Mets Loss to the Phillies Reveals Questions That Still Remain

The Mets lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 7-1 in a game that left a clubhouse mood in its wake that can only be described as self-reflective. Even though the Mets won the series 2-1, the game was the 81st game of the season: the halfway point.

So if the Mets are going to turn a corner anytime soon, now is the time.

“Nobody’s got a crystal ball,” Terry Collins reminded everyone in his post-game press conference today when asked about the second half.

And yet, I’m going to spend the rest of this article prognosticating.

Rafael Montero is still not the real deal.

I know he’s looked all right lately – a far cry from the walking train wreck that we all know. He threw 6.1 innings today, giving up four runs on five hits while striking out six and walking two. Furthermore, those four runs came in just one inning. Barring that, he was exactly what you’d expect out of a fifth starter.

“I’ve got a little bit more confidence,” Montero told reporters calmly, “now I’m a little more confident of getting better results.”

But my crystal ball says to wait. His last two games have been against cupcake teams, Philadelphia and San Francisco, and he’s yet to actually go a full seven innings in any of his starts. Also, he still allows too many leadoff men on base – they have a batting average of .281 this season. Don’t get too high on Montero, folks.

Jose Reyes will continue his good play, but Asdrubal Cabrera won’t.

Both men went hitless today, which proved to be a problem with the whole team, who got no-hit into the fifth. But I see their paths going in different directions.

Cabrera made headlines the other day when he asked for a trade after being moved to second base. First off: what planet is he living on? I don’t know how much trade value Cabrera has, and there are about five Mets I would put ahead of him on the block. He is batting .333 in the past week, but I do not see that continuing. Cabrera’s always been streaky, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a re-injury was on the horizon.

With Reyes, something feels different. Ever since he moved to shortstop in early May, he’s hit better and proved that while he may not have the speed that he once had, he still maintains his range on the field. When the Mets first signed Reyes last year, I thought it was a move made out of desperation. But Reyes keeps proving me wrong, time and time again.

David Wright will never play another game in a Mets uniform (this season).

The first Met hit of the game came in the form of a home run from TJ Rivera, but it didn’t make me think of him. Instead, it made me think of how much of a revolving-door third base has become in David Wright’s absence. First Jose Reyes, then Wilmer Flores, and now Rivera. I’m probably still missing someone.

It was reported on Friday that Wright is at least 3-5 weeks away from baseball activities. He can’t even begin a comeback until August, possibly. Of all the Mets injuries, I’d argue this is by the far the most damaging. Wright was an indispensible clubhouse presence, which is desperately needed when guys are asking for trades or just showing up on page six far too often. I thought that Curtis Granderson, who did not start in the game due to hip discomfort, could play that role, but it appears that he’s taking a backseat in this regard as he grows older. Who will lead these men through what is sure to be a tough road ahead?

The Mets will finish above .500, but how far the crystal ball cannot tell.

The Mets are five games under .500 at the moment, and are slowly creeping back. They’ve won their last seven out of nine games, and the pitching and offense seem to be finding their groove.

How far above .500 they end up depends on what kind of moves the Mets make before the deadline. The Mets don’t necessarily have to be either sellers or buyers. But they will have to be movers if they want to find success in the second half of the year.

If I had to hazard an exact guess as to where they finish? 84-78.

“Nobody likes to ever lose, but…as long as you wear a major league baseball uniform, you can beat the other team,” Collins said in reference to the Phillies. I believe that could very well apply to Mets as well.

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