Friday, April 15, 2011

Headed to Atlanta, needing an exorcism

Remember Jerry Manuel? He was too easy-going. Too lax. The Mets were weak in the fundamentals. They weren't playing the game the right way.

Enter Terry Collins. Stickler for details. Blowing a whistle to order players from one station to the next in Port St. Lucie. Old school baseball guy. He had the Mets drilling like they oughta be in spring training. The end result? More boneheaded plays and mistakes that have cost the Mets dearly in these first 13 games.

So what does it prove, other than anything is possible given a small enough sample size? To me it shows that as usual, the effect of a manager pales in comparison to how players execute on the field. If Mets pitchers don't screw up throws to home plate, they win a game. If Brad Emaus doesn't botch a sure double-play grounder in game two yesterday, then only one run scores instead of six, and what do you know, that five runs is the difference.

And on and on. Whether it's in the field, at the plate with runners in scoring position (Lord, how we could have used a big hit from Wright in the bottom of the ninth in game one Thursday. Aaaaaughh!), or on the mound, the Mets are right now just not executing. And the mistakes are killing them.

Just 13 games in, we're not panicking. But you're hearing that perhaps the team is pressing. Collins said so himself. Bob Ojeda says the team looks tight. But again, small sample size. Is R.A. Dickey going to be this wild all season? Are these mistakes and decisions going to continue at this rate for five more months? I doubt it.

But when you consider that no one had any expectations of success for the Mets, there is an awful lot of pressure on this team, mostly from the media. And you wonder if the players, after hearing ad nauseum how the lawsuit will absolutely affect them, and how the team needs to get off to a strong start, or how the Mets will trade Jose Reyes at midseason, really are pressing. You hope they can ignore all that and focus on the task at hand, but they read the papers and the reporters are there every day reminding them.

Can they snap out of it? Sure, although the house of horrors that is The Ted doesn't bode well. Then again, what better place for an exorcism?

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