Mets settle for doubleheader split as concerns over the offense mount
The Mets went just 3-for-16 with RISP during the doubleheader
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets settled for a doubleheader split with the Cardinals on Tuesday, taking game one 3-1 (box) while dropping game two 4-3 (box)
Trevor Williams gave the Mets four splendid innings in game one, allowing just four hits while striking out six, and the bullpen allowed only a run over five innings of relief
Taijuan Walker allowed three runs over five innings in game two, and while Adonis Medina, Joely Rodriguez and Adam Ottavino combined to allow no earned runs in relief, the Mets were plagued by two passed balls in the ninth from Tomás Nido, who allowed the decisive run to score for St. Louis
The Mets did register two more RBI with two outs in the doubleheader, but combined for just six runs while going 3-for-16 with 16 runners left on-base in the twin bill
Brandon Nimmo was hit by a pitch in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader with the ball having ricocheted off his knee and thigh - x-rays were negative and he hopes to be available on Wednesday
Jacob deGrom (stress reaction in shoulder) received another MRI to determine his progress, and he will continue to build stamina and velocity as his throwing program continues to ramp up in Port St. Lucie
Roster Moves 📰
OF Starling Marte placed on the bereavement list
RHP Steve Nogosek recalled from Triple-A Syracuse
RHP Adonis Medina served as the team's 27th man for the doubleheader on Tuesday
RHP Adonis Medina has not allowed a run in any of his three relief outings this season - he has fanned six batters with no walks over 6.1 IP
INF/OF Jeff McNeil has now registered 13 multi-hit games on the year
RHP Adam Ottavino has been unscored upon in six of his seven outings in May
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (24-14) vs Cardinals (20-16)
Where: Citi Field - Flushing, NY
Starters: RHP Max Scherzer (4-1, 2.66 ERA) vs. RHP Jordan Hicks (1-3, 4.15 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Breaking down the mounting concerns with the Mets offense 📝
Did the Mets offense exit the April Highway at Panic City?
As the days have warmed, the bats have cooled with the team sporting a .239/.306/.374 line over 16 games in May. Yes, the club is 9-7 during that span but that’s largely attributed to their pitching and defense preventing runs as the Mets have won three one-run games and have allowed three runs or less seven times in those 16 games.
Built into that line are concerning trends inside the Mets offense, that which includes 108 runners left on-base during that span. While they are averaging 4.25 runs scored per game this month, they’ve registered just three games with double-digit hits and have scored three runs or less on eight occasions during that span.
They’re hitting just .207 with runners in scoring position since May 6 specifically as well.
The Mets are also not hitting for consistent power, managing just 13 home runs this month and 42 extra-base hits overall, which explains the .374 slugging percentage in their line.
There’s been a lot of finger pointing specifically at Francisco Lindor and Eduardo Escobar and those two bringing down the offense. While individual criticism is unquestionably warranted for their performances this month (Lindor is hitting .150, Escobar .167), the lineup has generally become dysfunctional top-to-bottom thanks to a lack of consistent power, an inability to hit with the bases loaded (they’re 5-for-25 with the bases loaded this season) and either an unwillingness or inability (or both) to steal bases and be the first-to-third team the Mets branded themselves as during the season’s first month.
To put that into perspective, the Mets stole 11 bases in as many games to open the regular season, averaging 5.1 runs per game during that span. Since then, they’ve stolen just four bases in their last 27 games, averaging 4.1 runs per game.
It’s not to say there’s a direct correlation of course but it can’t be a coincidence either. When a team becomes less aggressive on the bases and is more station-to-station, it takes more hits and walks to produce a single run which inevitably lowers the probability of scoring runs amidst the scoring opportunities they have.
Then of course is the mystery against left-handed pitching. I wrote the other day this was a severe vulnerability for this team, and while they did get to Robbie Ray on Sunday, they’re hitting just .207 against lefties this season and continue to be exploited late in games as a result. A lot of that can be attributed to Pete Alonso’s mysterious problems against southpaws (.161/.278/.258, 36 PA) and JD Davis struggling in that department as well (.148/..281/.222, 32 PA) but it’s not just them struggling against southpaws.
And with Starling Marte away from the team for the time being and the Mets carrying a lefty-heavy bench, this weakness only becomes more exposed.
There is reason for optimism, of course.
Offense usually goes in ebbs and flows (at least most of the time, last year being the exception for the Mets) and the Mets are heading to Coors Field this weekend, presenting an opportunity for the bats to perk up. While there’s no sign of Lindor’s malaise ending anytime soon (which is seriously concerning after the year he had in 2021 overall), Marte, Escobar and Mark Canha are trending in the right direction and Jeff McNeil continues to convince he has returned to his All-Star form.
And don’t forget Alonso, who continues to drive in runs (his 29 RBI are tied for the league lead) despite his struggles versus left-handed pitching.
Also, the Mets continue to make a lot of contact. They’re only striking out 7.7 times per game this month. Yes, the contact isn’t particularly hard, and they can’t spend a season hitting Texas Leaguers and finding holes - they’ll eventually have to square up more and make more meaningful contact. But as long as the strikeouts don’t trend upward, there’s every reason to believe the contact will solidify, which in-turn will perk up their power and production.
Of course, it might help if Major League Baseball placed a bulk order for the balls they used between 2015-2021.
Around the League 🚩
The Astros hit five home runs against Red Sox RHP Nathan Eovaldi in the second inning on Tuesday in their 13-4 rout of Boston at Fenway Park
OF Aaron Judge belted two more home runs to raise his season total to 14 against the Orioles on Tuesday night at Camden Yards
OF Mookie Betts broke out for two homers against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium
DH Robinson Canó delivered a key hit in San Diego’s 3-0 win over the Phillies
Why do you think Lindor is struggling so much lately? Is it his approach at the plate? The pressure of meeting expectations? Or just an early season slump?