In this, my 40th year following the Mets, I have seen a team that reminds me a lot of that first team I ardently watched in 1975: great pitching, abysmal hitting, though the ’75 crew at least had Dave Kingman slugging home runs and Yogi Berra managing. Never a huge fan of Yogi, but even my fourth grade self would concur that he had a lot less reason to be fired than Terry Collins. I’ll save my summation of Collins for the end. But while it’s hanging there let me say this: If you are going to play all these 2-1 and 1-0 games, you need a manager who can occasionally steal such games by making good decisions. Yanking Jacob deGrom at 99 pitches after retiring 15 in a row and then letting Noah Syndergaard throw 116 pitches in the next game makes absolutely no sense. So much for not saying much here about T.C.
The Mets enter the All-Star break on a 7-2 surge, but they entered the break with an 8-2 push last year and it did not end in glory. If they score four runs they win. And they average 3.48 per game, second worst in baseball, and only two runs behind the Phillies for that distinction. Imagine if the Mets played in the DH league? They’d have no offense since their pitchers are some of their most consistent batters. They must find more hitters. And they must find who they can afford to get rid of. Squandering this pitching would be worse than squandering being 10 games over .500 just 16 games into the year, as this team already did. They must play better on the road. They ended the first half one game out of the second wild card. One game behind the Cubs, a team they inexplicably went 0-7 against. They are just 8-15 vs. the Central, but are tied with Washington for most wins in the NL East (23-15) and trail the Nationals by two games. Enough! To the grading.
To be included, players must accrue 50 at bats or 15 innings pitched. This prevents Stephen Matz, Logan Verrett, Bobby Parnell, Jack Leatherstich, Rafael Montero, Buddy Carlyle, Jerry Blevins, Akeel Morris, Jenrry Mejia, Johnny Monell, and Danny Muno from getting grades. Hopefully all the pitchers will qualify for a writeup at year’s end. And the hitters get replaced by people who can hit. David Wright deserves a writeup because the end may be near. But right now the only end is the first half.
First-half 2014 Report Card
Jacob deGrom A Not the best stuff on staff, but deGrom performs, perseveres, and adjusts. Good job, All-Star.
Jeurys Familia A Should be All-Star and first half MVP. Stepped up for Mejia. He’s reason they have winning record.
Noah Syndergaard A- As good as advertised. If only Mets could score for him or bat him cleanup. Best. Shrug. Ever.
Matt Harvey B+ Harvey could learn a lot from kids. Like how to shut up and pitch. Harvey has the mojo, though.
Bartolo Colon B+ Said it last year, I’ll say it again: Bartolo is entertaining and effective. Good role model, batting star.
Jonathon Niese B I love how Matz has higher WAR in just 2 starts than Niese in a whole season. Jonny Trade Bait.
Sean Gilmartin B Has great numbers, but I don’t trust him. Maybe I’ve only seen his bad games. Good Rule V guy.
Wilmer Flores B An offensive guy on the list. Finally. But if Wilmer he does not play shortstop, he is not as valuable.
Daniel Murphy B- I don’t believe Murph will be here after 2015, but with Wright, who knows? They need any hitter.
Travis d’Arnaud C+ He is getting a reputation as constantly hurt player. Mets need him to catch or they’ll go nowhere.
Curtis Granderson C+ A .119 average vs. LHP; .163 BA in July. Walks and hits solo HRs. Can’t believe 2 1/2 more years.
Eric Goeddell C+ Thought former UCLA stud was out of the system and here he is excelling at Citi, when not hurt.
Lucas Duda C Stop swinging at pitches in the dirt! Let them walk you. Not your fault Cuddyer bats behind you.
Michael Cuddyer C Must be good clubhouse because he’s bad middle of order. Poor use of limited resources, Sandy.
Juan Lagares C Has taken a step back on defense and offense. Hope it’s just the elbow; hope it will one day heal.
Kevin Plawicki C I like a kid who is from Purdue, is a hard worker, and plays through vertigo. But he needs to hit.
Carlos Torres C Lucky his arm ddn’t fall off in 2014 from TC abuse. Manager runs CT out there despite results.
Alex Torres C Like Carlos, you don’t know which Torres will come out of pen. Hard to trust, but good when on.
Ruben Tejada C- If Tejada is your regular SS, you are not playoff team. Even front office hates him, yet he stays.
Dilson Herrera D+ Got in a slump, but gets on base and can play defense. Problems would be solved if he played SS.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis D+ A year ago he had B- at ASG. I thought he should play LF. This year he had F till 3 HR Sunday.
Darrel Ceciliani D+ Not a fan. It’s nice to have speed, but I’d rather have Nieuwy, with the K’s and sudden power.
Anthony Recker D Another guy stuck in Vegas. Can’t hit, but which Met can? Brings chance of power every 4 days.
Hansel Robles D You know Mets are getting better when their bad relievers look like him. Familia started slow, too.
John Mayberry D- Won a game with extra-inning hit and his dad was a KC stud. Other than that he’s been worthless.
Eric Campbell D- Can you believe EC was hitting .340 at 2014 ASG? Looked great during April run, abysmal since.
Dillon Gee F I’ve always liked Gee, but on a team with these young studs, Mets can’t carry his 5.90 ERA.
David Wright Inc Will he ever play again/be any good again? That may sound alarmist some day, but not now.
Terry Collins C- Players like him, but he’s outlived his usefulness here. It is time to win and he’s not the man.
Sandy Alderson C+ Gets an A+ for the pitching and an F for the offense. As if moving in the fences would solve it.