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Sunday, June 04, 2017

Can the Mets be Downgraded?

By Nicholas Stix

After hearing about today’s Mets follies, a random, nameless, faceless, raceless member of the Stix family asked, “Could they be downgraded?”

It’s a thought. I had to chew it over. Although the Mets do not yet have the worst record in the Big Leagues, I doubt any team has found more ways to lose during the past few weeks.

In the Big Leagues these days, the pathetic standard for a “good start” is six innings. When I was a kid, it was nine. For today’s Mets, it’s five. By the end of the season, the team’s entire bullpen, save for Jeurys Familia (convalescing from an emergency operation to remove a blood clot from his shoulder that could have killed him) may qualify for disability. Familia already qualifies!

Although I missed today’s “Larry” (loss), I checked the box score, which gets an NC-17 rating. Mets skipper Terry Collins tried out rookie call-up Tyler Pill for the second time. Pill gave up only three earned runs in five innings—five innings!—but two more Pirate runs scored on two errant throws by usually reliable leftfielder Michael Conforto.

The other night, with two outs, usually reliable, veteran shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera dropped an infield fly, allowing two runners to score.

“Usually reliable” is turning into a curse word, where these guys are concerned.

Terry Collins brought in rookie call-up Paul Seawald to pitch the sixth, and he got the job done. That was Seawald’s 16th game in about a month. His arm is due to fall off in about three weeks.

Collins brought in Josh “Tommy John” Edgin for the seventh, and he gave up a run; 6-1, Bucs. Edgin used to be a hard thrower.

Collins then brought in Neal Ramirez to pitch the eighth. I’ve seen Ramirez; he and the strike zone are not on speaking terms. He gave up two more runs: 8-1, Bucs.

For the ninth, Terry called on the enigmatic Josh Smoker, who is allegedly 27, but looks ten years older. Smoker throws hard (up to 96, 97), and he’s been developing a bunch of new pitches to complement his four-seamer, but the guy is an ongoing disappointment. One night he strikes out the side, or goes three scoreless innings, and the next is… today. Smoker doesn’t fool hitters enough, and relievers can’t make up for so many bad outings by piling up scoreless innings when they’re good, not even Mets relievers. So Smoker gives up a three-run dinger to Andrew McCutcheon. Bucs 11-1. Game over.

The stat sheet for the Mets’ pitching staff—starters and relievers alike—is also rated XXX.

A couple of weeks ago, Andrew McCutcheon’s career looked to be on life support at 30. Then he played the Mets in two here-and-there series, and now he’s got a new lease on life.

Any number of Minor League teams could play in the stead of these bums, and be more competitive. Why not make the Mets a Triple-A franchise?

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