As a fan, I want to be as optimistic as I can possibly be. I enjoyed watching the Mets sweep the division rival Miami Marlins and start out 10-5 in division play. For the most part, the starting pitching has been good and overall, they have managed to score enough runs to win. But certain things have to change if this team is going to stay competitive all season.
It is fair if you want to just classify last night's (April 27th) 18-9 loss to the Colorado Rockies as a bad game. All teams have them. Forget the bad starting pitching performance by Chris Schwinden and the terrible job by Manny Acosta, which could happen to most relievers in Coors Field. The team made 6 errors, 4 in one inning, which is unacceptable if this team wants to have any chance to even be around .500. The Mets have some power in the middle of their lineup, but have to rely more on pitching and defense to have the best chance to win. Josh Thole, who has made strides to become a better receiver, has three catchers interference errors already this season. Lucas Duda has had a very difficult time chasing flyballs down in right field. The flyball that dropped between Ruben Tejada and Kirk Nieuwenhuis nearly cost them the only game they won against the San Francisco Giants. For the surprising exception of David Wright, the Mets have not looked good defensively. Daniel Murphy, despite some improvement, is still going through some growing pains playing 2B for the first extended time in his career.
If the Mets want to remain above .500, they have to play better defense. Or else, they will start throwing away solid pitching performances. Once that starts happening, they will start losing a lot more than they win. The Mets have to win the games where they get the good starting pitching. With Johan Santana, RA Dickey and Jonathon Niese, they should have a good chance to win a lot of those games.
There are times it has become tough for this team to score runs. Ike Davis is off to an Adam Dunn-2011-like start. Jason Bay is hurt, and there is literally nobody on the roster to replace him until Andres Torres returns (even with his little contribution). Depth has been a point I have bitched about all offseason, and the Mets have none. Their tight bench is even tighter right now, and all they can hope for is guys for like Jordany Valdespin and Zach Lutz to overachieve and make up for the depth the team is missing. Can Nieuwenhuis and Thole continue to hit at the pace they are at? They will eventually come back to earth. Hopefully, the numbers don't drop to a point where neither is a factor because the Mets need everything they can get to stay competitive.
I know there is normally a negative feeling associated with a team's loss. But, going back to the first series against the Braves at Citi Field and adding in the most recent Miami Marlins series, the Mets won six close games that could have gone either way. The Mets are 5-9 in the rest of the games they have played. I am rooting for this team as much as the next Mets fan, but I refuse to strut my stomach for a team that is 11-9. I would love for it to keep up, but it will not unless there is better defense on a consistant basis. They also need to be able to score runs every game, which is something that has not always happened. Even though they are over .500, improvements need to be made to stay even two games over.