“I told the players, ‘last year we lost David wright, and he’s out again this year. We lost [Cabrera], we lost [Walker], we lost Lucas Duda, we lost [Cespedes], we lost Harvey, we lost Jacob deGrom, we lost Steven Matz. We still made it through. We can do it again, but it’s gotta start right now. Okay, the weather’s going to start changing. You can no longer use that as an excuse. Not that we have, but that can no longer be the excuse. It’s now time to go out and grind as we did last year. It’s still April, I understand that also, but we can no longer sit back and say, ‘Hey, look, you know, it’s ugly weather, we’ve got some guys hurt.’ No one cares.” – Terry Collins, Mets Manager.
Joshua Vitale of Rising Apple, the FanSided Mets Blog, put out a piece yesterday with one of the hottest takes this year. “Mets: Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson Must Go.” The article starts off with “Sound the alarm Mets, fans because it’s officially time for us to all start panicking.”
Josh. No. It’s not time to start panicking. It’s time to get to work. If you saw that postgame press conference with Terry Collins after yesterday’s loss to the Braves, you’d see that Terry is not taking this losing streak lightly. In fact, Terry used the moment to do something he rarely does; he called out his team.
“It’s now time to go out and grind as we did last year. It’s still April, I understand that also, but we can no longer sit back and say, ‘Hey, look, you know, it’s ugly weather, we’ve got some guys hurt.’ No one cares.’ The Braves don’t care, the Nationals don’t care, you guys don’t care. The only thing that matters are the guys in that room. That’s the product. They’ve got to care, they’ve got to go out and give us some energy and get this thing going and I truly believe we can do it. “
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Terry Collins we’ve been waiting for. This is the Terry Collins that we’ve wanted all along, this is “Wake Up Collins.”
He’s right. The excuses for the Mets have ranged from too many injuries, it’s been so cold, so many lineups changes, the bullpen is overworked, etc. However, at the end of the day, the team has just flat out been unproductive both in the field and at the plate. José Reyes was quoted saying, “We feel that [we’re lacking energy] when we go out there, so it’s hard to win a ballgame like that. IF you fall down 1-0, 2-0, we feel like we already lost. As a baseball player when you have that attitude that’s bad. We have to change that.”
First off, let’s address something in that quote. That’s alarming to hear a baseball player say that team feels a game is over once they’re down by one of two runs. THAT’S INSANE. And to have that mindset permeate the clubhouse is a bigger issue. This is a team that’s giving up early, especially considering the Mets pitching woes early in games.
As strong as the Mets pitching staff looked coming into the season, they’ve struggled mightily in the first innings. The Mets starters have a combined ERA of 7.71 in the first inning, giving up 21 runs in their first 21 games. In innings 1-3, the Mets have given up 58 runs, 34 of which were earned. Those 58 runs represent 41% of the total runs scored by opposing teams so far this season.
So if we’re going to take José’s word as Gospel, then that means the Mets are giving up on almost half of their games before the 4th inning. That’s not good at all. Even worse is the fact that the Mets haven’t held a lead in over a week.
April 20 – fell behind, never led, lost
April 21 – fell behind, never led, lost
April 22 – fell behind, never led, lost
April 23 – fell behind, never led, lost
April 24 – rainout
April 25 – rainout
April 26 – fell behind, never led, lost
April 27 – fell behind, never led, lost
What’s even worse is that the Mets are 4-3 when scoring first, but 4-10 when scoring while behind. SO in 62% of their games, the Mets have played from behind, and if we’re still taking José’s word as Gospel the Mets are giving up on those games. 62% of them. That’s not good. For a second, I’d like to live with the idea that José is wrong. Who is to blame for this downturn in the Mets season? While I believe that sharing is caring, I have to put the majority of the blame on the starting pitchers.
You cannot be giving up that many runs and that many hits in the first 25 pitches thrown. Let’s break some numbers down really quickly. Only 14 times has a relief pitcher gone more than 25 pitches in an appearance, but just for the sake of science, here’s a list of how many runs pitchers have given up in their first 25 pitches in an outing.
TOTAL: 30 runs
The Mets Starting Rotation has given up 23 runs on their first 25 pitches so far this season. Now, looking at their record when playing from behind, this information appears troubling. However, when you combine it with the idea that these pitchers are racking up their pitch counts, you begin to run out of room for error. The Mets, who finished with the fewest walks allowed, find themselves at the allowing the 11th most walks. The Mets have been averaging 3.67 walks per game, which seems staggeringly high compared to their 2016 ration of 2.71 walks a game.
The Mets are a mess right now, and they’re going into a very difficult weekend series with the powerhouse Nationals, who currently sit atop the NL East at 16-6. The Mets will send deGrom to the mound Friday and Wheeler on Saturday, with Sunday up for grabs. To say that this series has no importance is foolish and shortsighted, but to say the season rides on it is equally moronic, but the Mets do need to show some fight and some grit.
If the Mets are going to keep the losing streak going, I’m going to need them to lose some hard fought battles, not some 6-0 games they lose in the first inning. If I’m going to watch this team go down, I want to see this team go down fighting. They’re better than that, and we all deserve better than that. This isn’t the end of the world, but we need to stop the bleeding soon.
This team needs to wake up before it’s August and they’re still 7.5 games back and in last place. So let’s look on the bright side, once you’ve hit the bottom, the only way you can go is up. It’s not time to panic, it’s time to suit up, show up, put up some crooked numbers and get back into this thing. It’s April, so we’ve gotta wake up and start playing. Will it be hard without Cespedes, Duda, Syndergaard, Matz and whoever else gets injured this weekend? Sure, but as Terry Collins put it, “We’ve done it before, and I think we can do it again.”
But to pin this on Terry and Sandy is not just insanely shortsighted it’s flat out incorrect. If you had Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey and Wheeler in your rotation, you wouldn’t sit them right? No. You’d tell them to be sharper in the first and plow through the rest. The team is constructed to win, it’s the players who have to rise to the occasion.