In anticipation of this weekend's big series, I talked again with Joe Janish of Mets Today. We had exchanged Q&As earlier this month (his previous answers for TGP are here and my previous answers for Mets Today are here).
Joe's newest answers, shedding light on the Mets' recent struggles are more, are below. My answers to his questions are over at Mets Today.
1) 34-18 before June. 9-15 in June. What the hell happened?
The American League happened. The Mets ran into a bunch of teams playing that alternative version of baseball, --- the one with the Designated Hitter --- at the same time they went into a collective hitting slump. For about a two-week period, the Mets went "into the tank" --- completely losing their confidence, passion, and will to win.
2) With a .679 OPS, is this the end for Carlos Delgado?
It sure looks that way. He's way behind most fastballs, looks out of synch, and has frequent at-bats where he waves through three pitches -- it's like watching a ten-year-old in his first year of Little League, just trying to foul tip a pitch against a 12-year-old. However, manager Willie Randolph has a theory on biorhythms, so maybe when the planets line up properly, Delgado will start hitting again.
3) Is Pedro Martinez's arrival in August the key to the rest of the Mets' season?
Absolutely not. The Mets are planning the rest of the season without Pedro. If he shows up, it will be an added bonus. Generally, a pitcher coming off his type of surgery takes 14-16 months to recover, so although there has been a lot of excitement surrounding his pitching off a mound, in BP, etc., it's mostly wishful thinking.
4) There have been reports in some places that there's racial tension on the team. What are your thoughts on that?
I think that all emanated from a teenage blogger citing his "inside sources" in an effort to jump-start the traffic on his website, and today's NY Daily News is trying to drum up something that just isn't there based on Paul LoDuca's tirade with reporters last night. From all reliable sources, there is absolutely no tension in the Mets clubhouse --- at least, not in regard to racial divide.
5) We Phillies fans have to know: what is the perception of Billy Wagner up there? When he was with the Phillies, he'd praise you in the papers one day and stab you in the back on the radio the next. He has no idea what a filter is. How's his act playing in New York?
Believe it or not, "Country Time" has been a big hit in the New York media, without drawing the ire of his teammates (yet) --- who'd of thunk it? Perhaps he learned from his time in Philly, because he always has only good things to say when speaking about specific teammates, and is very quick to take responsibility for his poor performances. There was one incident during the height of the Mets' slump that blamed the team's "lack of passion and fire" for their slump --- but it was the truth, so no one got on his case for it. Of course, the Mets have been winning since he joined the team --- if the Mets continue to falter, and fall out of first, we may very well see the "real" Billy running his mouth and backstabbing. Winning has a way of keeping people happy.
6. The Mets are having an Endy Chavez bobblehead day? Are you kidding me?
Hey, easy on Endy! Being a Phillies fan, I'm guessing you didn't bother watching the NLCS and moved right on to the Eagles. Endy's catch in game seven earned him cult-like status in New York --- he routinely draws larger ovations from Shea fans during introductions than David Wright and Jose Reyes. The bobblehead is commemorating "the catch" (from what I understand, the figurine is of him with wearing an outstretched glove). He may be a bit player, but Endy is a big-time fan favorite in Flushing.