By Mike Steffanos
Yankees 2 - Mets 0
Orlando Hernandez gave the Mets all they could hope for last night and then some, surviving a one hour rain delay to pitch 7 very strong innings for the Mets in the subway series opener. It wasn't enough, however, as the Mets bats continued their descent in futility begun in the lost series in Boston. It's hard to underestimate how bad the offense was last night, looking more like the futile attack of the low periods last season than anything we've seen this year.
Certainly they missed Carlos Delgado, and even Xavier Nady, but that doesn't excuse what happened last night. They looked like a team that is limping into the All-Star break -- not a good idea, considering there is still over a week to go. Now I wonder who will step up and lift this squad.
They haven't played very well since returning from the road trip in the middle of the month. I think their big lead, the continued poor play of their division foes, and the non-stop hype surrounding them after the road trip has taken their toll. What we're witnessing right now is the worst stretch of baseball this season by the Mets. They weren't sharp at all in losing 4 of 7 on that homestand, and didn't play particularly well in Toronto in taking 2 of 3, they just were hot offensively. Now that the hot bats have cooled, the mistakes are starting to loom larger.
I'm no fan of these endless interleague games, but, at the risk of alienating some of you, one thing I'm grateful for now that we are not playing the Red Sox any more I don't have to listen to any more of that "gee, aren't the Red Sox and their fans wonderful" type of crap. You're so happy that the Red Sox fans embraced you in Boston -- keep in mind that it's not hard to embrace the fans of a team that is going down with almost no fight to your hometown nine. If the Mets are ever a real threat to the Sox, you will see a less cuddly side of them.
And for those of you that professed to be happy that the Mets dropped 3 games to the Yankees biggest foe, I can only say shame on you. When something bad happening to the Yankees trumps something bad happening to the team that you root for, it's time to step back and reassess yourself as a fan. One of the things that alienated me towards Red Sox fans in the aftermath of the 86 series was that they inevitably take more joy in something bad happening to a team they see as their enemy than something good happening to their own. It's sad to see some Mets fans stumbling down that same path. It's just petty.
Thoughts on the game
Not much to say about a game that the Mets, with the exception of Orlando Hernandez barely showed up for, so let's just concentrate on Hernandez. A few days ago I looked at Hernandez, Soler and Trachsel, and their performance over the last month. Let's update El Duque:
With 6 games to look at, Hernandez has been the most consistent of the "bottom three" in the rotation. Take away that one awful game in Toronto and he's been pretty good for the most part. The one thing that holds me back is that the games against Arizona and the Yankees have been extra incentive games, and I still need to see more consistency against teams for which he has no strong feelings. Still, he's gone deeper into games than the other 2, and walked fewer batters. We'll update the others as they pitch.