This is why I don’t waste a lot of time hoping for something with this team before they actually give me a reason to hope. You start out with a small sample size of a surprising start, then you go and get swept by the Houston Astros. And not just swept, dominated. Games two and three of this series were out of reach by the third inning, getting beat by the likes of Chris Snyder and Chris Johnson (six RBI’s on Wednesday). At least the alien forces in Star Trek were able to take out the redshirts on the Enterprise. In Houston, those redshirts are making the Mets their personal servants. Lieutenant Leslie is kicking their asses.
Chris Johnson is the f***ing seventh hole hitter! And he’s already hitting baseballs to the Astros Wall of Fame!!!
Maybe, just maybe, we needed this collective swift kick of reality … the reality that is the New York Mets not being quite as good as our dreams would have us believe, yet. More importantly, maybe the team itself needed this swift kick. Except I’d rather the swift kick came against a good team, telling the Mets that they’re not ready for the next level. Instead, the swift kick came against a bad team, telling the Mets that they’re not ready for the previous three levels … and if you’re Chris Schwinden, two of the previous three levels can be found in Buffalo and Binghamton.
But the most important part of getting your teeth bashed in his how you react to this. If you truly believe that this team is better than people think … that even with all the injuries and even with the fact that Schwinden is getting regular work that this team can hang around the fringes of the race for a good long while, then you have to hope that Terry Collins conveys to the room that performances like the three in Houston are absolutely unacceptable. And it is. There’s no need to turn over a postgame spread of bash in a Gatorade cooler in front of the guys. But calmly yet firmly with: “Hey, we need to be better than the garbage we put out there this week.” Sure, they’re 13-12. But when you lose to the Astros three straight, it feels more like 13-112.
Now if you don’t believe that this team is better than people think, then hey … who cares. They try hard, bless their hearts. I’m not sure how good I think this team is. But no matter if this is a 75 win team or an 85 win team, getting swept by the Astros is terrible. Getting swept by the Astros where the last two losses were over after the anthem is disgusting. And forget how awful they played, Ruben Tejada holding between first and second base on a fly ball to right field with two outs? That’s the kind of lunacy that has to be stopped whether you’re hitting .220 or .320. I could give a flying walenda how good a start Tejada has had, you have to know how many outs there are and know what you’re doing on the basepaths. Or the next time he does that it’s going to cost them the tying run. I’ve had quite enough of the Angel Pagan vapor locks and the Timo Perez brainlessness with this damn franchise. Tom Goodwin has to absolutely make sure that there is no next time. After all, he’s the baserunning coordinator, right? Coordinate some brains on this team, would ya please? It’s part of the process of making sure this team knows that this is unacceptable. Should Tejada slide on that because he’s hitting well? No, no, a thousand times no.
Harsh? Maybe, but I don’t care. I’m tired of accepting that this team just simply tries hard because they’re not that good. That’s Art Howe’s modus operandi. And don’t get me wrong, I love that guys like Tim Byrdak have the spirit to chirp back at the Astros bench when they’re getting on him about quick pitching … even at guys like Carlos Lee who yelled because he saw everyone else yelling and didn’t know what the hell he was letting. (Carlos, what are you, in Junior High School? If they jumped off a bridge, would you follow them?) But there has to be more than that. The non-performers have to start performing, or get rid of them. The non-thinkers have to eat some fish, do some neurobic exercises and improve their cognitive skills. And for the love, stop getting your kingdom overtaken by redshirts.