15 Reasons Not to Panic
So the Mets have lost seven of their last eight games — does that mean it’s time to panic?
Here are 15 reasons NOT to panic (yet)
1. Despite the seven-loss slide, the Mets are still in first place, two games up.
2. Shawn Green and Jose Valentin are back in the lineup, providing much of the punch that had been missing the last few weeks.
3. Damion Easley’s bat and glove won’t be seen regularly. This means more ground balls will be handled on the right side of the infield and less weak popups will be seen from the offense. It also means Willie has much better options for the #2 hole.
4. Jose Reyes has been slumping, and it won’t last. As he goes, so go the Mets, and he’s due to go on a rampage.
5. Carlos Beltran has only one RBI this month. That ain’t gonna last either — especially now that he has a hot David Wright protecting him and Carlos Delgado starting to drive the ball.
6. Oh, did we mention D-Wright yet? Over the last seven days, he’s hitting .348 with 4 HR and 6 RBI. And he’s ONLY hitting to rightfield. This man is just getting warmed up, folks.
7. Pedro Martinez is throwing off a mound now — and feeling good. He should be ready to start helping this club in mid- to late August — just in time for the stretch run.
8. This is the toughest part of the Mets schedule. The rest of the season will be a breeze. (Take a look at their last 13 games in particular — all Marlins and Nationals!)
9. The Braves are falling apart. Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, Edgar Renteria, and Mike Gonzalez are all hurting. Andruw Jones is batting .221. Inspector Clouseau is still their closer, bumbling his way to saves.
10. The Phillies still have polydactyl Antonion Alfonseca closing, and will for some time. And you’re really worried about them rising in the standings?
11. Brian Lawrence is almost ready to return to the big leagues. Look at the impact provided by another veteran righthanded pitcher to the “other” New York team, and you understand how Lawrence is poised to spark a season-changing charge by the Mets.
12. Speaking of the arms on the farm, Philip Humber, Jason Vargas, and Mike Pelfrey are all pitching well for the New Orleans Zephyrs. One or two of the three is bound to help the big club, either in the rotaton or the bullpen. Couldn’t you just see Pelfrey throwing that filthy sinker for one- or two-inning spurts?
13. John Maine and Oliver Perez are the real deal. Yes, Perez had a tough outing against Detroit, and Maine lost his last two starts, but these guys are continuing to evolve. Ollie is looking like a top-of-the-rotation starter, with no-hit stuff more times than not, and Maine may well be on his way to being a solid #2 or #3, rather than the fifth-starter tag everyone projected him to be. As long as you have those two guys — and Tom Glavine — in your rotation, losing streaks can’t last too long.
14. Omar hasn’t made a deal yet. And when he does, it will be game-over for the rest of the NL East. He has the significant chips in his pocket — the aforementioned AAA pitchers, Lastings Milledge, maybe Aaron Heilman — to make a big-time trade at the deadline. Even if he doesn’t make a huge deal, you know it’s going to be impactful. Remember last year? Maybe Ollie Perez, Guillermo Mota, and Shawn Green will jog your memory?
15. Willie Randolph hasn’t panicked yet. Nothing shakes that guy. When he starts worrying, we’ll start to worry.