September 27, 2007


Mets' NL East lead down to a game: New York blows five-run edge in third consecutive loss to Nationals (Associated Press, 9/27/067)

With their pitching staff in tatters, the free-falling New York Mets blew a five-run lead Wednesday night and lost again to Washington.

Now they're in danger of blowing the whole NL East race.

It's a bad time of year for the massive holes in the Mets pitching staff to have shown up. And they're ridiculously fortunate that the ancient Moises Alou is red hot right now. Were he on the DL, as they'd every reason to expect he would be by now, they'd have already squandered the lead.

Gutsy Mr. Metsie: Of What Indestructible Alloy Could Willie Randolph’s Innards Be Made? As His Team Stumbles Forward, the Mets Manager Merely Smiles: ‘It’s a Little Bit Stressful,’ He Says, ‘But I Kinda Like the Stress’ (John Koblin, September 25, 2007, NY Observer)

On Sunday, Sept. 23, Willie Randolph was standing alone in the visitors dugout on another unbearably muggy Miami morning—already 85 degrees, with 75 percent humidity. The New York beat reporters had just finished their 155th pregame briefing of the season in which, once again, they battered Randolph with questions about injuries and pitching problems.

Nine days earlier Randolph’s Mets were 6.5 games ahead of the Phillies. After a series of agonizing losses, the lead had withered away to 1.5 games.

Randolph, in his third year managing the Mets, was weathering the biggest crisis of his tenure.

“It’s nerve-wracking at times,” he told The Observer, the bags under his eyes more visible than ever.

He finished tearing off a label on a water bottle that he’d been picking at for the previous few minutes.

“It’s a little bit stressful,” he said. “But in a weird kinda way, I kinda like the stress. It’s always been like that in my career—as a player, as a coach. It’s like an adrenaline rush, really.”

During the slump, Randolph has appeared on TV and in the clubhouse as unflappable and even-tempered—even at the risk of looking like a “lifeless chump,” as a Daily News columnist put it. I asked if he had made any adjustments in the clubhouse during this slump—challenged players, or tried to tweak anything to force the team out of it.

“No,” he said. “I’ve been pretty consistent. I don’t think you have to change anything—you know who you are, you know how to handle it, and you know that you have to prepare yourself to get your players ready to play.

“For me, I don’t want to change anything,” he continued. “I just have to be myself, really. And that’s really all I have.”

The question now is whether that’s enough.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 27, 2007 6:16 AM

If certain breaks went their way, the Rockies have a decent chance of not only getting the wild card, but possibly having the best record in the NL. And at 10 wins in a row, with having division leader Arizona at home this weekend, the odds look pretty good.

I've just been amazed at how well the pitching staff has held up.

Posted by: Brad S at September 27, 2007 7:15 AM