Mets Lineup Could Be a Juggernaut (Don’t Laugh)

Published on: 6th July, 2011


Mets Lineup Could Be a Juggernaut (Don't Laugh)  | read this item

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New York — Terry Collins, the New York Mets manager already has my vote for National League manager of the year. With all due respect to the Pirates’ Cliff Hurdle, Fredi Gonzalez of the Braves, and Kirk Gibson of the Diamondbacks, Collins has taken a roster of career minor leaguers com-bined with major league veterans thought to be either over the hill, infirm, or plain old overrated yet has kept his Mets in contention for a wild card berth as we enter the All-Star break.

Nobody on this planet saw this Mets team as a viable contender to accomplish anything this season except for being sold to a new owner, playing games in front of an empty ballpark, or being financially bailed-out by Major League Baseball.

Instead, Collins has been able to keep his team afloate and the players focused on the games themselves instead of on the turmoil swirling around the front office of this organization, not an easy task in a market like New York with its interminable press corps constantly in players’ ears with doubting questions.

Collins has also convinced the less-accomplished triple A-quality players with no major league track records that they, too belong in the big leagues and were expected to play like big leaguers. So far, it’s worked for such overachievers as Justin Turner, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parsons and several others who spent most of last season playing in Buffalo, the Mets’ Triple A affiliate.  It’s safe to say the Mets would not have their winning record without every one of these young players.

After tonight’s 6-0 win in Los Angeles against a Dodger franchise whose own front office issues make the Mets front office problems pale by comparison, the Mets season record is now 44-41. It becomes even more impressive when you subtract their terrible start to this season. Since then, their 39-28 record since they began at 5-13 places them near the top of the National League over the course of those past 67 games.

The Mets have also proven to be road warriors this season,  possessing the second-best road record in the entire National League at 26-21. With such a young team, that is a tremendous accomplishment. Unfortunately, the team does not perfom nearly as well at Citi Field where their record is only 19-22. Perhaps, that’s due to the construction of this roster, not really compatible with the dimensions of such a cavernous field.  Home runs have not come easily for the Mets righthanded power suppliers, David Wright and Jason Bay who have demonstrated mostly warning track power in Queens.

Despite devastating injuries to every key player on this team, their 61-year old manager, who hadn’t managed in the big leagues in over a decade before Sandy Alderson pulled him off the minor league scrap heap has kept this engine rolling.

The Mets have played most of their games so far, without the face of the franchise,  Wright, recovering from a fractured bone in his back since May. It’s been without the power-hitting first baseman, Ike Davis, who may be out for the season with an ankle that could require microfracture surgery. The recent hamstring pull suffered by Jose Reyes, whose only been the most electrifying player in the sport this season, hasn’t kept the Mets from winning their share of games as Collins has mixed and matched various players in the lineup to get better matchups against different pitchers.

They’ve been doing this with the likes of Daniel Murphy and Ronnie Paulino hitting cleanup while Angel Pagan has seamlessly moved into Reyes’ leadoff spot.

And, until recently, they’ve been doing this without the presence of the $66 million man, Bay, hitting like the Jason Bay who earned that big contract.

But, here they are, with a pitching staff whose ace, Johann Santana has been rehabbing his Tommy John-operated shoulder in Florida this entire season and may not be ready to return at any point this season. 

The pitcher they were hoping to take over the mantle of ace status, Mike Pelfrey, has been a disaster most of this season. His career pattern of two good games, three terrible outings has continued this season and the 6-7, 250 pound righthander with the 95 mph sinker remains a dilemma with no answer in sight.

Scrap heap types like Chris Capuano and Chris Young were acquired in the off-season. The injury-plagued Young looked like an ace, himself early in the season until he blew out his shoulder for what seems like the umpteenth time of his career. Say goodbye to Chris Young.

Capuano has been steady if not spectacular, going 8-7 on the season, a bit better than his career record which is below .500.

The big surprise in the starting rotation has been the Triple A prospect who some referred to as a suspect last season, Darrell Gee. The kid with a barely 91 mph fastball has been precision-like with his control, leading to an amazing 8-2 record in the first half of this season.

But, here’s the thing. If and when the Mets get all their people healthy again, their lineup and their pitching staff will be imposing. This may be too optimistic to realistically believe the Mets will have enough time left in the season to make a run for the playoffs but it is very certain, opposing pitching staffs will not want to face the following lineup in August through October.







Murphy (second base)



That lineup offers speed, power, selectivity at the plate, situational hitters, and a little power. Teams won’t be able to throw more lefty pitching at the Mets or righties, for that matter. There is a good balance from both sides of the plate.

The only question Collins and his players cannot answer is, will Alderson keep this team together and let them make a run at the playoffs or will he decide to start trading off his assets.

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