Thursday, July 4, 2013
Five things we've learned through 81 games
By Kieran Darcy
NEW YORK -- The Mets have finally reached the halfway mark of the season, the final team in the National League to do so.
The Amazin's are a not very amazing 35-46, after a 5-3 loss to the Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
Seems like a good time to take a look back at the past three months. Here are five things we've learned since April 1:
1. Matt Harvey is the real deal. Harvey gave us a glimpse of a bright future at the end of 2012, coming up from Triple-A in late July and going 3-5 -- with a 2.73 ERA -- in 10 starts. It only took half of 2013 for him to prove he's one of the brightest young stars in the game.
Yes, he suffered his second loss of the season Wednesday, giving up a season-high five runs in six-plus innings. But he's still 7-2 with a 2.27 ERA, and the National League leader in strikeouts (141).
2. Ike Davis isn't a given. On Opening Day against the Padres, the Mets won 11-2, but Davis went 0-for-5 with four Ks. Little did we know that was a sign of things to come. Davis got off to a miserable start for the second straight year, hitting .161 in 55 games, and the Mets finally decided to ship him down to Triple-A in early June.
Davis should be back before too long. He's putting up pretty good numbers in Las Vegas, including hitting his seventh home run Wednesday. That said, his replacement, Josh Satin, is batting .378 in the bigs, hit his first major league home run Wednesday, and is riding a nine-game hitting streak.
The question is, will Davis perform when he returns to New York? The Mets thought they had a cornerstone piece in Davis. That's not a given anymore.
3. Neither is Ruben Tejada. Tejada has been on the disabled list since late May with a quadriceps strain. But he was having a terrible season before that, hitting .209 with no homers, 10 RBIs and eight errors in 48 starts at shortstop. He was on the verge of being demoted along with Davis before he got hurt.
Tejada hit .284 in 96 games in 2011, and .289 in 114 games in 2012, and is only 23 years old. Still, general manager Sandy Alderson said in a recent radio interview that he hadn't considered Tejada a definite part of the Mets' future, even before his poor start in 2013.
Tejada is also currently at Triple-A. But manager Terry Collins says he will have to earn his job back. In Tejada's absence, Omar Quintanilla has played well, batting .257 with two homers and 12 RBIs. Quintanilla had a tough night at the plate Wednesday, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. But he did make two outstanding plays in the field.
4. Bobby Parnell can close. With Frank Francisco injured, Collins declared Parnell his closer before the season began. And Parnell has proven capable of doing the job.
In 37 appearances, the 28-year-old is 5-4 with a 2.63 ERA and 14 saves. In 37 2/3 innings, he he 31 strikeouts and just eight walks. Parnell has blown three saves, but he has been very good for the most part.
5. The Mets are what we thought they were. They're in fourth place, 12 1/2 games out of first, on pace to finish 70-92. That's about what most people expected this season.
The Mets look a little different than they did back in April. In fact, five of the nine members of the Opening Day lineup were not in the lineup for Game 81. Collin Cowgill, a hero on Opening Day with a grand slam, has been traded to the Angels. Davis and Tejada are in the Pacific Coast League. And Lucas Duda and Jonathon Niese are on the disabled list.
But the record isn't surprising. And it's the team's worst mark at the midway point since 2003, when they also were 35-46.
The 2013 Mets are what we thought they were. A non-contending baseball team, with a very uncertain future.