baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

When I'm wrong, I'm really wrong

The Mets have won eight games in a row for the first time since June, 2006. Right after I said here that their season was over. Boy, was I wrong! And I'm glad to say it. I should have known better than to make any kind of definitive statement about this team, this year. They are the epitome of unpredictable.

I caught them at the bottom and forgot that when someone (or some group of someones) hits bottom, it can only mean that they have nowhere to go but up. A lesser team would have given up at that point, but maybe Jerry Manuel really is the right guy to lead this talented group to playing consistently good baseball, the way they did for most of 2006.

There are lots of good signs, the main one being the play of the bench and the bullpen. One way to judge a manager is to look at the statistics of the bench players. On a team that plays together for a common goal, the bench usually contributes significantly to the team's success. On a team that has quit on the manager, usually the bench players play poorly, and have a negative attitude about their situation.

Manuel seems to be doing a better job getting contributions from the bench than Willie Randolph did this year. I attribute most of this to his calm demeanor and honesty. At least for now, the players seem to believe in their leaders and themselves. All the adversity from last year and the first half of this year will serve them well, as they have proven to themselves that they can overcome obstacles.

If Pedro Martinez can get over his shoulder issue and continue his resurgence, the Mets have a very good chance to make the playoffs. Even if he doesn't, they still could do okay, given that the Phillies are really struggling, and the National League is so weak that it won't take all that much to succeed.

Another outfielder would be nice, as long as they don't have to give up one of their few remaining prospects. Angel Pagan and Ryan Church should be back soon; Luis Castillo has become irrelevant, and perhaps trade bait when he comes back. The Mets have enough talent to win, and now that they have discovered some grit and killer instinct, who knows what they can accomplish?

© Judy Kamilhor 2008


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