May 13, 2008

Just a Thought on Team Consistency...

By Jonathan Elfenbein

Most of the time when you read an article on the Mets or listen to the so- called experts, you always hear that the Mets are inconsistent. I’m here to tell you that this is not true. They are extremely consistent. Consistently average. For the past calendar year they are just about a 500 team. What’s hard to figure out?

The problem with this team is not that they aren’t playing up to expectations, but the fact that we expect too much from them. This is not the 1986 or the 2006 team, for that matter, but an average (or slightly above average) team that will stay close to contention due to the fact the whole division is average.

People have to get used to the fact that Jose Reyes is not the best SS in the game or in the league. Heck he is the 3rd best SS in our own division!! Hanley Ramirez is hitting 331 compared to Reyes 266, and Jimmy Rollins has been hurt, but DID win the MVP in the NL last season. When either Rollins or Ramirez are hot, they can carry a team, but for the past year Reyes has been merely average for the merely average Mets.

Could it be that we do have a strong thoroughbred but not the right jockey? Actually, Willie Randolph is perfect for Mets fans. He expects things to just get better by just hoping for it. His calm, average demeanor reflects in his team and its record.

Met fans feel that Omar Minaya has to make a decision. Is it the team that he built that is not a champion or does he not have the right leader for a champion caliber team? But maybe it’s our fault for expecting too much of him as well, too soon.

When a couple breaks up one person usually says it’s not you, it’s me. Maybe it’s not the team - maybe it's us...maybe it's our unreal expectations. Here's a few interesting stats: last season, at the same point and time in the season, the Mets were 17-1 in games they were leading after the 7th inning, and 3-11 when trailing after 7; this season, they are 17-0 when leading after the 7th inning, and 1-16 when trailing after the 7th. Average execution two seasons in a row- is there no fire late in the game, when we are down and don't come back? Two seasons in a row would suggest this, without needing a larger "sample size" to draw from...

PS- I have to question the wisdom of this organization if they follow through and send Joe Smith down and keep Sosa. Why get rid of your second-best reliever to keep someone you've committed two million to (Sosa) but who can't get anyone out, either in short relief or long relief?

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