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RISP fails Mets once again as ghosts of 2022 haunt their offense
The Mets failed to come through with a 9th inning rally on Tuesday night. Plus, how the struggles of the offense last season have carried over early on.
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets offense went silent in their 4-2 loss to the Padres on Tuesday night (box)
After getting the tying runs into scoring position with two outs in the 9th, rookie C Francisco Álvarez struck out swinging vs LHP Josh Hader to end the night
New York’s struggles on offense continued, going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position
The Mets are now hitting .200 as a team with RISP this season
RHP Dennis Santana was left out for a second inning of relief in a 2-1 game and allowed a two-run home run to Padres SS Xander Bogaerts in the 9th
LHP David Peterson bounced back from a tough start, allowing just two runs while striking out six over 5.2 innings pitched
OF Tim LoCastro is now 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts this season
Injury Updates 🏥
OF Starling Marte (neck strain) returned to the lineup after exiting Sunday’s game following a collision
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (6-6) vs. Padres (7-5)
Where: Citi Field - Flushing, NY
Starters: RHP Tylor Megill (2-0, 1.64 ERA) vs. LHP Blake Snell (0-1, 7.88 ERA)
When: 1:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Ghosts of 2022 are haunting the Mets offense early on… ✍🏻
When the Mets elected to mostly bring back the same lineup that they trotted out there for a majority of the 2022 season, there were some that were concerned some of their struggles would carry over into this season.
While the club did finish sixth in runs scored, things were not perfect for this offense last season – especially during their stretch run.
Despite having a top-10 scoring offense, the Mets really struggled to hit for power consistently last season as they finished 8th in the National League in home runs and 15th in all of baseball. New York’s offense was also fairly reliant on getting two out hits with runners in scoring position – a volatile statistic year-by-year – as they ranked third in the league in that category, hitting .260 in such situations.
The team also noticeably struggled to hit with any sort of regularity against left-handed pitchers, posting a .717 OPS as a team against southpaws in 2022.
Coming into this season with mostly the same hitters and veteran complimentary bats like Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha only getting one year older, it wasn’t all-that-farfetched to wonder if some of those issues would bleed into the start of this year.
And, while it has only been a handful of games in a marathon season, that has proven to be true in the small sample size we have to work off of right now.
Four of the club’s six losses this season have come in games started by left-handed pitchers, where the Mets are only averaging 2.5 runs across six games. New York currently has a .544 OPS against lefty starters this season.
The club’s issues with power have also continued in a massive way to start the season. Through 12 games, the Mets have only hit 10 home runs (0.83 HR per game) as a team – tied for 17th in all of baseball. Aside from Pete Alonso, who is tied with the major league lead with five home runs, no other hitter on the Mets has more than one home run. Only six players on the club’s roster – Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Starling Marte, Tommy Pham, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha – have homered thus far in 2023.
And if the team isn’t going to hit for power, they’ll need to replicate their productivity in situational spots from most of last season. So far, however, they haven’t been able to do that which is making it incredibly difficult for this team to scratch runs together.
In 100 at-bats this season, New York is hitting an even .200 with runners in scoring position with just six extra-base hits. After stranding a bases loaded, no outs opportunity in the first inning of last night’s game, the team is also now hitting .166 with the sacks full to start this season (zero grand slams).
While the Mets did try to bring in Carlos Correa over the offseason, that seemed to have been more of a last-minute whim by ownership as opposed to the original plan from this front office and it ultimately didn’t work out thanks to a failed physical. It really seems that this team was entirely comfortable bringing back the same offense that, while productive for the majority of last season, had a lot of holes in it and failed to come up big down the stretch of the regular season and in the playoffs.
Eduardo Escobar is hitting .111/.154/.222 and looks like he may be done after struggling for most of last season prior to September. Francisco Lindor is batting .225. Brandon Nimmo is under the Mendoza line. Even Pete Alonso, despite the homers, has yet to truly get going.
It’s only been 12 games out of 162 but if that seven percent of the season indicates anything, it would be that the concern about the team’s offense that was formed over the last eight months appears to be one that is real. Ultimately, I do expect the likes of Lindor, Marte and Alonso to all improve and for the team to regress to the mean a bit when it comes to situational hitting. The problem is that even if those things do happen, the concerns about the offense will still remain. The teams who hit the most home runs are often the ones that make runs in October and New York simply cannot continue to struggle so badly when a left-hander takes the mound.
The Mets have a chance to infuse some newfound energy and talent into their lineup with the likes of Francisco Álvarez (who is up with the team now), Brett Baty, Mark Vientos and maybe even Ronny Mauricio, as the latter three are all currently tearing up Triple-A for the club. While unproven, this is the only viable way that the team can make a noticeable improvement to their lineup at this stage of the season (shy of simply hoping that things will get better).
Regardless of what they do with their prospects or how things regress (or progress) to the mean, something tells me that offense will be an area that this front office will have to look at come July. For now, we’ll have to hope that this is nothing more than a small sample size.
Around the League 🚩
The Rays ran their season-opening winning streak to 11 games with a 7-2 over the Red Sox — they’re the first team since the 1987 Brewers to open a season with an 11-0 record
Orioles 1B Ryan Mountcastle clubbed two home runs and drove in nine runs to tie a franchise record in the team defeated the A’s 12-8
Marlins 2B Luis Arraez hit for the first cycle in franchise history in the club’s 8-4 victory over the Phillies
Pirates 2B Ji Hwan Bae blasted a three-run walk-off home run to knock off the Astros by a 7-4 score
The Yankees blew out the Guardians, 11-2, behind Franchy Cordero’s third home run of the season