Mets Games 155, 156: Wins Over Not-So-Braves

Mets 10 Braves 2

Mets 4 Braves 2

Mets sweep the Braves in Atlanta for the first time since 2007, and are now threatening to finish second in the NL East. Who’da thunk it?

Mets Game Notes

Late, I know. But I haven’t been motivated to write. I don’t know what to think about what’s happened over the past three weeks — it’s a mirage, I’m sure of it. The Braves shouldn’t be this bad. The Mets shouldn’t be this “good.” I don’t remember teams completely giving up like this before — though I’ve certainly seen spirited September teams filled with youngsters vying for jobs playing a little over their heads.

Looking at the rest of the season, the Marlins and Phillies will beat each others’ brains in, then the Marlins have a four-game set against the Nationals while the Phillies and Braves beat each others’ brains in. The Mets have three against the Nats and then three against the Astros. You do the math. It looks like the Mets are going to finish second place, and it’s going to be hyped to the max — never mind that their second-place finish did not make them any closer to being a postseason contender. Maybe the Mets still would have finished third, even if the Braves didn’t completely collapse.

Surely there are Mets fans who will be thrilled to see their team finish in second. That’s exactly how Mets management would like their fans to respond, as it will give them every reason not to fill the holes that need to be filled in the offseason. Why go out and spend a little money on free agents to play, say, left field and shortstop? The team finish SECOND! Sandy Alderson’s long (long, long, long) range plan is working! These guys are really coming together, and are only going to get better in 2015! And Harvey will be back! And David Wright will be healthy! Don’t fix what ain’t broke! If we have money to spend, let’s give it to Sandy!

Heck yes, Sandy should get an extension for the amazing work he’s done. Everything is working exactly per the plan he put in place half a decade ago. This is like the 1984 Mets, right on the cusp of awesomeness. Only one Gary Carter deal away from NL dominance.

Except, there won’t be a Gary Carter deal. There will be a Daniel Murphy deal, and maybe a Jonathon Niese one as well. More shedding of contracts for “payroll flexibility” (a.k.a., paying down debt). Bud Selig approves. Why wouldn’t he? A New York team with a small-market payroll keeps down ALL payroll salaries. It’s a win for owners everywhere. (Oh, and Bud seems also to approve of other things, as well; funny, he’ll no longer be commissioner by the time THAT stuff hits the fan.)

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the Mets really ARE this “good.” Maybe they will go out and get the big-name player that sends them over the top (if indeed they’re only one player away). Maybe 2015 IS the year they finally become legitimate postseason contenders.

Just don’t be fooled about 2014. Even a second-place finish doesn’t make the Mets any closer to the playoffs than if they finished last. It was yet another season of mediocrity and meaningless September games, no matter how the message from Flushing is spun.

Next Mets Games

Mets take on the Nationals in a three-game set beginning Tuesday night at 7:05 PM. Bartolo Colon goes to the hill against Tanner Roark.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Garett September 23, 2014 at 12:23 pm
    Trending up is good, but if the Mets don’t get deep into playoffs in 2015 everyone must go.
    • Yeats September 23, 2014 at 2:41 pm
      I agree, 2015 has to be the year. Its what the more patient Mets fans such as myself have been preaching. Mets need to get a couple of really good major-leaguers, especially since they’ll be carrying dead weight in RF. Hoping Duda’s good year wasn’t a fluke. Hoping TdA & Lagares continue to improve. Hoping Wright is healthy & productive. Hoping Sandy makes the right call with the Murphy/Herrera/Flores triangle. Hoping Harvey can be very good next year. Hoping Wheeler improves.
      • argonbunnies September 24, 2014 at 1:05 am
        Weren’t patient Mets fans (and management) preaching from 2011-2013 that 2014 would be the year?

        All those things you’re hoping for — let’s say we get average luck, and 50% work out. Wright’s healthy and productive, Murphy and Flores hit enough to cover their poor D, Harvey is excellent in the limited innings allowed him after surgery. Meanwhile, Wheeler, d’Arnaud and Lagares stall, and Duda regresses.

        Add in the bullpen — let’s say Familia is able to repeat, but Mejia can’t keep wiggling out of jams.

        Does that team sound like a playoff contender to you? It doesn’t to me. Sandy needs to find the next team looking to dump a good player for salary reasons (Fister last year) and pounce.

        Personally, I see 2016 as the Mets’ best shot, when many of the players already in the organization will be in their peak years. (Of course, if Wright is much worse at 33 than 32, then never mind…)

  2. AlsoJoe September 23, 2014 at 12:59 pm
    Joe,

    I appreciate the realism and skepticism – entirely warranted. There’s still more than one hole left to fill, and some of Sandy’s previous “big name” fills have been crappy compromises designed to bring in fans without having done much for the team’s ability to win. And. yes, the Wilpons are bilking us. That being said, I don’t know how you can post about the last two games without at least mentioning deGrom’s work. He didn’t have his better stuff or consistent location, but he pitched and kept pitching. Those last two innings, with the wheels threatening to fly off the deGrom-mobile, presented some of the best evidence of why he’ll stick as a solid top end of the rotation guy. He was never a top prospect because his stuff was just ok, so he’s making himself into a professional pitcher – he just won’t crumble. Love it. I know this has all been said before, and I know it happened against a Braves team suddenly deep in a collective coma, but players like deGrom are why i watch the game, and it seems like we’re watching the wrong stuff if we can’t at least make note of it. Thanks,
    AlsoJoe

    • Joe Janish September 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm
      I agree re: deGrom — he’s fun to watch. And he’s been great. And I hope to see him at least one more time this year.

      At the same time, I don’t know what to make of his most recent appearance against a club that clearly doesn’t care, has lost 9 of its last 10, and was similarly befuddled by Francisco Liriano one night later. I don’t want to take anything away from deGrom, as I like him very much, but I don’t know how much of Sunday’s game was deGrom vs. the ineptitude of the Braves batters.

      Further, I only skimmed these two games on the DVR after the fact. At some point mid-season I went from watching every single pitch of every single game live whenever possible (for 8+ years) to watching games live only when convenient, and often breezing through games with the fast-forward button. This weekend was not so convenient, so I didn’t really watch deGrom’s outing all that closely. I find myself flipping to ESPN / FOX / MLB channel to watch pennant contenders, as those games have more interest to me.

      • Yeats September 23, 2014 at 4:35 pm
        According to ESPN, deGrom is deDone for the year.
      • Murder Slim September 23, 2014 at 7:47 pm
        Imagine if you stop doing Mets Today and suffer the horror if the Mets actually win next year…
        I’ve been a Mets fan for so long that everything takes on a hilarious angle. I love the very funny public relations’ speeches that say nothing. How did people not spot it from Alderson on day one?
        I also love Terry’s concerned face… almost as much as I miss Izzy’s ridiculous rants.
        I have to get on a plane to watch the Mets play. Yet I still keep doing it. And watching games on mlb.com. And thinking about how they should trade Murph and get a nice backup 1B and all that.
        Embrace the farce of following the Mets, Joe. There’s always next year and winning all the time is a little boring.
        • Joe Janish September 23, 2014 at 10:12 pm
          If the Mets win next year, the traffic to MetsToday will screech to a grinding halt.

          It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about the despicable ownership. I can’t separate the “product on the field” from the producer. Kind of like how people refuse to go to Wal-Mart or hate products connected to Monsanto. Seeing all the things ownership has done — beginning with the booting of Nelson Doubleday — has gradually and effectively soured any interest I had in rooting for the Mets. The Bernie Madoff thing was the straw that broke this camel’s back, and the recent accusations by Leigh Castergine have done nothing but widen the chasm. If her allegations prove to be true … wow … there’s almost no chance of me positively supporting the Mets without a change in ownership.

          I guess the bottom line is I was never a true “fanatic” — not one who would follow “my team” no matter what. Baseball was always a business, I get that, but from the time Bud Selig slivered his way into being commissioner, the “business” part became front and center and obnoxiously obvious. With that, teams became “brands” and “products on the field,” and you know what? I don’t support “products” or “brands” that don’t resonate with me. The Mets brand is owned by people who have publicly shown themselves to lack integrity, act selfishly, mistreat their employees, and disrespect their “consumers.” None of these traits appeal to me.

          But, I continue to watch and blog because I still love baseball and love the banter we enjoy here in the comments. It’s all about who you’re with, rather than where you are, right?

          Thanks, Murder Slim, and everyone else, for bearing with me through it all. I’ll try to keep my bitterness for the brand subdued as much as possible and focus on the baseball — but not making any promises!