By Mike Steffanos
I was so frustrated with the way the Mets were playing when they fell behind 5-3 that I was motivated to do something that I never do -- I started writing the following piece about my frustration. David Wright's home run took away some of the frustration, obviously, but I felt that what I wrote was still valid. Am I being too demanding here, or are other Mets fans finding themselves somewhat dissatisfied lately despite the big lead?
Ever since the Mets returned home from their terrific road trip on June 16, something has been missing. The Mets have been able to turn it on for a game here or a game there, but I don't think their 11-13 record since that trip is indicative of how poorly they have played. No, they haven't been awful, and yes, they've had to overcome some poor pitching at times and some key injuries. I guess what bothers me is that in many of the losses (and even some of the wins) the Mets are being outworked by the other team, and seem to be taking some aspects of the game for granted.
I've been a Mets fan for over 35 years, and I've learned that you can't live and die with each game in a 162 game season. It's inevitable that your team, no matter how good they are, goes through stretches where they play fairly bad for a significant period of time. Physical errors, like the one Nady committed in right field today are part of the game and you have to accept them. Mental errors, like when Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez took for granted that the Marlins weren't going to try to aggressively take the extra base -- even though they have been doing that all series -- are much harder for me to take as a fan. Paul Lo Duca and Jose Reyes both made basic baserunning mistakes in the pivotal eighth inning that might have cost us a win if not for Wright's heroics.
Since the Mets have returned from that trip, they seem to lack a little of the hunger and competitiveness that characterized the team for much of the first half. Maybe that's an inevitable hangover of such a big lead. I'm not really sure why it would lower the team's baseball IQ, though. Look, maybe they come back from the break refocused and I can feel good about this team again. Right now, I'm a little aggravated. I'll be back later tonight with the game recap.