We’re less than 24 hours away from the start of the 2017 baseball season… for some reason, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays get the honor of playing the very first game at 1:10 p.m. The marquee match-up of the day pits the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs against their St. Louis rivals at 8:35 p.m. (I doubt I will manage to stay up to watch the end of it.)
The game I’ve been looking forward to since Madison Bumgarner shut out the Mets last October 5th will happen on Monday as the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets kick off their 2017 campaigns. The Braves will be better as they begin their first year in a new stadium (let’s hope they’re still using it by the time the local taxpayers finish footing the bill.)
If my internet connection had been functioning yesterday, I would have written about the Mets’ magical comeback and Angel Pagan‘s walk-off home run from the night before. I’ve already given up on the 2011 season, but a win like that followed by a few more would have made me reconsider.
There’s no shame in giving up a first inning home run to Albert Pujols, but walking the opposing pitcher is something else. Add in a first baseman who throws the ball into the runner on a double play attempt and a center fielder who tries to throw the ball to the opposing team’s first base coach, and you get a recipe for disaster.
After 98 games, the Mets are 49-49. They trail Atlanta by 8.5 games in the wild card race again. To put that in perspective, if the Braves play .500 baseball from here out, the Mets will need to go 41-23 down the stretch to finish ahead of them. Even if they do, there are currently three other teams in front of the Mets and two more that trail them by just one game. No matter how much you want to believe, there’s no escaping the math.
Carlos Beltran has played his last game at Citi Field as a Met. Hopefully David Wright and Jose Reyes can keep the team from falling apart when he is traded sometime in the next ten days. And hopefully the Dominic Brown rumors had some merit,even though most of the media thought that the Mets were reaching.
One last Phillies/Mets note to start the day – Aaron Heilman, recently released by the Arizona Diamondbacks, has signed a minor league deal with Philadelphia. It will be interesting if he gets a shot to pitch against the Mets wearing a Phillies uniform.
It’s time for the media to stop talking about a potential trade of Carlos Beltran as if it would signal waving a white flag on the season. Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, the Mets’ bullpen & lineup did a pretty good job of it on their own this weekend.
Jose Reyes and David Wright could both be back in the Mets’ lineup by the weekend, but the cavalry is arriving too late to really help.
With his team 8.5 games back in the wild card race two weeks before the trade deadline, it would be irresponsible of Sandy Alderson to hang on to Beltran when he doesn’t have a role in the Mets’ future beyond this year. It would be equally irresponsible for him to not listen to offers on players like Jason Isringhausen, Tim Byrdak, Chris Capuano, Ronny Paulino or anyone else who might bring back a prospect.