(Don’t) Take It Easy

Someone should have told the Mets, as they attempted to take game three of the series from the Brewers, that we didn’t need to take it easy on ‘em.

By every conceivable measure, besides the final outcome, this game should have been ours.  We’re a better team.  Our pitching is better.  Our offense is better, you hope.  Our defense is better.  Our record is better.

Boy, you couldn’t see it on the field today, could you?

Maybe it looked like it at first, when Logan Verrett retired the side in order and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run homer on the bottom of the inning.  But honestly, did we really think this one would hold up?

It’s Logan Verrett, whose story we’ve all seen a million times before.  The Mike Vail story.  He comes up and makes one start, and immediately, the more reactionary part of the fan base declare that he’s got to be in the starting rotation, effective immediately.  The bloggers, who of course are far more reasonable than this, scoff, and say that this is such a small sample size that we can’t possibly make such a judgement.

And then he makes another good start, and the bloggers declare that he can no longer be overlooked, and that he’s certainly showed enough to become a prominent member of the bullpen.  And everyone listens to the bloggers.

And meanwhile, those few of us who aren’t quite sold yet wait for the house of cards to fall apart.

It happened with Hansel Robles, when he was anointed the rock of the bullpen after a few promising outings, then completely imploded.  It’s happening, to an extent, with Conforto, although I have every confidence that he’ll be able to adapt to major league pitching, with time.  And now, it’s exactly what’s happening with Verrett, who, it turns out, is not Cy Young reincarnate.

And meanwhile, it turns out our offense isn’t exactly hot stuff either.  Entering the game against a pitcher with an E.R.A. of something like 17, we hit, but not nearly enough.  Granderson hit; other than Cabrera, no one else did.  No hits from Conforto, Cespedes, Walker, Flores, or Rivera.  A hit in garbage time from Johnson.  Other than that, not much.

When was the last time our offense looked this bad?  Actually, that’s pretty easy to answer: last year, right before we brought in Johnson, Uribe, and Cespedes and turned everything the right way.  Do we have a comparable answer this time?

Honestly, I don’t know.  I don’t know how much there is we can do, or how much can change.  Duda will be back, maybe.  d’Arnaud will be back in ten days, they say.

But how much difference can it possibly make?  We’ve got a lineup full of passable hitters.  Granderson on through to the seven or eight spot, everyone we have can hit, in amounts ranging from a lot to a little.

Slightly rephrasing Moneyball, we’ve got a bunch of good hitters.  We just don’t hit good.

Maybe we’ve been unlucky.  Maybe this will all turn around.  But who can tell?  I honestly, for the life of me, can’t tell whether we’re a good team or not.  Some days, it looks an awful lot like it.  Today, it looked like we certainly weren’t.

Bullpen, bad.  Starter, bad.  Offense, bad.

But you know how these things work out.  Things can all turn around tomorrow, and then we’ll be good again.

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