Here’s the Mets’ lineup for tonight’s game in Milwaukee:
Curtis Granderson – RF
Ruben Tejada – 3B
Lucas Duda – 1B
Michael Cuddyer – LF
Wilmer Flores – SS
Juan Lagares – CF
Kevin Plawecki – C
Dilson Herrera – 2B
Jon Niese – LHP
Honestly, had to you told me heading into the season the Mets would be five games over .500 and a half-game out of first place on June 1, I would have signed up for it in a heartbeat.
So would you.
However, after an 11-game winning streak in April, one would think they would be better than they are at the start of their first West Coast trip of the season. The Mets face a myriad of questions following a sluggish 13-15 May:
1. Can they win on the road?
A: They are 7-15 this year away from Citi Field and have 15 games on the road in June.
2. Can they win outside the division?
A: To date the Mets are 4-10 outside the NL East with only six games – all against the Braves – within the division during June.
3. Will the six-man rotation work?
A: Manager Terry Collins said he’s committed to it until August. With only two off days this month, they’ll need to make this work, especially with an innings watch on Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. This move was made primarily to protect Harvey, but no starter is really on board with this. This move was also necessary because the Mets had no definitive plan for Harvey entering the season.
4. What’s wrong with Harvey?
A: He hasn’t won in five starts, but pitched well enough to win three of them. And, the bullpen twice coughed up to 1-0 leads in the late innings. He’s been throwing consistently in the mid-90s and the belief is something is amiss with his mechanics. He will next pitch Thursday in Arizona.
5. Is this the beginning of the end for Jon Niese?
A: Niese says he’s healthy, but he’s been hammered and has lost five of his last six decisions. He hasn’t made it past the sixth inning in his last four starts.
6. Can Bartolo Colon keep this run going?
A: Take away Colon and the Mets are in third place in the NL East and possibly not even a .500 team. But, he’s 41 and this can’t last forever. The six-man rotation is as important to Colon as it is Harvey.
7. What can Dillon Gee give the Mets?
A: The Mets are hell bent on trading Gee, and their best chance to get something back is for him to pitch well and create interest heading into July.
8. Can they get something from their catchers?
A: Travis d’Arnaud, on the disabled list with a fractured finger, had a setback. His replacement, Kevin Plawecki, hasn’t shown enough to stay up here when d’Arnaud returns.
9. When will David Wright return?
A: Your guess is as good as anybody’s. He’s had several setbacks since going on the disabled list. His replacement Eric Campbell didn’t pan out and now Ruben Tejada is getting the chance to win the third base job.
10. Will Juan Lagares hit?
A: Lagares hit in April, but not May. He got the contract because of his glove and the promise he would eventually hit. There’s nobody else who can play center for the Mets, so they’ll have to stick with Lagares.
11. Will Curtis Granderson supply any power?
A: Granderson is on pace for 19 homers and 50 RBI, which might be decent numbers for a leadoff hitter. Of course, at the start of spring training he was supposed to supply middle-of-the-order power.
12. Will they ever get off Wilmer Flores’ back?
A: Probably not. Flores has ten errors, but leads the team with eight homers. Of course, there will always be Troy Tulowitzki rumors, but as you can see the Mets have more pressing issues.
13. Will the bullpen stabilize?
A: It was good in April, but a lot of things were good in April. Jeurys Familia should be an All-Star, but there’s been little else that’s consistent with the bullpen.
14. Will Lucas Duda go on a power tear?
A: He has stiffness in his knee after getting hit by a pitch over the weekend. Duda homered 30 times last year and is on pace to hit 29 this season. However, he’s on pace to drive in only 79 runs season.
15. Will the Mets add anybody to their dismal offense?
A: They keep saying when Wright returns that will act as a trade, but that’s simply a cliché for a team that’s not likely to do anything. They aren’t going to get Tulowitzki, and I’m not betting on Martin Prado, either. It takes a proactive team that will make a deal in June, and frankly, I don’t see the Mets being such a team.