Life Without Moises
While few of us expected Moises Alou to play in more than 100 games this season, we did hope to see him at some point beyond the cameo appearances in spring training. After suffering a hernia, the latest news is that Alou may or may not have a fractured bone in his ankle.
This does not bode well for the light-hitting Mets, who despite their offensive “explosion” this past weekend, remain a few batters short of championship lineup.
Even if Carlos Delgado is truly out of his slump — and it looked that way yesterday — it’s doubtful he’s going to return to the monster he was two or three years ago. At best he’ll give the Mets a .260 / 30 / 110 line — good, but not enough unless both David Wright and Carlos Beltran put up MVP numbers.
That’s because after the #5 spot, there isn’t much firepower. Yes, Ryan Church is hot, but I’m not banking on him continuing his .322 pace (call me a pessimist). I do like Church as a #6 or #7 hitter, and do like his defense and hustle. But when he cools down to his mean of .275 / 15 / 70, and Angel Pagan falls back to earth (three hits in his last 20 ABs suggests the descent has begun), will the Mets have enough hitting at the bottom of the order to compete? I’m not so sure.
If the bullpen had a better start, and if either of El Duque or Pedro Martinez were in the rotation right now, I might not be so concerned — because great pitching beats good hitting, right? But the truth is, the Mets pitching overall is not great — it’s OK, potentially good. But not so dominating that the Mets can get away with scoring 3-4 runs a game.
In this era of the 5-inning starter, too many games are decided by the worst pitchers on each team — the middle relievers. It’s a crapshoot, really, and what it often comes down to is which offense can take advantage of the weakest arms in the 6th and 7th innings. If Delgado gets back into the groove, the Mets will be more dangerous in these late innings, because teams won’t be able to pitch around David Wright and Carlos Beltran. But the lineup still might not be deep enough to make up for the inconsistencies of the bullpen. There are too many “ifs” — if Delgado returns to form, if Pagan stays hot, if Church is for real — to keep me convinced there’s enough offense without Alou.
Of course, “if” Alou ever returns, I’m assuming he’ll be the .300-hitting RBI machine he’s always been … oh that’s another “if”, isn’t it?
Maybe it’s the gray skies and downpour that has me so cynical. A bright sunny day and a few more dingers by Delgado would really lift my spirits.