Pre-Postseason Thoughts

As we all know the general consensus on the Mets is that our starting pitching will either make or break us because supposedly “pitching wins in the playoffs” and because our staff of starting pitchers has been the least stable part of our team. And now we have lost Pedro.

To my mind, our postseason will not come down to the performance of our pitchers but our bats. I’m very confident in Orlando Hernandez as our #1 pitcher. His October numbers historically have been just outstanding. Even in seasons where his regular season numbers lagged, he has managed to pull out ERAs a solid point lower in the postseason when he’s had enough innings to have a considerable ERA. Glavine is hot, Maine has been great for us and the lack of trust in him is baffling, and Trachsel is the same coin flip on any given night that he has always been. We can pencil Trachsel to either get shelled or pitch a 2 hit shut out in game 3. Actually put it in ink.

Our starters are not exactly Schilling & Johnson circa 2001, but they are more than adequate to keep us in games long enough for our superb bullpen to take over however early or late they are needed.

The REAL question to me is our offense and not because it’s weak or because it can’t hit lefties or because it wasn’t scoring runs last week but because it’s filled with streaky hitters. This season Delgado, Beltran, and Wright, played hot potato as to who was to carry the team offensively. Delgado and Wright took turns carrying us night after night in April, in May, it was the David Wright show, in June Reyes suddenly realized an amazing amount of the latent potential we always expected seemingly overnight, and in July Beltran put up an astonishing, MVP caliber month. In late August it was Delgado again.

Each of these players have carried the team at some point, and when several have been hot together, the team has gone on torrid streaks of near unbeatability.

The problem is that none of them has put in a consistent wire to wire sort of steady offensive season. Each is capable of plunging into a sudden slump for five games. Our postseason hopes depend on at least two of our top five carrying us through this next five games against LA. If our bats are hot, we can beat anyone, and if they’re not we can’t beat any one. We will not win the pitchers’ duels but we will take the slugfests.

The “pitching always wins” people forget the 2002 Angels whose starting pitchers were all called up from a Mexican League where they served as pinatas apparently. That team won from behind seemingly every night because of a bullpen that put a tourniquet to massive bleeding and an offense that pounded back until Yankees, Twins, and Giants were bloody pulps. Our starters are still better than theirs, but this sort of an offensive approach is going to be huge if we win. Mark my words, if this postseason is filled with low scoring games, the Mets will not go far. If it is filled with slugfests, the Mets will win them. If it’s blowouts, those go either way.

Offense is also most important to this postseason because if all goes well and we make it to the Series, we WILL have to face the Yankees because they are unstoppable with THEIR offense.

At that point, forget about pitching, as the Yankees have as relativley little of it to be confident in as we do, and beware of the massive bats in the Bronx. Their lineup is as staggering as any human being could ever dream. Ours will have to be as hot as possible to compete.

Mark my words, the bats will decide this October.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.