I'm just as guilty as all the other Mets fans...I fully expected the Mets to be in the post-season this year, and pretty much cruise to the World Series, where they would finally meet some tough opposition. Though the Mets are still in first place in the division, we've certainly seemed to hit a bump in the road, haven't we?
The problem is, I haven't changed my ways, even with the Mets stumbling through the summer months. My thoughts (especially with 10pm starts that I can't stay awake for the end of) have been wandering lately to the NFL, which is right around the corner, and how I'm feeling partly excited for September, and college and pro football, to get me through to the baseball playoffs. The problem with that is it's shaping up to be a pretty important September for the Mets - one in which they could find themselves fighting just to get into the post-season.
I went back into my archives to prove the March/April version of myself wrong - how I probably said the season was going to be a breeze, and that turns out to be not the case. But I'm proud to say - I just about hit the nail on the head:
"In my limited spring training write-ups, I've been somewhat critical of the Mets. It's not that I don't think they'll be good...it's just that I don't think they'll be as good all season as they were last year. But I think this team has the chance to hit its stride at the most important time - September and October - which is the opposite of what happened last year." - March 21, 2007
I went on to predict that the Mets will pull away from the much-improved Phillies (who are again playing the way I expected them to at the beginning of the year) when Pedro Martinez* returns in August.
Then there was this:
"I was checking out the Mets' schedule. July looks particularly tough. There are 10 home games, and 16 road games. It looks more intimidating on the schedule than it sounds...but there are a couple of lengthy road trips." - April 3, 2007
Turns out July has been tough (not to mention June...didn't see that coming), and it's tough as we speak. The month started on Sunday, July 1st, in Philadelphia - a loss. The trip through Colorado and Houston was more challenging than it should have been, and the Mets were 2-6 on that road trip in July. (It's 5-6 when you go into the last few days of June, and include the three wins over Philly that preceded the loss...but we're focusing on July.) The Mets took 3 out of 4 at home against Cincinnati, and now are back on the road, traveling across the country, to San Diego and Los Angeles, where they are already 0-1, after losing to the Padres Monday night. I'll try to keep a positive attitude, but keep in mind the Mets were already in Los Angeles this year (just about a month ago, really), where they were outscored 18-5 in a three-game sweep. So this doesn't bode too well.The Mets might take two out of three in San Diego, and a split with the Dodgers would be acceptable. Then you look at their second half of the season so far, and things look pretty good, and there's no need to worry. But, unfortunately, the way the Mets have been playing, that's not a foregone conclusion, as it might have been last year. This year, it seems, the Mets are going to have to prove their worth right up until the end.
NAME GAME: I missed a golden opportunity Monday night in the ol' name game. I've explained this before, but I'll go through it again. Basically, it's fun with baseball names - I like saying, "What if Wendell Kim married Turk Wendell? He'd be Wendell Wendell." It's stupid...but sometimes these things come up during three-hour baseball games. Well, Monday night, pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals, was Braden Looper. And then as I was switching around during the Mets game, who is pitching for the Oakland Athletics? None other than Dallas Braden. Hello, Braden Braden. There have been times with the Name Game where players have opposed one another, being on opposite teams in the same game. But I'm not sure there's ever been a pitching matchup with opposing names. I look forward to the day the A's play the Cardinals, and the Bradens match up.
-On a somewhat related note - I mentioned the NFL before - I saw in the transaction wire that the Jets signed a receiver named Juan Wong. That's pretty cool. Doubt he makes the team, considering I've never heard of him - but I'll try to catch him in a preseason game, just because.