The pitching is solid, the hitting is transparent. And if things don’t shape up for the latter, Mets manager Terry Collins will be made a casualty, not because of the team he has in front of him, but for believing that he can win with this team through “strategies.”
During the month of June, the Mets starting pitchers were stellar for the most part, and despite holding onto the lead in the NL East for a brief time, the Mets posted a 13-15 record for the month. Since their weekend home series against the Braves on June 12-14, the Mets have only once scored at least five runs in a game and went 7-8 to finish out June.
This poor show of offense is coming to ahead with this series against the Chicago Cubs. All series long, it has been dreadful to watch the Mets attempt to score runs while starters Jonathan Niese and Bartolo Colon each pitched seven innings in the first two contests only to be hit with losses.
Niese allowed only one run in his seven frames of work while Colon pitched a shutout. Although the bullpen needs a lot more work, the games are being left in the hands of the likes of Alex and Carlos Torres, Bobby Parnell and Jeurys Familia. As far as batting goes, the only one showing consistency is leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson, who hit the only RBI of this series with the Cubs.
It’s not all on Terry Collins of course. He just writes the lineups and has to work with what has been put in place by his superiors and predecessors. It’s not as if he can pitch or bat on his team’s behalf. But what he has been doing that is becoming so inexcusable is utilizing strategies that he calls “outside the box” thinking.
“We’ve got to do something outside the box,” Collins said, “because we’ve been staying inside the box and it isn’t working. We’ll continue to press forward and try to come up with some answers… We’ve got to flip-flop some guys somehow… Shake it up a little bit.”
There’s nothing wrong with shaking up the lineup and personnel, but Terry Collins believing that he can register some runs with squeeze plays and sacrifice bunts is detrimental to the team’s productivity when it comes to hitting. How can you expect your players to perfect a bunt when they cannot hit?
Flashback to Wednesday night’s extra-inning affair against the Cubs. Ruben Tejada was on third in the bottom of the eighth when pinch hitter Darrell Ceciliani stepped up to the plate. Terry Collins called for a squeeze play. What happens? Ceciliani fails to deliver the bunt and the Cubs kept it a scoreless game and won in 11 2-0.
The plan failed, and now that the Mets will head for the coast to play the Dodgers after being swept by the Cubs, things don’t look to get any better when the lineup will be dealt with facing starters Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in the first two matchups. Let that sink in for a moment.
It’s good that Terry Collins is willing to approach things differently in hopes that it will register more hits, runs and wins for the Mets, but wrong place, wrong time for these squeeze plays and hitting strategies. When your lineup starts averaging at least five runs and eight or so hits per game, then try that stuff. As it stands now Collins, you are beating a dead horse. Just worry about your batters making contact before you expect anything more of them, because at this point, you might as well get your money’s worth and have Bobby Bonilla come play for you.