...and all that other good shit! Yep, they're ba-ack, as of today, or for Mets fans, tonight, more accurately, when the Mets begin 2008 Part Deux in Cincinnati against the Reds.
A couple of things before Part Deux officially begins.
First, Billy Wagner. Oh, Billy Billy Billy boy...I don't know about you, but to me, it remains to be seen if we can survive a close pennant race with Billy at the ass end of most games. He's proven nothing but that he simply cannot be trusted in key games; I heard some stats on WFAN recently that were, to put it mildly, astounding. He's got something like a 6.50 ERA in key game situations, and has blown a startling percentage of saves, which is no surprise considering that ERA. I don't remember the exact stats, and I'm not a stat geek, but these are close enough, in my view. Plus, as my old friend dunsel always says: "observation is king." And my observations about Billy Wagner over the years tell me that sometimes, I almost long for Armando Benitez in those key situations.
Wait, hold it.....nah, I just can't take it back. That's how truly unreliable Billy Wagner is, and I don't know how we can get past that, as I don't see anyone else on the Mets roster currently that can realistically become the new closer. Not that the Mets would even consider that, although maybe Jerry Manuel might, if he had any real options.
The outfield situation is another concern going into Part Deux. Thankfully, it appears that Church really does just suffer from migraines, and not from ongoing affects of the two concussions he suffered this year. On the flip side of that, Moises as a Met is now history. Sure, we can get by with an outfield of Beltran and Church, but what about left field? I don't think any Mets fan reasonably thinks we can continue to throw out Nick Evans or Marlon Anderson or even the great Endy Chavez (who is my choice, most days, because of his great D), or bring up F Mart who is probably a Not Ready for Prime Time Player. Come to think of it, Nick Evans is probably another member of that troupe. Maybe we could alternate these guys IF we had a power right handed bat in the lineup, but we don't, and I haven't heard any reasonable options for that problem, either.
As for the pitching, Pedro's health is always a concern. Apparently, El Duque is making his way back to Shea, which in whatever capacity he can return, whether it be as a starter or a reliever, would be a serious boon to the staff, as Duque thrives on the big stage in the big game, unlike that other guy whose first name begins with "B" and whose last name ends in "ner." With a big fat "boyIsuck" in the middle. Ollie Perez is still the same enigma; John Maine throws way too many pitches; Johan is indeed Johan, and I think Pelfrey has gone over the hump and can be considered pretty reliable at this point. I think in particular we will see a better second half from both Johan and Pelfrey.
So all things considered, we're not in bad shape, but I will say the same thing as I and many others have said from the beginning of 2008 - Carlos Delgado is key. Until things change on this team, he is key. If he hits, we have options; if he doesn't, well, we're kind of out of options, and it will be that much more difficult to overcome the potent Phillies offense, the scrappiness and desire of the Marlins, and maybe even the consistency of the Atlanta Braves.
But one thing remains -- tonight, I can hardly wait to hear "Play Ball!"