Not the Start I Was Hoping For

Yesterday I wrote that the Mets are starting to show the characteristics of a mediocre team. They continued that trend last night by allowing themselves to be pretty much shut down by a very unexceptional pitching staff. They also continued the first week trend of not getting big hits. They had a little momentum after taking a pair of games in Boston, and they gave it all back with two lackluster losses at home. And so it goes.

I was watching some of last night's effort and thinking about how much I wanted baseball to come back. I have to keep reminding myself of that, otherwise I might start asking myself if it was worth it. I can't pretend to be surprised by any of this, really. When I first heard the news that Syndergaard was getting Tommy John my first thought was that they had lost their one real chance to be really good. And that was before Marcus Stroman tore his calf muscle.

I realize that we're still only 7 games into the season, but that's the equivalent of 19 games into a 162 game season. There's a lot less time to figure things out and right the course. And I'm not liking some of what I'm seeing so far.
  • Mets batters have struck out 64 times in 7 games. Two of the best hitters on the ream, Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto are tied for second on the ream with 9 apiece. Conforto is striking out in just under 1/3 of his plate appearances and Alonso is whiffing about 28% of the time. The big winner in the lineup is our full-time DH, Yoenis Cespedes, who has struck out 12 times in only 25 plate appearances, just under 50%.

  • Speaking of Cespedes, the good news is 2 HR in the first week. The bad news? Both were solo, and represent his only 2 RBIs. He only has 4 hits all told, the other two were singles. He still looks pretty slow when he get on base, and doesn't look all that close to playing any LF.

  • The team has 4 errors so far. All of them were committed by Jeff McNeill at 3B. He hasn't looked good on some of his throws, and Alonso has not helped him out any at first base. A couple of those bad throws really should have been picked.
It's hard to single out any one guy for criticism, but if I was the manager I would consider giving some other guys a chance to DH a little more often until Cespedes shows some signs that he's capable of still producing. He's 34 years old, missed all of last year and only played half of 2017. Maybe he's not superman after all.

The Mets are playing 4 in Atlanta and then they're moving on to Washington. If they play the way they have this past week, they could be in big trouble. As Yogi Berra once said, "it's getting late early."

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Apparently Rob Manfred has warned the Players Association that the season is hanging on a thread. With a couple of Cardinals players testing positive and tonight's Cardinals - Brewers game postponed, we might be one more teamwide outbreak from seeing the season brought down.

One thing noted in the above quoted piece is the fact that the players are still not wearing masks, high-fiving each other and spitting. There also seems to be some questionable decision making by some young players on the road.

Look, I was pretty stupid in my twenties, convinced that I was bulletproof and not always making the correct decisions when it came to drinking large amounts of alcohol while in the presence of pretty girls that were also drinking large amounts of alcohol. The league seems to have reconciled itself to doing more policing of players on road trips, and that's probably what it will take to get compliance out of everyone. Because that's the basic problem with a voluntary system - you only need one or two guys to act stupidly and it fails.

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In an update on prospects in The Athletic, Keith Law wasn't exactly waxing poetic over David Peterson's major league debut.
...Peterson was 91-94 mph with some late movement, but not sink, surprising for a supposed sinkerballer, with a solid-average changeup at 83-86 mph that worked when he got it up or kept it below the zone, but not when he left it over the middle. He also showed a fringe-average slider at 82-84 mph and below-average curveball at 73-75 mph, neither of which showed good spin...
Pretty harsh, but some of it was stuff I noticed. Peterson clearly wasn't getting sink on his sinker, getting more flyballs than groundballs. And his command wasn't great. The Mets claim they see a potential #3 starter in Peterson, while Law said "he's got work to do to be more than a fifth/sixth starter."

What I saw was a kid that has a chance to be a major league starting pitcher, but I would agree with Law that he has a lot of work to do. It seems like the Mets are going to go start to start with him right now, and I get that. In a perfect world he would be in Triple-A gaining some experience this season, but the reality of the world we're living in this year is far from perfect. I'm glad the kid is at least getting a chance to develop a little, while prospects further away from the major leagues may be looking at pretty much a lost year.

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With the extra inning rule and now 7 inning games in double headers, MLB is taking on more of the characteristics of Little League ball. While I understand the reasoning behind it, it also makes me a little sad. Maybe the next step is team sponsorships? The Perkins Hardware Store Mets. The Johnson Funeral Home Yankees. I hope Luis Rojas took Edwin Diaz out for ice cream after his disappointing 1/3 of an inning last night.

That's it for me to day. I guess I sounded pretty pessimistic about the Mets in this post. I'm still hopeful that they can play better than they've show so far. If I wasn't able to hold onto hope, I probably wouldn't have lasted this long rooting for this team.

So, please stay safe, be well and take care. I'll be back tomorrow.


 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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