Will The Mets Collapse Again?

I’m a lifelong Mets fan, and while they have been in four World Series and won two, they have been good enough to get there numerous times and have not. Most recently, the Mets were eliminated from playoff contention in 2007 on the season’s final day–to complete an epic collapse in which they were leading the Phillies by seven games with 17 to play. I remember those days vividly. My wife had just had our first child so I was up in the wee hours at least once a night, and every time I turned on ESPN News the Mets had lost while the Phillies had won. I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I think about it. It doesn’t help that the year before that, 2006, the Mets were painfully beaten in a Game 7 in the NLCS by the upstart (and annoying) Cardinals.

Now, it appears that recent history will repeat itself. Despite that the Mets replaced Willie Randolph with interim skipper Jerry Manuel in June, and had that amazing run in July to get back on top of the division, they continue to build 3-4 game leads only to have the Phillies catch them. Right now they sit 1/2 game behind in the NL East, and 1/2 game up in the wild card standings only because Milwaukee has had their own collapse.

Is this a repeat of 2007? How can you say it’s not looking that way? Jay Schreiber of the NY Times parallels some eerie things from last year to this year in his blog.

Me, I just feel it. The middle of the order has stopped hitting, though they did wake up last night against Washington. Still, the Mets had an 8-2 lead and won 9-7. The bullpen is maybe the worst in baseball, and are responsible for a minimum of 10 losses already. And even the starting pitchers have started slipping a little. Not even Johan Santana makes you feel like they are going to win for sure.

Throw in the fact that guys like John Lannan look like Cy Young against the Mets, and guys like Anderson Hernandez, Jorge Cantu and So Taguchi look like Ted Williams against them….and you just can’t feel good. Oh, and every day I look at the morning paper and the Phillies have won.
Seriously, do they ever lose in September?

Despite all of my negativity here, there is a good chance the Mets wind up as the wild card. They would face the Dodgers, who they match up well against. Well yeah, but don’t think someone like Casey Blake won’t hit .800 in that series. Plus, they haven’t face the Manny Ramirez Dodgers yet.

If the Mets do wind up choking here down the stretch, I won’t say I told you so. And if they make it, I’ll root for them like crazy. But I still don’t feel very confident.

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