Last time we sat down and had a discussion about the Mets, we were all riding high after a sweep in Philadelphia that had more runs than a bad Chili’s experience. Since then, things have gone rather poorly. After starting out the year 6-3, the Mets have gone 2-8 and have fallen to 4th in the NL East. The Mets exhausted their bullpen in the 16-inning marathon in Miami on April 13th and they are still dealing with the repercussions today. Jeurys Familia finally returned from his suspension on Thursday but hasn’t been able to pitch in a save situation yet because the Mets lineup and bullpen are both failing piles of garbage. He did, however, walk in a run in the 11th inning on Friday. Also, the Mets have a million and a half injuries and Terry Collins INSISTS on playing Jose Reyes and Curtis Granderson everyday, who are batting .104 and .149, respectively. Reyes and Granderson, who are considered the Mets’ “table setters” have a combined OBP of .394. Michael Conforto’s OBP (.432) by his lonesome is higher. Even Noah Syndergaard’s clocks in at .400.
In case you didn’t catch Sunday night’s game on ESPN, the Mets were once again foiled by Daniel Murphy as his 1st inning grand salami was all the Nationals needed to sweep the Mets at Citi Field. I was there, it was actually not good. You can chalk up this tough stretch of games to the abundance of injuries on the Mets roster, but good teams adapt.
Jacob deGrom had a stiff neck and had to get his start pushed back a day, throwing Matt Harvey into the fire a day early. deGrom used to have soreness issues two years ago before ultimately missing the rest of the season with a lat issue. Yoenis Cespedes tweaked his hammy again, which is an incredibly common occurrence. Get this guy to stretch more and drink more water. Duda and d’Arnaud both got injured at the same time because what would a Mets season without those two sitting on the DL together. Wilmer Flores got an infection in his knee all of a sudden and has been spending nights in the hospital. And of course, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, David Wright, and the rest of ’em are getting their return dates pushed back every day.
Noah Syndergaard has yet to walk a batter this year. His 30 K’s without a walk given up through 4 starts are the most since 1913. His 1.73 ERA is also 4th in the National League.
The three-headed monster of Syndergaard, deGrom, and Harvey have been one of the lone bright spots for the Mets. They have combined for 79 K’s and only 15 walks. Unfortunately for them, however, their run support hasn’t been there and they’re either receiving no decisions or losses despite 10 of their 12 total starts being “Quality Starts” (6+ innings of 3 or less runs).
With Lucas Duda’s injury, Jay Bruce has been playing a lot of first base. He’s pretty much learning on the fly and the results have been pretty solid. Despite one error that was more on Syndergaard and Neil Walker’s miscommunication than it was on Bruce’s toss to first, he’s shown a high baseball IQ and the ability to make the plays that he’s expected to make. On top of that, he’s been the one true reliable everyday bat up at the plate. A career .248 hitter, Bruce is batting .271 with 6 HRs and 14 RBIs. His 6 homers are good for 5th in the National League. With a rapidly depleting lineup, Jay Bruce is seeing less hittable pitches, but is still making the most of his at-bats.
Come for the game, stay for Mrs. Met. I’m not going to sit here and brag but I caught a t-shirt thrown by her in the 8th.
Terry Collins’ hand was forced and Michael Conforto has become an everyday player, at least for the time being. I’ve been ranting and raving about wanting him to become an everyday outfielder since spring training, and he’s been performing at an All-Star level. For example:
His 3rd career HR off of Max Scherzer:
Conforto laughing at the scouts that called him a defensive liability:
The highlights from the Phillies game are extraordinary. It may seem like an easy concept, but playing different outfield positions is actually pretty difficult. Depending on what position you’re playing, the ball comes off each batter’s bat differently, so you have to take that into account while tracking the ball. Conforto’s second catch against the wall may have looked awkward, but that’s because he moved from CF to LF. A ball off the bat of a left-handed hitter to left field tails away from a right-handed left fielder. After playing the majority of the game in CF where balls hit to you are straighter, Conforto was able to move over a spot and make a spectacular catch at the wall.
He’s batting .361, and is batting .438 when batting leadoff. Perhaps the Mets should stick with this and make Curtis Granderson the platoon guy, no?
The Mets #1 prospect, SS Amed Rosario, is hitting .403 in AAA and is currently on a 9-game hitting streak. Also, he’s been taking reps at 3B down there, which could possibly mean that Jose Reyes’ days may be numbered. Another move that could be in the works is Asdrubal Cabrera moving over to 3rd to allow the younger Rosario (who also has insane range) to take over SS duties. I mean, the dude already rocks the neon sleeve. Call him up.
I went to the Shake Shack after the 4th inning last night and got a Double ShackBurger with a Black & White Shake. Not only did the ShackBurger hit the spot, the worker initially gave me a vanilla shake and instead of switching it out for a black & white, he tossed in another chocolate shake for free. Nothing better.
Noah Syndergaard’s finger issues that pop up seemingly every start are becoming problematic. He’s the most dominant pitcher in the MLB but has had to come out after 6 innings when he was DEALING because of blisters, torn fingernails, etc. With how overworked the Mets bullpen is, the Mets need Noah to go out there and eat up innings with his A1 stuff so the bullpen can be well-rested for if/when Wheeler or Gsellman get bounced out in the 4th. Syndergaard’s been going to the same nail salon that RA Dickey used to go to, so hopefully that’s a good omen that this is the year Noah gets his first Cy Young Award. At least he has a sense of humor about it:
It doesn’t look like Bryce Harper is going to bat .243 again this year. Matt Harvey used to own Bryce, but when asked if Harvey’s success would continue, he said, “that’s a clown question, bro.”
That was Harper’s 7th of the year, which is tied for 2nd in all of baseball. He’s batting .400 so far this year with 7 HRs and 20 RBIs. He’s on pace to hit 63 out of the yard. If only I saw that the oddsmakers were wildly underrating Bryce Harper going into this season. Oh, wait:
Daniel Murphy is batting .413 career against the Mets and that was his 7th career blast. I tried to chirp him before the game, and even that didn’t work!
I don’t think he’ll stop killing the Mets anytime soon:
The Mets have three games vs. Atlanta before they head down to Washington to play the Nationals again. Cespedes should be back in the lineup by then, but who really knows with this training staff. It may be early in the season, but the Mets dug themselves into a bit of a hole that makes this next stretch of games very important. The Nationals will trot out Scherzer, Joe Ross, and Stephen Strasburg to go up against deGrom, Wheeler, and Gsellman. If I were the Mets, I’d consider pushing up Noah Syndergaard’s next start to Tuesday against the Braves, so that he’d be able to go up against Strasburg on normal rest on Sunday. You don’t want the Mets to be thinking “Wild Card or bust” this early in the season, but getting swept this upcoming weekend would put the Mets back at least 8 games behind the Nationals. No bueno.
Don’t let Tebow get hot:
The guy just pokes hit after hit into left field.
He has 7 hits in his last 7 games to bring his average up to .218. He also has only struck out 5 times over his past 9 games, which shows that he is seeing the ball better. At this rate, he’s probably only a week’s worth of injuries away from sneaking onto the Mets roster.
Hopefully my next Mets rant is a happy one. Sweep the Nats.