The team’s 2011 season is a mere 11 games old; however, it has already been an emotional roller coaster, teasing fans with glimpses of greatness and haunting them with peeks into the past.
The season started off on the wrong foot when the Marlins beat the Mets on Opening Day, essentially taking a pin and popping the tangible bubble of optimism and yearning for better days that ballooned over camp coming out of spring training.
While this was only one game, and arguably the least important game of the entire season, the loss deflated any semblance of hope the media was feeding to fans. Luckily, the Mets responded by winning their next two games and headed up to arch-rival Philadelphia with a series win and renewed sense of purpose.
As we know, the Phillies series did not go well. After Chris Young’s dominant Mets debut, the Mets went on to lose the next two games in embarrassing and disheartening fashion. These losses again planted the seed of doubt into the minds of Mets fans.
Losing the next series against Washington didn’t help matters, and the losses highlighted a major flaw in the team’s roster. The bullpen, what was once considered a dark horse candidate for a team’s strength, has imploded so far this season. Mets starters have averaged just over five innings per start and as such, the bullpen has been taxed.
The Mets pen has been overworked and has under-performed in the innings they have been used in, prompting General Manager Sandy Alderson to shake things up with hopes of new faces being able to stabilize the teetering group of hurlers.
Blaine Boyer, who pitched well over spring training and won a job coming out of camp, was designated for assignment for being essentially useless and ineffective in every outing he has pitched. To fill his spot on the roster, Alderson called former Met Jason Isringhausen.
Izzy has not been in a Mets uniform for years and the hope is that Isringhausen’s veteran leadership will be a positive in the clubhouse. In his Mets debut, Izzy was spotless and hopefully that was a sign of things to come.
Surprisingly, Alderson also chose to call up Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi. You might remember Igarashi from last season’s disastrous pen, where he was banished to AAA along with his overpriced contract. However, Iggy has pitched well so far in Buffalo and should not be on the roster for very long as the Mets will be searching for someone to send down come Sunday.
The Mets are currently in the midst of a series with the Colorado Rockies and if the Mets are unable to turn their season around quickly, the clouds could gather quickly over Citi Field.
Veteran players such as Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez and even Jose Reyes could become prime trade targets should the Mets be out of contention around the July 31 trade deadline. If the Mets are able to trade their overpriced veterans for a decent package of prospects and players, it should be taken very seriously. Just off the top of my head, Jose Reyes ending up in Beantown would make a lot of sense for both teams.
Maybe all this doom and gloom is a little premature as the season is still very young, but as Met fans, we are now very used to it and at this point almost expect the team to falter. However, what we need to remember is that this season was always seen as a stepping stone in between the dark past and our brighter Alderson-led future.