I am a big fan of Season previews even though they generally don't say anything that has already been said or that they do say things that just angers me. Anyway first up is the Washington Post. Projected NL 2008 Standings:
Its really hard to break down what they said about the Mets without copying over the entire entry they wrote, so here it is, the Washington's Post (March 26) opinion about the Mets:
“The Mets play in a rather extreme pitcher's park (last year, Shea Stadium ranked fourth among MLB parks that favored pitchers), yet somehow have managed to be torpedoed by their lack of pitching over the past few seasons.
But somebody in Queens finally got wise to the problem, as the Amazin's went out and landed the best pitcher on the planet, in Santana If they had this guy seven months ago, there's no way they would have choked away the division title to the Phillies.
Something still gnaws at us about the Mets, and we don't make this pick with any strong conviction. They are still old and creaky (Alou and Martinez, in particular, are a hamztring and a shoulder away from irrelevance), and they still appear to lack the same choose-your-body-part (guts, heart, etc) attribute that did them in last September.
But if Santana goes 20-5 witha 2.50 ERA, as seems possible in this league, the Mets will be tough to stop. “
My initial reaction when reading this was that Post was complementing the Mets while insulting them at the same time, but thats to be expected because they are not an impartial voice for baseball (they have to support the Nats) but when it comes down to it, they are right. The Mets are a pitching team now, and it will come down to pitching to win it. Good pitching beats good hitting. I love how everyone says though that the collapse was based around pitching. It is not that simple, if you want to simplify it, then the distinction has to be made that it was centered around bullpen pitching, because down the stretch the starting pitching did a good job.
The second baseball preview for today is from Baseball Digest. Their projections:
Their basic points for the third place selection is a carry over of the collapse and that for most of the year, the Mets were a .500 team riding out a very strong April and mostly strong May. Under the weaknesses section, they say that Starting pitching cannot be considered a weakness but still the back of the rotation is a weakness. I feel that they got the “need to improve” section exactly right. They talked about how the Mets struggled last year playing teams in the division and until they can dominate in the division like they did in 2006, then they cannot win it all in 2008.