Carroll: Great Pitching Just Isn’t Enough

(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)

Top-notch pitching is at the top of the list of Mets’ strengths. Unfortunately, it’s no guarantee of victories, baseball’s ultimate currency.

For most of their 53-season history the Mets’ offense has been below average and this year it’s far worse than usual. Surprisingly though that may not be their biggest 2015 on-field liability.

If you are counting strictly on pitching to eke out wins then you had better have a solid defense to go with it and that’s certainly not the case with our Flushing heroes.

Centerfielder Juan Lagares, who won a Gold Glove in 2014, has not been the second coming of Willie Mays in the field in 2015 as he has misjudged numerous flyballs and bobbled many others. Shortstop Wilmer Flores, who is still learning his position, does get to a lot of grounders and has a solid arm. The problem is that he is too often too leisurely in throwing to first base allowing too many opposing hitters to get infield hits. Young second baseman Dilson Herrera has not always been where he should be on the infield particularly when opposing runners are trying to steal second base.

I was listening to WFAN air personality Kim Jones tear apart the Mets’ defense Saturday morning. Jones claimed that the Mets would never be able to win with their current roster because, in her opinion, you can’t teach baseball instincts. She neglected to mention that you can’t teach experience either. Both Flores and Herrera are young and deserve a chance to learn the game at the big league level. Lagares is going through a slump but you have to believe that he’ll snap out of it.

Former Mets first baseman and team SNY broadcaster Keith Hernandez gave both batting and fielding tips to Lucas Duda. While I’m not sure that was at the behest of Mets management, it certainly did not hurt. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Mets to invite one of their greatest shortstops in their history, Bud Harrelson, to Citi Field to meet with Wilmer Flores so that he could pick his brain. Harrelson lives in Suffolk County and is a co-owner of the Long Island Ducks baseball team of the independent Atlantic League.

Saturday should be a fun afternoon at Citi Field regardless of how the Mets do against the Reds as the Steve Miller Band will be performing approximately 20 minutes following the last pitch. Just as baseball fans are amazed at the names of great ballplayers who are not in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, it’s absolutely incomprehensible to anyone who knows anything about music that the Steve Miller Band has not yet been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Former St. John’s University closer Danny Burawa was drafted by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft and had been in their minor league system for five years before finally being called up to the big club last weekend. It was a brief visit as he gave up four runs in 2/3 of an inning to the Detroit Tigers last Sunday and was immediately demoted back to Scranton after the game.

The annual International Franchise Expo took place last weekend at the Javits Center. There was a noticeable drop-off in the amount of yogurt establishments compared to past years but that was made up for by the proliferation of smoothie retailers.

Bayside Lemonade was the only Queens-based business that I saw at the show. Their business model is a bit different because they are not interested in creating stores but rather having their product sold at outdoor locations and events.

Los Angeles-based Burrito Box was promoting the idea of selling Mexican food through vending machines the way that Redbox sells movie DVDs. That idea did not seem very appealing for some reason.

Also taking place at the Javits Center last week was the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition. If you expected to see Cheech & Chong movie posters and copies of High Times Magazine for sale then you would have been sorely disappointed. It was more akin to a 4-H conference as vendors promoted lines of topsoil, lighting for indoor growth, and paper and plastics for wrapping the final product.

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