The first half of the 2012 season couldn’t have gone any better for the New York Mets. The team of unknown young ballplayers surpassed all expectation and finished the first half six games over .500, which was a whole lot better than a team which was expected to lose 100 games by the end of the season.
However, all of the positive momentum from the first half has been undone by some very poor play by the Mets to open up the second half. With two extremely important series against the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals, it was crucial for the team to win games to stay in the playoff race. Unfortunately, things have gone south in a hurry as the Mets have lost six in a row and have fallen eight games behind the Nationals and 3.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves.
After being swept in Atlanta, the Mets are now in danger of having the same happen to them in Washington. The team is in a complete free fall and they are fading fast as the playoff race heats up. The atrocious bullpen has coughed up many games this season, but none bigger than the one two days ago against the Nationals where they blew a save in the 9th and 10th innings. There is no one in the entire bullpen who can be called on to hold a small lead late.
Aside from the awful bullpen. another reason for the Mets struggles of late is the inconsistent starting pitching, which is coming back down to earth after an amazing first half of the season. R.A. Dickey has finished with no decisions in three of his last four starts while allowing five runs each of those starts. Ace Johan Santana has also struggled 25 earned runs in 7 games since his no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals. Injury has gotten to Dillon Gee and now the Mets will have to find a capable replacement for the underrated Gee.
If the Mets continue to have poor starting pitching, they will have no chance at making the playoffs. And even with good starting pitch, they will go nowhere with a leaky bullpen that blows games late. This is the Mets first real test of the season. It is now when they will either pack it in and wait for the off season, or turn it around and compete for a playoff spot. While there is still plenty of baseball left but New York cannot afford to fall any further behind. Terry Collins needs to turn it around now and it starts with today’s series finale against Gio Gonzalez and the Wsahington Nationals.