The crowds might be smaller at Shea Stadium than desired, but at least those attending have properly diagnosed the problems. The calendar flipped to September, and the Mets are still closing with a set-up man who gets overwhelmed by lefty hitters and are using a crew of utilitymen at second base.
After a 3-1 loss yesterday to Philadelphia, the Mets have 29 games remaining, which is not normally a time for dramatic alterations. But now is the time to pursue all avenues to squeeze out every possible win. Nothing can be left on the table in a race this tight. For that reason, the Mets should stop using Looper exclusively to close when he is sure to face lefty hitters, and they should promote Anderson Hernandez to play second base.
How much do you trust minor-league numbers? Hernandez (above) hit .322 between Double-A and Triple-A with 35 steals. Randolph worries about exposing a newcomer to the stress of a playoff race. But Hernandez can’t be worse than Matsui and Miguel Cairo, and internally the Mets believe the 22-year-old would be much better defensively. With all the talk of what the Mets are not getting out of first base, they have by far the worst offensive numbers out of second base of any NL team.
Minaya frets about having an all kid infield with Anderson joining David Wright, Jose Reyes and Mike Jacobs. But what is the difference between three kids or four. Besides, fresh legs and energy are a Mets strength. They should add to it. Their one run yesterday was created by Reyes’ major-league-high 15th triple.
A Miguel Cairo single aside, Dontrelle Willis has pitched two unmolested innings for the Marlins tonight, the Fish leading the Mets 1-0 on Juan Encarnacion’s RBI single in the first.