Tuesday, May 17, 2016

N.Y. Mets: First Place or Bust Time in May

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Queens, N.Y.

NEW YORK METS: Washington Nationals Upsetting Balance of the Universe!

Despite what you've been reading in the internet tabloids, the previous 37 games were just practice.

Sure, the Nationals jumped out to a 9-1 start, while the Mets initially stumbled out of the block with a 2-5 record.  But what happened in April, stayed in April.

It's now mid-May, and it's all good - the New York Mets are presently in fine position ... and so defense of their National League pennant starts in earnest Tuesday night at Citi Field, when the home plate umpire makes the call to Play Ball against first place Washington.

Nationals    23-15
Mets            21-16

The Nats fell short of a N.L. East flag last season, largely due to their own failings.  That's not to undermine what the Mets accomplished - not at all.  Washington made the mistake of leaving the door open, and the Mets obligingly barged on through.

That's baseball...

This season, the Nationals have so far wrought nothing less of destruction - in the establishment, in the financial market, in the record books, and then to a lesser degree, in the standings,

Bryce Harper is the main headliner for effectively telling Goose Gossage and the rest of MLB, that he's essentially had it up to his threaded eyebrows with Old School nonsense.  It's not the first time he's criticized the establishment, having previously accused MLB many times of killing itself by alienating yet another generation of youngsters with their antiquated code of unwritten rules and protocol.

I do not necessarily disagree with his latter point.  Baseball is indeed in jeopardy of losing a second consecutive generation of potentially passionate fans.  Despite increasing WiFi capabilities at ballparks, they have done little to address an increasing disconnect between players, the game, and the average fan.  Harper believes restricting players' self expression only worsens the matter.

Meanwhile, the new Dusty Baker still utilizes starting pitchers like the old Dusty Baker.

That may or may not be a good thing in terms of the Mets future, considering Scott Boars and Nationals' ownership financially polluted the market for pitchers yet again with Stephen Strasburg's new contract.  Some believe Strasburg's next injury is always just a pitch away.

On that note, Max Scherzer is still throwing no hitters, and very recently tied the MLB record by recording 20 strikeouts against the Detroit Tigers.  He is tentatively slated to start Tuesday's series opener against Noah Syndergaard.

Daniel Murphy Returns to Citi Field

And of course, there's former Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, who is proving last year's post-season offensive heroics were no fluke.  With 140 at-bats in the books to date, Daniel is slashing .400/.433/.629, with 5 home runs and 23 RBI.  You read that right - Oh Murph! is still batting .400 for the season.

Mets fans knew all along Murph could hit.  He was a doubles machine.  But they also knew his OBP would never lay too far ahead of his batting average, and this season is no different.  As for his present rate of slugging versus that during his time with the Mets ... he was a lead player during troublesome rebuilding years.  He was always a solid contributor, but his production could never be enough for those Mets.  Then throw money into the equation, and what you have now is an ex-Mets player who was once widely loved by the fan base.

There's no doubt in my mind Daniel Murphy will receive a very warm, heartfelt, and extended, standing ovation from Mets fans upon his first trip to the plate, only this time as a member of the Washington Nationals.

After which, it's game on!

New Mets second baseman Neil Walker has done much to help fans at least move on from their attachment to Daniel Murphy.  In fact, Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera have done much to make Mets fans forget how defensively inept they were up the middle.  For the most part, the two have been smooth as silk.  Cabrera, specifically, has so far proved all the scouts wrong whom counted him out last year.

The Mets new problems reside at the hot corners.  David Wright is defective and Lucas Duda has been ineffective.  Watching Wright's throws to first base are becoming distressful, if not problematic. Meanwhile, the Big Lebowski's bat has been inconsequential as ever.  His hot streaks are as unpredictable as a mid-western twister.

Then, there's the Mets battery problems.  Catcher Travis d'Arnaud's propensity for injury is just as dismaying today, as it has ever been previously.  On the mound, the Dark Knight is still yet to find his mojo, while Steven Matz is apparently breaking down ... again (although no ligament damage has been found in his elbow).

Oh, and the Mets went 4-7 on their road trip, and are presently losers of 4 in a row.

In other words, just another day in the Citi.

Let the games begin!

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