Coutinho: Can The Mets Turn It Around?

By Rich Coutinho
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We were told the Mets were a team that had question marks. When they broke camp in late March, we were promised fundamentally sound baseball which would translate into winning baseball.

Well, 13 games into the season, we have seen a team that has failed to hit in the clutch, throws the baseball around like a hot potato, and has a pitching staff that refuses to throw strikes.

Not exactly a script for success.

So, the Mets head to Atlanta to try and right the ship in a place that has always been their own personal House Of Horrors over the years. Add in the fact they are handing the ball to D.J. Carrasco to open the series — and they are playing a Braves team many experts feel might be one of the top 3 teams in the league — and you can readily understand why the Met fans are scratching their heads.

Terry Collins is adamant that the team will rebound from this homestand where they dropped 6 of 7 games. He contends that a play here or there could have changed the outcome of many of these games. On that point, I agree with the manager but I also see some real danger signs. The lack of defense at second base will eventually kill this team. The Mets have too many pitchers who induce contact and rely on double plays to get them out of jams. And both Daniel Murphy and Brad Emaus have proven they are unsteady at best to handle the job.

So, in my opinion, the first thing I would do is summon Ruben Tejada from the minors to man the position. His glove is so superior to the present second base duo, it will save runs — especially the way the current pitching staff is constructed. I know they want him to play shortstop so he can replace you-know-who in 2012, but Tejada is actually a better second baseman than he is a shortstop and is the best option at second base in the entire organization.

Second point, too many games have been lost late and I think Bobby Parnell needs to be sent down to the minors to work on his pitches. I would add Pat Misch as another lefty in the pen so Collins has more than one southpaw at his disposal. Misch would also serve as the long man, freeing up both Pedro Beato and Carassco to share the 7th inning while handing the 8th inning over to Jason Isringhausen.

Last but certainly not least, Collins cannot be the only voice of leadership in that room simply because the Mets have more younger players in key positions than they have had in quite some time. Players like David Wright, Carlos Beltran, and Jose Reyes need to get them through this tough stretch. Honestly, I have seen some of that inside the clubhouse from both Beltran and Reyes and pitchers like R.A. Dickey and Jason Isringhausen.

Nobody thought the Mets would do anything this year outside the organization, and in the critics’ eyes, the first 13 games have validated that viewpoint. The veterans need to use this as motivation so the younger players do not lose hope. They also all need to play better and make the simple plays that end rallies for the opposition. They have to hit in the clutch so they can extend innings when at the plate.

The Mets play 3 games in Atlanta followed by a 6-game homestand against the Astros and Diamondbacks. At 4-9 they need to be closer to .500 when they complete this 9-game stretch.  To do that, they must start winning series, and Atlanta would be a great place to start. If for no other reason than the symbolism of what a torture chamber Turner Field has been for this organization.

If they don’t turn this around, the Mets could be headed for a long summer complete with empty seats, salary dumps and a dwindling fan base. My sense is they will respond, this team is better than they have shown. But it does not really matter what I think–it matters what they think.

The good news is there are lots of games yet to play. The trick is to win some games now so those contests in the summer will actually mean something.

Will we see the Mets string together some wins? Weigh in with Coutinho below…

  • Rich from Lake Como

    As long as the Wilpon/Madoff mess is still around, this franchise will be in limbo. That could be a year or 3 years. It’s not fair to the fans of New York. There will be no hope for any kind of progress on the field. Let’s face it, with this start, now we’re all waiting for the fire sale. Let’s also get down to brass tacks here… Sandy Alderson was brought in to run the Mets as an 80 to 100 million dollar payroll club. That makes both the Wilpons and Bud Selig happy. That’s not fair, either.

  • BlueChill1123

    No one thought the team was going to compete this year. So I don’t know where this writer gets the idea that the fan base is confused, they realize that this year is a wash year. Rome was built in a day as they say.

    • lawmsh

      Where’s Marv Thronberry when we need him

  • dico j.

    You Met fans have nothing to complain about. Think about the Mets’ radio and TV guys. They have another 5 and 1/2 months to go. That’s called, going above and beyond the call of duty.

  • William

    Every time Collins speaks he sounds like he’s interviewing for the manager’s job.
    “We’re going to be a better team” “We’re going to start winning soon” ‘Were going to play better defense” “Were going to play the right way” He says the same thing after every game.

    Does he know that he’s already the manager and got the job a few months ago? No wonder this team has no confidence, their own manager is not sure of his own job.

  • dabooch

    No, and I don’t think the Mets can win 50 games.

    • John

      I hope they challenge the ’62 team,lol

      • John

        I meant challenge the record of the ’62 team

  • Bruce

    Stanks are the best team money can buy. they just eat their mistakes Vasquez,Pavano,Brown all the way back to whitson,the list goes on and on…..

    • Vinnie from the Bronx

      That’s because the Yankees have fans that show up, 4 million plus over the last 8 yrs. They make money from their merchandise, 1st in all of sports, money from their cable station & money from the networks revenue. You have to spend MONEY TO MAKE MONEY. Yankees make great investments; baseball makes money from the Yankees & no one complains about that, you sound very jealous that the Yankees are able to do that.

      Every team in baseball makes personal mistakes, but it’s not all about money, you also have to have talented players, office personal, the right people running the show & the Yankees have that. The Yankees are number ONE for a reason.

      I know you go to bed wishing your team were the Yankees. The hate the team, hate the game.

      • dico j.

        Vinnie…The Yankees are in 1st. place, the Mets are mildly amusing, and most important, the Red Sox are in last place. It doesn’t get any better than that. Especially living in central Connecticut….. It’s a great day.

  • Tony

    I say sell the team to the Steinbrenner’s. They would know enough to send ALL of these amateurs back to the minors where they ALL belong,…including Wright and Reyes,…YEAH THAT’S RIGHT, I SAID IT!! Then they could have Cashman (who knows what he’s doing) bring up pro-level players so we can have some real rivalry and competitiveness in this great city! Instead of having one team in a league of their own and the other on par with the little league!! Met fans aren’t those who are for underdogs,…they’re more for wannabe’s!

  • sal

    I’ve been a met fan since 1969….and i think i know a little about baseball after all these years and personally mr.coutinho this team is last place guaranteed! I’m a die hard met fan as i’ve said and believe me this team unfortunetly just does not have PITCHING!!! no bullpen what soever and that say’s it all! STARTING PITCHIERS are lacking and money is nowhere to be found… you gotta play with repaired pitchers that other teams have given up on and people like pelfrey and niese who are 4th.starters at best!!…….If the team is sold then somethin eill change but until the wilpons are at the helm (their not baseball people) were last place! sorry but i feel just as bad as everone else whose a real met fan!

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