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Slumbering Offense, Snoozer of a Game

Mike SteffanosSaturday, April 22, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Padres 2 - Mets 1 (17)

Sorry for the lateness of this post. I was up until the bitter end last night, and then, sure enough, when it ended I had trouble falling asleep. So today I'm tired and disappointed. The Padres batters did their best not to take this game last night, but the slumping Mets offense did them one better at every turn.

Those of us that have been following this game for any length of time understand that a baseball team never looks worse than when it's not hitting. Everything seems flat and lifeless. Watching 17 innings of that last night was like enduring a long, slow root canal. The Mets have faced some pretty good pitchers over the last few games and made them look like great pitchers. That will happen when you face a guy that has pretty good stuff and put no pressure on him at all.

Some thoughts on the game

I guess we gave Brian Bannister too much credit this spring for pitching beyond his years. What he's proving to us right now is that he's a rookie that's a little overwhelmed by being in the big leagues. It goes to my point from earlier in the week that the questions at the bottom of the Mets rotation go deeper than just Victor Zambrano.

That certainly doesn't mean that I've given up on Bannister, but he's going to have to find his way back to challenging hitters and keeping his walks under one an inning. It was painful to watch last night, despite the mostly good results, and it won't go well if he pitches that way against good offensive teams. I doubt that I'm telling any Mets fan anything they don't already know here.

As for the offense, it's tempting to bash Endy Chavez and Jose Valentin, who have been the poster children for questioning the quality of this bench. No one expected Chavez to be a truly dynamic offensive player, but he needs to get on base sometimes. He's had 22 plate appearances, and has managed one walk, two singles and a double. That .372 OPS has hurt this team, but it's more than triple Valentin's .118 OPS. Odds are that you can walk up to the plate 17 times, close your eyes and swing and do better than the one single Valentin has amassed.

My purpose here isn't to take cheap shots at Valentin, who seems like a decent guy and a real pro. The problem is that he also looks done after an awful injury-plagued 2005 season and a bad spring. Sure, David Wright, Cliff Floyd and other regulars have contributed to this slump, but this bench was asked to pick the team up and contribute. Except for Thursday night's game, they proved unequal to the task.

Pedro takes the mound for the Mets tonight at 10:05 ET, opposed by Chris Young, who's been pitching well for the Padres.

Box Score

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