The worst team in baseball is coming to town, they said. Maybe this can help turn the Mets around, they said. At least they can get a couple cheap wins, they said.
Yes, the worst team in baseball, the Orioles, came to town, loaded with one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball. The Mets scored one run in 18 innings against them. They mustered 8 hits between the two games. They went 0-for-7 with RISP in the two games, and their lone run came on the most exciting play in baseball, a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning of Game 1.
Yesterday, Zack Wheeler got the start and was the lone bright spot. He fired seven innings of shutout innings while only allowing three hits and a walk, with five punchouts. It was the first time he hadn’t allowed a run in an outing of at least five innings since September 2014.
But as Wheeler is perhaps figuring his career out at age 28, the offense is completely wasting it. Though the Mets’ offense is actually wasting the efforts of all their starting pitchers, who have all pitched tremendously in the last week. But unfortunately, the team has scored just two runs in their last five games. For the season, the Mets are 27th in the league in runs scored and have a bottom-10 team wRC+.
But still, the players are still banging the drum in the postgame press conferences about how this is temporary and how they know this will pass, because what else are they going to say? And to be fair, they’re right; it won’t continue to be this bad. It’s always easy to get caught up in the last week or so of offensive futility and believe that this team is truly this bad at hitting, but they’re not. The dry spells by guys like Michael Conforto, Todd Frazier, Brandon Nimmo and even Asdrubal Cabrera are temporary. Those guys are too talented and have been too good this season to continue playing like this.
That said, the Mets have been, at best, a below-average offensive team all season long, and that’s mostly because of the other guys in the lineup around those players. Jay Bruce (76 wRC+), Adrian Gonzalez (89 wRC+) and Amed Rosario (80 wRC+) are the ones who are really hurting this team. Rosario can get a pass, because you knew this offense from him was likely, and he bats ninth for a reason. You can get away with a below-average bat/good glove shortstop if you bury his bat in the eight or nine hole. But you can’t bury his bat if you have hitters in the middle of the order with the same wRC+ as him.
And it really, really doesn’t help when the bench is currently comprised of Jose Reyes (16 wRC+), Luis Guillorme (28 wRC+) and Jose Lobaton (47 wRC+).
So yes, things will get better, especially with Yoenis Cespedes probably being rushed back from the DL soon and Wilmer Flores making progress towards a return. Gonzalez belongs on the bench or not on the team, and Bruce probably belongs on the DL. Getting those two guys out helps, but unless there is major changing of personnel, an offensive rebound is probably not around the corner. This team is still extremely flawed.
Either way, it’s looking like it’s almost too late anyway. The Mets are now 5 games under .500 and clearly, even at their healthiest, are not in the same echelon of the top three teams in the division.
OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY
Good news, everyone, P.J. Conlon is back! He was gone for less than a week, but the Mets have claimed the Belfast product back from the Dodgers and designated Phil Evans for assignment, which means they’ve decided to keep Jose Reyes on the roster, which brings me to my next point…
The Mets have apparently discussed releasing Jose Reyes, but are holding off because they want him to get a proper sendoff. I mean, this is just comical at this point. Reyes has a -0.7 WARP in just 40 games played and 77 plate appearances, which is almost hard to do. So not only is he not adding value to the team, he’s draining value at near-historic rates. Yet the Mets, who have an infamously checkered history with how they, um, “send off” players, all of a sudden care about the optics of having a sendoff for a man who allegedly choked his wife and slammed her into a glass door? Of course, the real answer here is that ownership still thinks fans care about Reyes in any way, which is actually sad.
The good news is things can only get better when the Yankees come to Citi Field! The Subway Series begins Friday night at 7:10. Masahiro Tanaka takes on Jacob deGrom in Game 1. We caution that some scenes in this series may be too shocking for young or sensitive fans. Viewer discretion is advised.
Photo credit: Andy Marlin – USA Today Sports