Discover more from Just Mets
Billy Eppler gets in person look at the Mets big prospects, the Mets are out west, and there's reason for optimism
The Mets haven't fired on all cylinders yet, but still have produced a winning record to-date
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets 15th ranked prospect—righty Jose Butto—is not going to make his scheduled start for Syracuse tomorrow with an eye towards potentially making a spot start on the Mets’ West Coast trip (MLB.com)
Mets GM Billy Eppler used the team’s off day to travel to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to watch the team’s Triple-A team play in person (SNY)
With Eppler in attendance the team’s best prospects did not disappoint as both Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio homered for Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday
Joey Lucchesi also fired 6.2 innings of scoreless ball in the Syracuse game
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets @ Athletics
Where: Oakland Coliseum - Oakland, CA
Starters: RHP Kodai Senga vs. RHP James Kaprielian
When: 9:40 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
The Mets haven’t played well yet—which is reason for optimism ✍🏻
It’s fairly safe to say that during the first two weeks of the 2023 season, the Mets have lacked consistency and depth offensively, the starting rotation has been up and down, and the bottom half of the bullpen has struggled.
So, if I told you that prior to opening day, you probably wouldn’t have assumed the Mets have a winning record and have taken three of their first four series.
Which is why I am choosing not to overreact to some of the early season struggles and remain confident the Mets will figure this out and get on a roll.
For starters (literally), we know Justin Verlander will be back soon. I promise Max Scherzer’s final ERA is not going to be four and a half. Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo are not all going to hit under .250.
That the Mets are 7-6 right now is a huge testament to Buck Showalter’s ability to keep his team focused, confident, and prepared. Which will be incredibly important over the next week and a half as the team embarks on a long, three city cross country road trip.
Still, while I have complete confidence the Mets will soon take off and leave .500 in the dust, it’s important to still acknowledge the team’s warts.
We’ve discussed ad nauseum on here about the situation at third base. There is just no excuse at this point for Brett Baty to still be in Syracuse and Eduardo Escobar to still be starting every day in the Major Leagues. Baty’s defensive improvement and relentless work ethic to get better scream that he is ready for the Show. Escobar is incredibly well liked in the clubhouse but at some point, there has to be some production between the lines. The offensive gap between what he’s producing and what Baty could give the team is growing by the day, and for a team that has struggled to score runs the noise is getting hard to ignore.
At DH New York has got very little out of Daniel Vogelbach, and while Tommy Pham has been a bright spot, it doesn’t quiet the calls for Mark Vientos.
On the hill, the Mets have been exceedingly up and down. Max Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco have both seemingly struggled to adjust to the pace of the pitch clock. Kodai Senga has been arguably the club’s brightest spot over the first two weeks, and Tylor Megill has been phenomenal, once again has stepped up in the absence of a big starting pitcher in their rotation. David Peterson has been generally solid as well, eating necessary innings mostly at a high level for the club.
Even so, with Jose Quintana out for the entire first half and Justin Verlander on the injured list, it does raise concerns over the depth of the rotation should something else happen.
In the bullpen, the team is unquestionably missing Edwin Díaz immensely, although his absence is not being felt at the end of games as much as it is in the middle of games. David Robertson has been unbelievable and save for the walk-off homer he gave up in Milwaukee, Adam Ottavino has been excellent. That duo has more than capably handled the backend of games. But the plan was for them to pitch in the seventh and eighth. With that being pushed back an inning there’s been significantly more pressure placed on the guys in the middle, some of which weren’t even supposed to be here filling in these roles.
Drew Smith has been elevated to third on the relief depth chart and has mostly pitched well—though walks have been a concern. John Curtiss has shown promise. To me, though, Brooks Raley has been a little underwhelming as the sole southpaw. Dennis Santana has been thrust into higher leverage situations than he was supposed to be and the homer he served up to Xander Bogaerts the other day was an example of that biting the Mets.
At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I simply don’t see this team seriously competing for a title without adding a legitimate high leverage arm that can pitch at the end of games.
They’re just going to have to find a rental closer or lights out setup reliever at the trade deadline. Through no fault of their own, of course. They’re likely going to have to make some other significant moves at the deadline to address their starting pitching depth, as well as once again try to improve their power in the lineup.
For now, though, let’s just appreciate the fact that by nearly every team statistic the Mets should be in the basement of the NL East, yet currently sit a game over .500 and are beginning a series with arguably the worst team in the American League tonight.
Let’s hope they can get things pointed in the right direction in a hurry, and this weekend represents an excellent opportunity against the A’s.
Around the League 🚩
Adley Rutschman crushed a walk-off homer against former Met Trevor May as the O’s bested Oakland 8-7
Tampa Bay tied a Major League record by winning their 13th straight game to start the season
Nick Lodolo went five innings and earned the win in the Reds 6-2 win over the Phillies
The Twins scored nine runs in the top of the first inning to essentially beat the Yankees before the home team had even come to the plate
Javy Baez forgot how many outs there were and was doubled off second base in the Tigers game in Toronto—and was subsequently benched by manager A.J. Hinch