Deja Vu All Over Again
Something seems awfully familiar …
The Mets in first place, with a slim lead over the Phillies in the final weeks of the season.
A bullpen which had been pushed pedal to the metal since Opening Day, suddenly faltering — and, amazingly, everyone wondering why.
A manager panicking in response to the above, and “going with the hot hand” without any other thought, reason, or logic.
Starting pitchers dropping like flies.
A glut of veteran and rookie pitchers hanging around the bullpen playing pinochle, with no real chance of ever throwing a meaningful pitch in a game. (Visions of Bobby Parnell starting a big game in the final week of the season keep pestering me.)
Hobbled veterans in and out of the lineup, most notably at second base.
Jose Reyes slowing down — in fact, almost grinding to a halt.
David Wright coming on strong in the final weeks, attempting to carry the team on his shoulders.
Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like September 2007, but we do have a few differences:
1. A manager who may be just as numbskulled as his predecessor, but who gives the media plenty of quotes and sound bites (whatever that’s worth).
2. Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran helping Wright carry the team.
3. A fresh-faced kid named Daniel Murphy continuing to hit.
Yes, before we write off this season as another, albeit less dramatic, collapse, let’s take into consideration that this 2008 team is currently hitting. At no point in the last two years has all three of Wright, Beltran, and Delgado been hot at the same, and those three bats can obviate bullpen catastrophes and starting pitching breakdowns. And yes, you CAN hit your way into the postseason — just ask the 2007 Phillies (how far you get is another story). So as long as the big three keep whacking the ball, the Mets have a chance to stay atop the NL East.