Coppola: Mets Hear “TIMBER!!!”

By William Coppola

Question: A tree falls in the forrest and there is no one there to hear it. Does it make a sound? Wednesday at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark between the Mets and Reds had an attendance of 16,552 and for major league standards, that is an empty forest. Being an afternoon game in the middle of the week it also meant that not a whole lot of fans in New York had a chance to watch.
The answer to the question is YES the falling tree does make a sound. Today it was the sound of a team who has hit the forest floor with a thunderous “Boom.”

In the first inning the boys from Queens batted out of order. Wilmer Flores and Asdrúbal Cabrera got flip flopped in the order. Oh those lovable Mets. Shades of 1962? The change was on the line-up posted in the dugout for the players to see but was never given to the home plate umpire Gabe Morales. By rule, the next batter in the order, Jay Bruce, was called out. Other than that it was a good old fashioned pitchers due. A game where neither team could manage more than five hits, that being the 9- 27 Reds. The Mets had four hits.

The Mets’ Zack Wheeler pitching line was 6 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts gave his team plenty. The Reds 24- year old Sal Romano’s pitching line matched Wheeler exactly albeit, tqo less walks. Robert Gsellman gave them two scoreless innings and Seth Lugo worked a scoreless 9th.

 And then the tree hit the forest floor. With the score tied at 1-1, Reds late replacement left fielder Adam Duvall lead off the bottom of the 10th inning to face new Mets pitcher AJ Ramos and deposited a 2-1 count and 92 mph middle of the plate fastball (or shall we call it meatball) into the second row of the left field seats.
 Game over, series over and loss number 8 in the last 9 games for the slipping New Yorkers.

Next on the schedule are three games at Philadelphia who are in second place in the division. Then they return home to face Toronto for two games and then the red hot monster of the west, Arizona comes in for three games. This is beginning to show signs of what appears to be a long hard struggle for a team that was looking so good for the first 35 games.

 Sure 35 games is a small part of a 162 game season but this is not looking that good for a team who has two old veterans at the corners, Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez who gave them more than they expected to help put them at the top of the division to start the season.
Also a starting rotation that is having it’s problems both in games and with injuries, and their number one power guy Yoenis Céspedes with more aches and pains than an episode of “Code Black.” Add the loss of Matt Harvey who was a big branch of that tree that fell and you have a team on a train that is two stops from “Palookaville.”

What happens next for the Mets will be an interesting ride for this team that was riding the crest of the winners wave. The Braves, Phillies and Nationals are not going away anytime soon. The Mets will need to climb over three teams now to make it out of the woods, hopefully before another heavy piece of lumber comes crashing down on them.

 WILLIAM COPPOLA IS A CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST. HIS BASEBALL KNOWLEDGE SPANS ALMOST 40 YEARS AS A PLAYER, COACH, UMPIRE, AND PROFESSIONAL SCOUT.
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