2 Big Questions Each For The Mets And Yankees As The Stretch Run Commences- Bruce’s Thought Of The Day
Suffice to say neither the Mets or Yanks are as hot as the weather in New York as we get set to start the " 2nd half" of the baseball season. The Mets are looking for respectability. The Yankees seek another playoff birth. Both have 2 big questions to settle as the season picks up starting Friday. The Yanks begin again in Boston while the Mets host the Phillies.
Let's start with the Mets. While I have kidded on my show ( Game On With Bruce Jacobs, 4-7 pm on 1045 the team, espn radio) about staying in contention and making a run in the 2nd half, and holding off on making deals until the upcoming series with the Atlanta Braves finishes ( 4 games at the start of next week) and then taking a lay of the land, the truth is the Mets should seek a 500 record which will indicate progress for the team. 2 big questions in my view for the Mets.
Question 1 is what is Zach Wheeler? Is he the phenom many projected or just another pitcher with a great arm? Wheeler must be a phenom or the Mets plans for the near future take a huge hit. With a big ballpark, a spotty offense that has produced more lately, the Mets must get solid pitching. Wheeler pitched a fine ball game his last time out in San Francisco. he must build on that to give the organization and fans hope and not fear. Remember the Mets had the " staff of the 90's" with guys named Wilson, Pulsipher, and Isringhausen. Yeah that didn't go well so the fans fear of a repeat is fresh. If Wheeler is as good as projected then he and Matt Harvey can lead this team back to prominence. Baseball is a pitchers game again. The Mets have the arms and talent, now can they make it happen on the bump?
The bigger question if there is one is what is with Ike Davis and will he ever be a productive hitter in the big leagues? Many are saying time to dump him. I say not so fast. Power hitting 1st basemen don't grow on trees. The Mets need Davis to regain his 2nd half stroke from last season. However you can't ignore his pitiful struggles both the 1st half of last season and this season. Ike can't even get off the local to get onto the interstate from a production stand point. The Mets patience must be wearing thin. The Mets are 19th in runs scored, 28th in batting average, 25th in on base percentage, and 27th in slugging percentage. Another words Davis .165 batting average, 5 home runs, and a paltry 18 RBI is just not cutting it. It is sink or swim time for Davis!
Now to the Yankees: I give major props to GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi for keeping this aged, beaten up, flawed ball club in contention in a rugged AL East. 6 games back at the break is not insurmountable but they need 2 players to have big 2nd halves or the Yanks will be sitting out the playoffs for just the 2nd time in 19 years.
The Yanks offense is what it is. The magic pixy dust of Babe Ruth isn't coming walking through the door anytime soon. The return of steroid cheat Alex Rodriguez should be looked at from a negative view, not positive. He is an anchor not a buoy. I wouldn't take him back but that's just me and my anti roid views. I didn't pick the Yanks at the start so their struggles don't shock me. I would say they have a shot but 2 players MUST step it up big time or nothing happening!
CC Sabathia must be better then 9-8 with an ERA of 4.07. The big man may still be rounding into form from off season surgery, and no doubt almost 42,000 pitches in 11 years takes a toll, but even CC doesn't do excuses. He must be more consistent and in fact be dominant if the Yanks have a chance.
As for Andy Pettitte he must just be good. He hasn't been the last 5-7 starts. My gut tells me this is it for the crafty lefty. Not sure he will tolerate mediocre and no reason for the Yanks to pay big bucks for it. Father time waits for nobody, even the post seasons most accomplished pitcher. Pettitte doesn't have to be great. he has to be good, and good isn't continually falling behind in the 1st inning with an anemic offense to support him. 7-6 with a 4.39 ERA is not good.
Of course everything can change for both teams, including expectations and hopes if a deal or 3 are made. I think both teams will be active. The Mets probably will be sellers and the Yanks buyers at the deadline. See some things never change!