Will The Real Mets Ever Stand Up?

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: Francisco Rodriguez #75 of the New York Mets celebrates his save against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on April 22, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated Diamondbacks 4-1. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

First they were 3-1, and everyone thought they might not be so bad after all.

Then they were 5-13, and everyone thought they might be the worst ever.

Now they are 11-13, and ... well, what are we supposed to think about the New York Mets?

The Mets have played 24 games. David Wright and Jose Reyes have both played in all 24 games, and Carlos Beltran has played in 23. All three once-upon-a-time superstars have played well. Ike Davis has played even better. Jason Bay, finally maybe healthy at last, has been fantastic since coming off the Disabled List.

That's five pretty good players, and five is enough. Especially when Daniel Murphy's out of his mind.

The Mets finished 13th in the National League in scoring last season. Today they are fifth.

The Mets finished sixth in the National League in ERA last season. Today they are 13th.*

* Did you see what I did there? I sort of flipped everything around, all of a sudden-like. I learned that trick at the Amalgamated Institute of Sports and Sports-Related Writing. Which, sadly, was forced to close its doors some years ago after charges of false advertising and lousy teaching were proved absolutely true.

The hitting's probably going to settle down some, since Ike Davis probably isn't a Hall of Famer, Dan Murphy definitely isn't, and one of those erstwhile superstars is going to pull a hamstring at any moment now. Still, the hitting figures to be decent enough, given how much money the hitters are making.

The pitching's a mess, though, and will probably continue to be a mess.

I love R.A. Dickey like a blood brother, but if R.A. Dickey's your ace you're probably in a spot of trouble.

You're also in a spot of trouble if Dillon Gee's your ace. And statistically speaking, Dillon Gee is the Mets' ace. He's 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA.

Actually, there are some things to like about Dillon Gee, especially his 3.47 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 39 Triple-A starts. His 4.76 ERA at that level, though, and his subpar fastball, not so much.

Jonathan Niese, Mike Pelfrey, Chris Capuano, Chris Young ... There's little reason to think that any of these stalwarts will do much better than Dickey. Pelfrey, who posted a 3.66 ERA and won 15 games last year -- granted, those numbers were something of a mirage -- has looked completely lost this year, with nearly as many walks as strikeouts.

With Johan Santana probably on the shelf until late summer, there just isn't any real help on the way, which means any improvement in run prevention figures to be marginal.

As long as the hitters are reasonably healthy, though, the Mets should not be terrible, or even bad. They should muddle along, winning a few and losing a few, with a decent shot at a .500 season. Which won't excite the fans, but at least won't remind anyone of Marv Throneberry.

For much more about the Mets, please visit Amazin' Avenue.

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