The Mets aren’t quite a Lindsay Lohan train wreck, but today in snowy and cold Minneapolis perhaps they can reflect on what went wrong in Philadelphia and some of these very visible cracks:
STARTING PITCHING: At 5-4, the Mets are better than expected and received strong starts in six games, but Matt Harvey and Jon Niese followed by three days of rain isn’t going to happen.
In three of their last four games the back end of the rotation has been exposed. Dillon Gee says he’s fine, but there was something wrong Tuesday night. The Mets might be better off leaving Jeremy Hefner home when they go to Philadelphia. Aaron Laffey is starting until Shaun Marcum is ready, but nobody knows what to expect when he returns.
BULLPEN: There have been some stinkers, that’s to be expected. But, nine games in and Terry Collins is already worried about overworking his relievers. That comes when there’s no back end of the rotation.
The pen is working close to three innings a game, and at this rate will be fried by July. If you recall, the porous bullpen precipitated last year’s second-half collapse.
NO POWER: Yes, they’ve homered in every game, but that’s misleading as most of that is John Buck and Daniel Murphy, with a little Lucas Duda on the side.
Nobody expects Buck to keep his pace (five homers in nine games), but if he did you can bet they’ll be shopping him in July if they aren’t winning. Ike Davis is in a dreadful slump and David Wright is joining him.
Of Wright’s 32 at-bats, 15 have come with runners on base, but he only has four RBI. Wright’s slugging percentage is way down with only two doubles and his batting average is at .250. He could use the day off.
Meanwhile, Davis has more than twice as many strikeouts as he has hits and he’s well on his way of duplicating last year’s slow first half.
Duda has been a plus, especially with his patience and ability to take the walk. He’s among the league leaders in walks. This patience will translate into home runs.
NO LEADOFF HITTER: This was a problem going into spring training and it is a problem now. CollinCowgill has the most opportunities, but hasn’t produced. Neither has Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who might be on his way to the minors as the Mets need a utility infielder.
Mike Baxter had the best game of the leadoff hitters, but Collins is reluctant to give him an extended chance. The same applies to Jordany Valdespin, who always seems to make things happen, good and bad, because of his speed.
OUTFIELD: The only constant is Duda, has Collins has gone to a platoon in the center and right, something he said he wouldn’t do. Marlon Byrd had a good start, but he’s not an everyday player.
CONCLUSION: Rocky times could be ahead. The Mets took advantage of solid starting pitching to get off to a 5-2 start, but that hasn’t continued outside of Harvey and Niese. The Mets need more from the back end of their rotation as to cut the bullpen’s innings.
The offense scored 19 runs in the first two games, but only 30 in the following seven. Buck is not going to keep this up all season. Eventually, Wright and Davis must produce or it will be a long summer.