As I mentioned in my last post, since I moved to New York I've been following the Mets in addition to our beloved Rays. That's why the 2009 season has been so much fun for me so far.
In case you hadn't noticed, the Mets are the Rays' only competition so far for Most Inexplicably Lousy Team. How irritating are the Mets this year? Well, aside from this, this, this, this, and this, there's also their tendency to waste good, even great starts by the team's only reliable starting pitcher. Seriously, how does a team bring in two--count 'em!--two closers over the off season, while simultaneously deciding that Pelfrey, Perez, and Maine are the names they want to see up on that big new megatron week in and week out?
Everything Navarro is doing, he's doing badly. Witness, among other things, his .456 OPS. Or how 'bout this "wild pitch" last night. Sure, it was off line, but if Navi gets off his haunches to block it instead of trying to glove the thing, he at least saves a run. I hope somebody out there knows what's wrong with the guy. Remember back before the beginning of last year, when we wondered whether Navarro would regress to pre-2007-all-star-break-2007 levels (OPS .491, OPS+ 33) or build on his post-2007-all-star-break success (OPS .815, OPS+ 110)? Back then, many of us argued that his poor first-half numbers early on were, at least in part, caused by bad luck: you know, hitting lots of line drives right at gloves and the like. Well, this year there is no such comforting excuse. He just looks lost. Since this has been pointed out correctly here and elsewhere, I will simply say that Navi's numbers so far this year look a lot like how farts smell. .095 against LHP? Arg! Maybe he's not used to his new, svelte frame. Maybe something at home is keeping his head out of the game. Whatever it is, it's gotta get figured out soon, right?
I've agreed to avoid profanity in my posts for this blog (a totally reasonable rule, by the way; the blogosphere has a tendency to get a bit too ugly too often), so I can't write exactly what I think when I read Madden's post-game optimism. I mean, I like the guy--he did lead the Rays to their first-ever winning season, post-season, AL Championship, etc, en route to winning his first ever Manager of the Year award--and there's a part of me that appreciates his calm. But there's another part of me that reacts to Madden's nonchallance kind of like how Mr. Lebowski reacts to The Dude's. You know the scene I'm talking about, more or less directly after the line "Hey, careful man. There's a beverage here."
Remember how well the Rays played for pretty much all of last year? Remember how they played against the Red Sox in the ALCS? Now remember how flat and emotionless they looked in the World Series. That's kinda how they look now, right? I don't know. I hope Madden's right, that he displays his managerial prowess, and that he gets this team back on track. I hope the Rays go on a serious tear, and I hope they do it soon. I know it's still "too early to panic." But I'm afraid that the plane has crashed into the mountain.