me as we left Shea Stadium on Sunday. That wasn't a good way to end the homestand, not a good way to head out on a season-high 12-game road trip. The Mets went 6-6 on their longest stretch in Queens for the season, losing two of three to the woeful Astros and letting the rubber game against the first-place Angels of The O.C. slip away.

Winding down the ramps, I had the feeling that this was the beginning of the slide that they'll be talking about in September.

Of course, I hope I'm wrong, but Tuesday's lifeless start to the road trip (a 5-0 loss to a weak Oakland club and a starter, Joe Blanton, who was 1-6 with an ERA over 5.00 coming into the game) and last night's additional bullpen failure only strengthened my initial hypothesis. The Mets need Kris Benson to be a stopper this afternoon.

On June 16 last year, the Mets were 30-34, so their current 32-32 record is just two games better. They reached 43-40 on July 7, 2004, and 44-41 two days later, but they went into the All-Star break at 44-43 and emerged from it by losing four of six to fall to 46-47, and it spiraled from there.

These are games the Mets should be winning. Tom Glavine and Victor Zambrano have pitched well of late, while Blanton and Dan Haren have struggled. Why did the Yankees win 10 in a row in May after falling eight games below .500? Because they played 12 straight against Oakland and Seattle. The Mets should've taken two of three from both of those teams, but now to go 4-2 on this West Coast swing, they'll need to win the last four — one in Oakland and three in Seattle.

July 18 was the last time the Mets were above .500 in 2004; July 21 was the last time they were at the break-even mark. They're going to have to fix some things in order to surpass those marks this season.

* * *

Just twice in the past 50 years have two Ivy League players started for the same team. The second pair is the Rangers' Chris Young (Princeton) and Mark DeRosa (Penn).

Just found that interesting.

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