With Sunday’s loss to the Phillies, the Mets head into the All-Star break with a disappointing 40-50 record. I have asked Mel and Ed to share their thoughts on what they’ve seen so far. In case you’ve forgotten or you’re unfamiliar with them, these two Mets fans can be best summarized as the consistently cynical, self-hating fan (Mel), and the unendingly optimistic, “they’re just one player away” fan (Ed). Here’s what they had to say…
Mel: I bet you think I love being right.
Ed: You do love being right.
Mel: See? Right again.
Ed: Must you gloat.
Mel: I have to get something out of this. I mean, I knew they’d stink but surely you thought they’d have more than 40 wins at the break.
Ed: I just don’t understand how we got here.
Mel: Probably all the losing.
Ed: Thanks. I’m serious though. Let’s figure this out. what’s been working. We can start with what’s been working.
Mel: This should be quick.
Ed: Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil are off to a couple of the best offensive starts to a career in recent baseball history. Alonso is tied with Aaron Judge for the second most home runs by a rookie at the All-Star break, behind Mark McGwire, and he now holds the record for most RBI’s at the break by any rookie ever. Meanwhile, McNeil has the third most hits in his first 500 career at-bats, trailing only Hall of Famers, Wade Boggs and Joe DiMaggio. Dominic Smith has been a more important part of this team than just about anyone had expected. And even Todd Frazier and Jason Vargas-
Mel: -Come on.
Ed: I’m serious. Frazier and Vargas have each been better than people realize. Oh, and let’s not forget J.D. Davis. Most people didn’t understand why the Mets traded for him. Turns out he’s been one of the nicest surprises in recent Mets history.
Mel: The bar is pretty low.
Ed: Well, it’s still true.
Mel: Fine, so with all that positivity, how come they’re 10 games below .500.
Ed: Pretty much everything else has been terrible.
Mel: You said it.
Ed: It’s true. The rest of the team has been somewhere between adequate and awful.
Mel: So, Cano, Rosario, Conforto, Nimmo, anyone else whose name ends in “o”…these guys are the problem, right?
Ed: Actually, no. Sure they’re not having great seasons, and some of them have been plain bad, but the Mets offense is in the middle of the pack in just about every important and semi-important statistical category.
Mel: So the Mets problem has been pitching? Are you sure we’re talking about the Mets here?
Ed: That’s probably the saddest part. Do you remember when I said that Vargas has been impressive?
Mel: Who could forget?
Ed: He’s been the Mets second-best starter, and while he’s been good, he hasn’t been that good. Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler have been inconsistent at best. Steven Matz has been consistent, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Even Jacob deGrom, who is still the Mets best starter, has only been very good. I wasn’t expecting him to be as good as last year, but I was certainly expecting better results than this.
Mel: Jeez, you’re starting to sound like me.
Ed: That’s not even the worst of it. The bullpen has been so bad that it’s not even worth mentioning specific players.
Mel: What about the 1-2 punch of Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz?
Ed: Diaz’s ERA is 5.50-
Ed: And that’s two runs better than Familia’s.
Mel: I think I just threw up in my mouth.
Ed: And while they fired the pitching coach, Dave Eiland, they’re hanging on to Mickey Callaway for the rest of the year as the lamest of lame duck managers in recent memory.
Mel: But Ed, you’re supposed to be the optimistic one. We’re like good cop and bad cop, not Statler and Waldorf. Can’t you try to put a positive spin on all this?
Ed: I think about that every day, and here’s what I’ve come up with: Alonso and McNeil are both young and have both been so good that we should have a lot to look forward to with them for at least a few seasons. Similarly, as disappointing as Diaz has been, there is no way he’s this bad, and he’s also young, so I think he’ll be fine. Jacob deGrom’s off year has still earned him a spot on the All-Star team, and he’ll be an important part of this team for year’s to come. This team has been so bad this year and they’re still only 10 games under .500. You’d think by the way we talk about them that they’d be one of the worst teams in the majors and they haven’t been. In fact, if the Mets had won half of their 20 blown saves, they’d be 10 games above .500, and only a few games out of first place. They could just as easily be a contender. You know, now that I say it out loud, maybe they can turn things around in the second half and make a season of this.
Mel: There ya go. That’s better.
Mel: Too bad you’re wrong. They stink. You should really just accept that now.
Ed: Shut up, Mel.
Mel: How’s Jed Lowrie doing?
Ed: I said shut up, Mel.