Who truly is to blame for what's going on with the Mets? In response to David and Jonathan's article written earlier today, I would like to add in my two cents.
I have to say, after watching today's game (against the Diamondbacks), I can't say that Willie isn't to blame. I don't think he deserves all the blame, but he definitely grabs some of it.
In today's case, Willie did control who he brought in from the bullpen, and when he made his slow visit to the mound instead of Peterson, he left in Duaner Sanchez, pitching for the second day in a row (and without his best stuff). It could be evidence that Willie is losing control, as it looked to me like Sanchez told him that he was staying in, regardless of what Willie wanted to do. As Met fans, we all know that when Willie slowly strolls to the mound, it means that he is bringing in someone else (we should know - we see it about 4 times a game). Maybe the fans are right. In all honestly, I still put more blame on the players and definitely Peterson, like Jonathan and David said, who fixes absolutely nothing when it comes to our pitchers. He definitely was hyped because of his 3 star pitchers back in Oakland, who had natural talent that was learned way before Peterson became their pitching coach. [Editor's Note: Peterson actually coached Zito when he was younger, privately, paid for by Zito's dad, in addition to becoming his pitching coach with the A's when he came up in the bigs. Some have said he'd be best-served working with Peterson again - as long as he doesn't do it with the Mets! - David]
Today, Willie was partially to blame. No, it wasn't his fault they couldn't score more or that Pelfrey couldn't locate any of his off-speed stuff, or that Sanchez was terrible out of the bullpen for the first time this season, but maybe Willie should realize that when you go to your bullpen, you don't need to use each and every pitcher day in and day out (and boy does it seem that way!) Sosa, Heilman, and Schoeneweis all used to be starters at one point in their careers. They can go more than one inning. Maybe this would be a smarter strategy than having all three pitching each day. I mean, I know how terrible Heilman and Sosa have been, but instead of using both and doubling your chances of an awful outing, stick to one for two innings, work the other one less, and maybe you would see his ERA fall a bit (which isn't that hard, considering its astronomical). In all honesty, I don't think this would work but maybe if he switches it up, and tests some things out, because he might as well, his bullpen handling just doesn't seem to be working.
Willie will get the blame, and maybe he should, and maybe not. But either way, a new manager still would not fix this team, at least not right away. GM Omar Minaya brought in the best pitcher in the game (Johan Santana) and expected that to change everything. It remains an amazing deal and I still thank God daily that it got done, but that isn't going to change the other 24 men on the roster. Santana will stop a losing streak and maybe start a winning streak, but the 125-130 games he isn't pitching, how can you help but think we're going to be in trouble? Minaya brought in three relievers, all of whose ERA's were high. He expected this to help us out. He expected quantity over quality to get the job done, but right now, except for Sanchez, we are still using the in-house crew from last year, who also didn't get the job done.
Yeah, I keep telling myself, even though we are only 30 games into the year, there's probably 3 different Mets teams we will need to see before the season ends, but so far they don't look any different than last years' Mets - in fact, so far, they look worse.
To blame: at this point, everyone but Santana, Wright, and Church. (I guess 3 out of 25 ain't bad - or maybe it is). At least this year, we won't have to blow a 7 game lead (might I add the Phillies blew a 6.5 game lead with 12 games left in 1964, I believe, which I still believe was much worse then our blown lead). I hate the Phillies (I think that is going to be my catch phrase for every end to my posts - tell me what you think!)