A disappointing first half comes to a fitting conclusion - Mets drop series finale to Padres 6-2
The Mets ended the first half of the season with another dud as Max Scherzer was ineffective and Padres RHP Joe Musgrove silenced their bats. Plus, (ugly) grades for the Mets roster
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets dropped their final series of the first half with a 6-2 loss to the Padres to close the first half on a sour note (Box)
In a repeat of the Wild Card series, Max Scherzer struggled again, giving up five runs in five innings. He ends the first half with a 4.31 ERA
Grant Hartwig did not give up a run in 1.2 innings and has been good in his eight appearances so far with the club
Mark Canha got the lone big hit for the Mets after he entered the game for the injured Tommy Pham. He ended the shutout in the eighth with a RBI double that drove in both Mets runs
Francisco Lindor went 1-for-4 at the plate to close the first half on a hot streak
DJ Stewart went 1-for-3 with a walk after being inserted in the lineup for the first time since being called up on July 4
The Mets ended the first half 42-48 and 7.0 games back of the final Wild Card
Despite the disappointing Padres series the team is 6-2 in July, although they’re now 4-8 in rubber games, 16-37 when the opponent scores first, 14-11 against the NL West, 7-34 when allowing five or more runs, 22-29 on the road, and have been outscored in the first inning 65-26
2023 First-Year Player Draft 📰
With the 32nd pick in the Draft, the Mets selected SS Colin Houck and they took RHP Brandon Sproat 56th overall (New York Post)
News and Notes 🗞️
The Mets are tentatively opening the second half of the season against the Dodgers with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer on Sunday. If Kodai Senga isn’t used in the All-Star Game, he will pitch on Saturday
Who’s Hot 🔥
Francisco Lindor ended the first half hitting .393/.485/.786with two home runs and five RBIs over his last seven games
Over his last fifteen games, Mark Canha is hitting .276/.436/.483 with one home run and six RBIs after getting off to a slow start earlier in the season
Grant Hartwig lowered his ERA to 0.79 in his eight appearances this season
Injury Updates 🏥
Tommy Pham (sore groin) exited the game after the first inning and will undergo a MRI in New York today
Today’s Game 🗓
The Mets are off until Friday, when they return home to play the Dodgers at Citi Field.
2023 All-Star Week continues today…
What: 2023 T-Mobile Home Run Derby
Where: T-Mobile Park – Seattle, WA
When: 8:00 PM EDT
Where to Watch: ESPN
Grading the Mets over the first half (brace yourselves…) ✍️
And so, a dismal first half officially comes to a close.
Fittingly, it ended in the same vein as much of the season has gone so far. Poor pitching and poor hitting mixed together to create a boring slog towards last place.
Oh, and the Mets lost one of their hottest hitters to a groin injury.
A hot week arguably got the team back into the Wild Card race, and they showed flashes of what this team could be during their six-game winning streak, but too much has gone wrong and too much needs to go right if the Mets want to turn things around in the second half.
During that brief, beautiful week everything was clicking. The offense was firing on all cylinder thanks in large measure to both Francisco Lindor and Francisco Álvarez, the starting pitching was going deep into games, Carlos Carrasco looked rejuvenated, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander looked like the bulldogs the Mets needed them to be, and the bullpen, while a little adventurous, was getting the job done.
Unfortunately, that brief resurgence ended Saturday in San Diego.
Today, I decided to grade each area of the Mets roster. Brace yourselves - this isn’t pretty…
The team’s total pitching fWAR is just 2.9 which puts them only ahead of Colorado for worst in the league. They also have been bitten by the home run ball at an alarming rate this season - their rate of 1.36 home runs per nine innings is the third worst in the league behind only Colorado and Washington.
It’s not pretty.
Of all of the problems the Mets have had over the first 90 games of the season, the starting pitching by far is their biggest, loudest and ugliest.
With the expectations of the twin Cy Young winners at the top and their repeated underperformance, and with both David Peterson and Tylor Megill not even resembling Major league starters let alone their past selves, it all adds up to a failing grade. Perhaps they all can regress to the positive mean, and perhaps José Quintana can add some quality starts to the mix in the second half, but so far this starting rotation is the big reason why they are so far out of the race.
Mets starting pitching, MLB ranks:
467 IP (21st)
4.57 ERA (20th)
196 BB (29th)
3.78 BB/9 (29th)
73 HR allowed (21st)
1.41 HR/9 (22nd)
453 K (12th)
8.7 K/9 (11th)
3.4 fWAR (27th)
Outside of All-Star Kodai Senga, the starting rotation should have a big red “F” stamped upon them.
While the bullpen has almost been equally as bad the expectations for them were nowhere near as high as their rotation, especially after Edwin Díaz went down with that horrible knee injury in the World Baseball Classic. They were also not constructed properly with Billy Eppler going with quantity over quality, signing a bunch of “optionable” relievers over more quality arms. With the starters not going deep into games, more pressure has been put on a rotating cast of Triple-A arms that were not ready to pitch in high pressure situations on a near nightly basis.
David Robertson has been the lone bright spot stepping into the closer’s role even with a couple of hiccups lately, but even so the absence of Díaz has been haunting the Mets since day one, even if they choose to not say so in public.
Mets bullpen, MLB ranks:
316 IP (11th most)
4.12 ERA (21st)
129 BB (14th)
3.76 BB/9 (17th)
46 HR allowed (28th)
1.31 HR/9 (29th)
317 K (22nd)
9.01 K/9 (16th)
-0.7 fWAR (29th)
Overall the bullpen earned a “D+” for their performance this season.
The offense similarly is underperforming, although they’ve actually been better recently.
Starling Marte, Jeff McNeil, Daniel Vogelbach and Mark Canha have all struggled this season, with Vogelbach, Marte and McNeil all having severely regressed from 2022.
Pete Alonso has been generally all or nothing, indicated by his .211 batting average, but he has been saved to an extent by his home run and RBI output. Francisco Lindor has picked it up recently and both Francisco Álvarez and Tommy Pham have been pleasant surprises overall. But there are too many gaps in the lineup, and they lack the overall athleticism necessary to adapt to the modern rule set in Major League Baseball.
Their team wRC+ ranks fourth in the league and their total fWAR is seventh. The offense has the potential to carry them in the second half, but they need consistency which has not been there all year.
Still, I’ll give them a “C” grade for the first half.
So, overall it’s bad and it’s bleak. The club is on-pace to go 75-87 in 2023, so a discussion about the playoffs shouldn’t even be considered unless something changes very quickly at this point. As Mets owner Steve Cohen said a couple of weeks ago, hope is not a strategy, and while time and patience are owed for some areas of the roster, they generally are what they are at this point.
Yeah, maybe there are a few winning spurts coming, but just to get this club to 87 wins they’d have to go 45-27 the rest of the way, and that’s arguably not enough to get into the tournament either.
And there’s no evidence this group can even approach 45 wins in a 72 game span, either.
Around the League 🚩
The Pirates selected RHP Paul Skenes as the number one overall pick in the Draft
After a disappointing first half, the Yankees fired hitting coach Dillon Lawson
Aaron Judge announced he will not be participating in the All-Star Game as he continues to deal with an injured toe
Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano will be taking the place of Astros starter Framber Valdez on the AL All-Star team
The Phillies placed José Alvarado on the IL with elbow inflammation