The Morning After: Putting The Season’s First Loss In Perspective

It was ugly, no two ways about that.  However, one day after the Mets let a four run lead get away to the Washington Nationals, Mets’ fans can take comfort in the obvious: there are still 160 games to go.  It is not yet time to fly off the handle about Carlos Beltran (still hit less) or Billy Wagner (blew last night’s save) or even Jorge Julio (got the loss in disastrous 10th inning).

There is an excellent post over at Mets Geek, which tries (and succeeds) in finding positives in last night’s debacle.  Here’s a summary of what they came up with: Anderson Hernandez can field, Beltran got three walks, Delgado (with Beltran on) ripped two hits including a two-run homer, Jose Reyes worked some good plate appearances and saw thirty pitches, and the Duaner Sanchez / Aaron Heilman set-up team looked impressive.

One thing that came to my mind, after I had fired off last night’s angry post recapping the meltdown, was that Mariano Rivera started out last year poorly – blowing a save against the Red Sox – before finishing second in the A.L. Cy Young voting.  That is not to imply that Wagner will do that this year, but certainly it is not yet time to start questioning whether Wagner has come down with a case of "Metitis".  Basically, he challenged a good young hitter with a piece of cheese and he got beat.  Life goes on.  What worries many Mets fans more is that Wagner is not throwing nearly as hard as we remember him throwing in previous years.  Still, as Eric Simon at Mets Geek reminds us, "it’s only been two games, and both came on rather chilly days."

Brian Bannister pitched decently, though he seemed to really fall apart in the sixth inning.  I tend not to read to much into a start like this ever since I saw David Cone’s comeback with the Mets several years ago on a chilly night against the then-Expos.  Cone worked five strong innings, against an Expo team that was so cold it practically wore head scarfs to the plate.  We all remember how badly Cone struggled in the starts that followed, so we’ll judge Bannister more after his second or third start.

As for Julio, maybe we can worry about him a little bit.  Give him a few more appearances, and maybe he’ll turn things around.  If not, it will look like Minaya made another Zambrano / Kazmir trade: one that looked stupid at the time and proved to be as bad, or worse, as was expected.

Anyway, the "first place Mets" lasted one day, and now it’s time to regroup and win the series.  If Pedro pitches poorly tonight, it could cause more worries than the entire game yesterday, so let’s hope for the best.  Since Martinez will probably only give us five or six innings, the bullpen, and possibly Wagner, will be tested again.  How they respond could be very telling.

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