Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Once Again, Nice and Slow ...

Playoff teams win games like these. I've been taking shots here for the last 48 hours by making one simple declaration - the New York Mets do not deserve to make the playoffs this season. After another embarrassing loss tonight and after having lost 7 of their last 11 games, who could possibly argue otherwise?

Baseball Prospectus has a sortable Run Expectancy Matrix on their site, which highlights just how profoundly the Mets failed tonight once Oliver Perez left the game in the fifth inning. The Mets got the leadoff runner on base on five straight occasions, between the fifth and the ninth innings. The REM shows that the average team in 2008 can expect to score 6.83 runs in those situations. The Mets scored one run. Tell me again why this team deserves to be in the postseason?

As for Ollie, he was just awful. I haven't even addressed the looming specter of Omar Minaya's undeserved four-year extension yet, but if it's true and the Mets are stuck with Minaya until 2012, my first request is that he lets Perez walk in the off-season. No one was asking for a repeat of Johan Santana's wonderful performance last night, but I don't think a quality start is too much to ask from a guy who thinks he deserves a multi-year deal averaging at least $10 million a season.

Four games to go and the Mets are still trailing the Phillies by 1.5 games. The Brewers have pulled even in the race for the Loser's Prize. What fresh horrors await Met fans this weekend? I don't even want to think about it.


Brian said...

Reason says that if Murphy's screamer is one foot to the left, we're gloating at Jack.

Jack fought reason and Jack won.

tim said...

A playoff team did win that game last night, it just happened to be the Cubs.

Jack Flynn said...

If reason bended to my will, the world would be a very different place.

Murphy's screamer didn't go one foot to the left though, did it? Wright didn't hit the game-winning single with Murphy on third, did he? The Mets didn't get the one stinking run they needed to win this game, did they? We can play out all the scenarios that could've affected the outcome of this game in the Mets' favor, and in the end all that matters is that the Mets didn't execute even one time when they needed to. That's the difference between playoff teams and also-rans.

I don't want to be right about this. I would much rather suffer taunts from the peanut gallery about counting the Mets out before it was over. I will take no pleasure in being right on Monday morning either. But these guys are chokers of the first order, and they're doing it for the second straight season.

tim said...

It's the best team in the National League sticking our faces in the dirt. Plain and simple. Pinella didn't have to trot out Zambrano last night, but he did, same with Lee, Ramirez and Soriano. They came here to win these games not play out the string and rest guys. If you want to say the Cubs are better than us then do that. If you think the Phillies or Brewers will fair out any better than us against the Cubs I believe you'd be mistaken there.

Jack Flynn said...

I agree that the Cubs are the best team in the NL and have been better than the Mets since the four-game sweep back in April or May. I also agree that the Brewers (especially if Sheets is out) will be no match for Chicago. The Phillies could put up a better fight, but I still think Chicago will represent the NL in the World Series.

Brian said...

I'm sticking to my guns.

What you are saying is that one degree of Daniel Murphy line drive is what differentiates a "deserving" team from a "non-deserving" team.

The Mets have strengths and weaknesses, like almost any other club. They play ballgames season after season, and the teams that play best--within certain divisional parameters--make it to the postseason. Once there, the team that plays best wins the World Series.

Desert has nothing to do with it. "Character" has precious little to do with it. (My what courageous, stand-up guys those steroid-addled 2000 Yankees were!) It is pure performance and luck. If the Mets do better than the Brewers from here on out, they will have played well enough to make it to the playoffs. Dat's the rules; that's how "desert" is defined.

Of course, you are free to come up with any definition you'd like for who you think "deserves" to make the postseason. Fernando Tatis had the season of his life to build his church. I'd say that by itself means the Mets deserve it, even if David Wright strikes out with a man on 3rd >2 out 200 times. The Nationals, with a guy like Dukes, deserve to lose 140 games, wouldn't you say?

James Allen said...

OK, I'm back from my 16 Hour quarantine in a rubber room. (I drank heavily during the game if you couldn't notice.)

There's not much else to say at this point other than to echo a point that's been made: you cannot assign some sort of moral superiority to teams that win baseball games. Teams win more games because they execute in more situations than the other team. And they have more luck.

The Mets, if they fail to make the playoffs, will not be there because they executed less and had some bad luck. Not because the players lack "character" and the Phils players are more "clutch."

go Mets. woo.

Jack Flynn said...

Brian: Murphy's line drive was only one point in that game. It's not fair to say that just one point in any game is the difference between winning and losing; the variables change immensely with every pitch and every play.

Also, I am not equating "deserving" with "character" or "moral superiority/inferiority." Personally, I don't give a damn about "character" or "chemistry" in the traditional sense. There is an amazing correlation between games won and character/chemistry - because winning makes everything better.

When I say the Mets are not deserving, I simply mean they are not a good enough baseball team to deserve a playoff spot. I define "deserve" as a legitimately good baseball team that is average or above in all aspects of the game. I totally agree that "deserve" has nothing to do with it though - the four teams who earn playoff berths do so by a combination of overall record and geographic grouping.

James: I wish I had done a live blog last night just for you! Your last paragraph is a perfect summation of the situation. The Mets, as a team, do not play as baseball well enough to deserve a playoff berth - it doesn't mean they may not still get one. If they do, it will have nothing to do with intangibles and everything to do with their ability to execute better than the Phillies or the Brewers.

I still hate the Wild Card. Back to the two-division set-up!!

James Allen said...

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Micah Hoffpauir. (Just try and say his name.) A 28 year old career minor-leaguer that tonight has hit his first and second major league home runs (the second one is still going.)

I can't even get mad anymore.

This is surreal, absolutely, positively surreal; Rod Serling should come back from the dead, take down a center field number, and then inform us we're not really on earth, we're on a giant alien spaceship that is powered by our collective frustration.

"If the rain comes they run and hide their heads.
They might as well be dead.
If the rain comes, if the rain comes..."

tim said...

Don't be a faux-purist. Without the Wild Card names like names like Benny Agbayani and Todd Pratt are no more important than Steve Henderson and Alex Trevino.

James Allen said...

Wow. Another wild and wacky one, and the Mets are on the long end for a change. And what's more, I stayed sober this evening!

Live to suffer another day...

When the sun shines
they slip into the shade
and sip their lemonade
When the sun shines
When the sun shines

Rain- I don't mind
Shine- the weather's fine

tim said...

Ramon Martinez!? Robinson Cancel!?

Mets Magic, one last ride for good ol' Shea.

Brian said...

This is the good part about being a sports fan.

Yesterday was the bad part.

Win some, lose some. That's the point, I guess.