It’s been an interesting start to the season for our beloved (by some) New York Metropolitans. The team has had some ups and downs throughout their first 20 games. They find themselves one game out of first place and they are going into a big series with the NL East leading Phillies. There are worse starts that fans could have envisioned for this team, but, there are also better ones.
The Mets have had several positive performances to start the 2019 season. The offense as a whole looks to be much improved from last year and is one of the better lineups the Mets have fielded since 2006. They have a considerable amount of length through the lineup, a that is missing Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie, the latter being one of the team’s bigger Free Agent acquisitions this past offseason. The Mets find themselves in the Top 10 in runs scored and are getting contributions from multiple spots.
Michael Conforto finally seems to be putting it all together in 2019. He is off to a fantastic start so far, hitting .300 with a .413 On Base Percentage. Conforto also has six homers and 12 RBIs to go along with that great slash line. The guy is looking like a damn All-Star. Then, you have Pistol Pete Alonso. What else can we say about this guy’s start so far? Alonso looks like he is going to be right in the thick of the NL Rookie of the Year chase. Like Phil Mickelson said before one of his rounds at the Masters a couple weeks back, Alonso just hits BOMBS. Not only does he have 8 dingers already to lead the team, but he also has 19 RBIs and is batting .325. Could NOT have asked for a better start to the young man’s career.
Robinson Cano started off the season in a deep slump, but has recently shown signs of busting out. I am not worried about Robbie. The guy is an absolute vet and I see nothing that shows any real sign of aging. Wilson Ramos (aka The Buffalo) has been as advertised. He is a great vet that keeps the lineup moving when he is up at the plate. Consistent as hell. Speaking of consistency, Jeff McNeil has done nothing to show that last year was a fluke. The dude is a hitting machine and is hitting .371 after twenty games. The kid is legit and knows how to handle the bat.
Now, on to the bad stuff. Not sure how to slice this any differently, but the Mets pitching and defense so far has STUNK. Flat out. Straight up. The Mets pitching staff, as a whole, currently sports a 5.57 ERA. The pitching and defense are major reasons this team isn’t currently sitting atop the NL East. Who would have thought that going into this season?
The starting pitching has been shaky, at best. Jacob deGrom started off the season brilliantly with 2 gems, not allowing a single run in either start. Cy Young #2 looked to be locked up for the Mets Ace. Then, Jake got knocked around in his last two starts and ran into some elbow discomfort last week that landed him on the 10-Day IL (Injured List; apparently we are such a soft country that the term “Disabled List” now offends people, despite it being called that for the past 100 years). Jake felt a lot better over the weekend and was able to long toss twice. We will wait until the MRI results come out to make sure we are out of the woods but, this team absolutely cannot afford to lose their stud Ace. It looks like we may have dodged a bullet.
They cannot afford to lose deGrom because the rest of the staff has been so damn inconsistent. You literally don’t know what you are going to get each start from Syndergaard, Wheeler, and Matz. Not even going to get into Vargas who is just clinging on to a job right now and should be replaced by Dallas Keuchel or Gio Gonzalez in the next week. That is neither here nor there. If this team is really going to make the playoffs and become a legit contender, they are going to need Syndergaard, Wheeler and Matz to really step up their game.
Syndergaard and Matz have had 1 Quality Start (pitcher pitches six innings or more and allows less than three earned runs) each in a combined 9 starts. Both are expected and NEEDED to take the next step this year. The time is now and if either of them want to get paid in the near future, you can’t be pitching to a ERAs around 5 or greater. It is simply unacceptable and Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland need to help these guys figure it out. Zack Wheeler, after a brutal start, has looked a lot better in his last two and there is hope that he can get on a roll now.
The bullpen has been absolute dog shit so far, outside of Edwin Diaz. Let me just say this about Edwin Diaz. He hasn’t even reached his peak dominant form yet and he already looks dominant. THAT is how good this guy is. His stuff is absolutely disgusting and we, as Met fans, deserve a closer that won’t give us a heart attack each time out in the 9th inning. Speaking of such closers, Jeurys Familia has to get whatever is broken fixed quickly. With an ERA at 5.59, he is absolutely KILLING the bullpen right now. He was signed to be a solidifying setup man, and he has been anything but so far. He simply can’t find the strike zone and looks like Sandra Bullock in Bird Box trying to throw a strike. FIGURE IT OUT. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman look to be finally turning the corner, and Justin Wilson has been fine.
Lastly, I have not been impressed with Mickey Callaway. He seems to be making a lot of the same mistakes he made last year. His in-game decision making has been questionable at best. The Mets brought in Jim Riggleman, a former manager to help Callaway, but somehow, things might have actually gotten worse. Mickey should not have a long leash here folks. If this team continues to pitch badly and keep showing bad fundamentals, I do not see how Mickey makes through the full season. This is a win-now team, and Mickey needs to pick it the hell up, and get this pitching/team where it needs to be in order to contend.
Mr. Glass-Half-Full Take:
As a whole, the pitching needs to get better. If and when it does, this team will absolutely be in contention to win the NL East. I have no doubts about that. If this team is serious about doing that though, they need to go out and sign another starter.
Dallas Keuchel and possibly Gio Gonzalez (after he opts out of his Yankees deal if he doesn’t get called up today) are out there. It will cost some money, but it WILL be money well-spent. This team is that close to being a top NL contender. You CANNOT keep rolling out the likes of Vargas, Flexen, Oswalt and others if you want to content. None of these pitchers have shown themselves to be capable of throwing five decent innings in a start, let alone multiple starts.
The offense is rolling along, and with the additions of Frazier, Lowrie, and (hopefully) Cespedes coming down the line, the lineup will hold up their end of the bargain. I am so pleasantly surprised by this.
I truly believe Van Wagenen will not sit still if the back-end of this staff continues to suck. I also believe that Syndergaard and Familia will eventually get their stuff figured out and turn around their seasons. Heal up Jake and let’s get this pitching staff back to where it needs to be. This is a Top 5 talented staff that is currently pitching like a Bottom 5 staff. WAKE UP!
Big series starts tonight at Citi Field versus the Phillies. Let’s take back 1st place and never give it up.
P.S. I wouldn’t hate signing Craig Kimbrel either. Would make the pen dominant. Give me it Brodie!