‘Hart of the Order’
By Sean Hartnett
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The Mets obviously aren’t at full capacity with an extensive list of injuries befalling their major stars.  Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy are both done for the year and there is no reason to rush staff ace Johan Santana back into rehab action.

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At least Jose Reyes’ hamstring has mended to the point that he’s able to take part in minor league games.  If all goes well, he could return in time for the final game of this weekend’s series against the Atlanta Braves.  That’s definitely a big plus for Met fans searching for something to hang their hat on in a season of misery.

It’s a well-worn cliché, but the Mets go as Reyes goes.  He is their face, energizer and spark.  Having him in their everyday lineup brings clarity even in grave times like these.  I’m certain things would have turned out differently if Reyes was available for last night’s 10-0 beat down by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Sure, there’s nothing that Reyes could have done to prevent Dillon Gee from ‘walking the ballpark’ and surrendering eight earned runs but there would have been at least some sort of fight-back if he was in the lineup.  Even a pitcher as talented as Cliff Lee could be caught off guard by Reyes’ athleticism on the base paths and get thrown off his game.

The black cloud hovering over the Mets is becoming darker and further reaching than at any point this season.  They’ve dropped four consecutive games and have gotten very little out of their starters in any of these losses besides R.A. Dickey last Sunday.  David Wright and Justin Turner are failing to make routine plays and their bullpen has become anemic.

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Do I even need to bring up the name Ryota Igarashi?

Without their stars, the Mets’ frailties and weaknesses in depth couldn’t be more apparent.  That shouldn’t be an excuse to lie down completely and allow your opponents to bludgeon you.  Even with a clean bill of health, the Mets may not match-up to the level of the Phillies or Braves but it seems like their current state of affairs is lending to their atrophy.

We all know the scene from The Natural when the shrink is brought in to cure the fictional New York Knights of their disastrous play.  “Losing is a disease.  As contagious as bubonic plague… as contagious as syphilis.”

Well, it seems like the Mets are going down the same route but they don’t have a magical Roy Hobbs to save them — even if the soon-to-be returning Reyes sometimes borders on a superhuman level.  Everyone knows the season has been long over without having to look at the Wild Card standings.  Now is the time to play with some professional pride, with or without stars like Reyes and Santana around.

It’s time that the roster repays Terry Collins for literally trying everything in the book to try to shake them of their losing malaise.  The Mets don’t have to go on a torrid run in September but the players need to at least step up and earn their paychecks.  Show the fans that there is some remnant of a winning ballclub still left inside the Mets’ clubhouse and give them a measure of optimism going into 2012.

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Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Mets fans?  Can a positive feeling be attained going into the offseason?  Share your thoughts below and send your tweets to @HartyLFC.