Sunday, April 18, 2021

Whatever Happened to Spring?

Well, you win some, you lose some. The New York Mets did both yesterday. They finally won a game for Jacob deGrom in the opener, then lost a real snoozer of a contest in the second game. The Mets offense still seems quite out of synch, despite the late-game heroics in deGrom's start. The second game was a reversion back to the early season struggles. The two runs they scored exactly matched the number of hits they accrued. The only thing likely to get this offense humming is playing regularly and maybe a bit less wintry weather.

Today's forecast for Denver is decent, much better than Friday and yesterday. But there's a scheduled day off tomorrow, and the weather forecast for the Tuesday in Chicago against the Cubs is bleakly familiar: cold, high in the 30s with rain and snow showers. The worst case is that they sit another day; the best case is playing in crappy weather and cold again. Wednesday and Thursday are predicted to feature better weather, but they'll still be quite chilly. To make matters worse, all three games are scheduled as night games. This is just freaking ridiculous. The proposed "Double Hook" rule makes more sense to me than MLB scheduling decisions.

So MLB has chosen to make the Mets play their one series of the year in both Denver and Chicago in April, and those home teams chose to schedule all but today's contest as night games. This includes Thursday's game, even though the Mets have a game against the Nationals at home on Friday. Once again in MLB, the quest for a few more dollars overrules sanity.

This isn't just affecting the Mets hitters. Reliever Jacob Barnes made the team out of spring training based on his strong performance. He's pitched only twice this month so far and has looked bad. Now maybe Barnes won't be able to translate his excellent spring performance into the regular season, but we're sure not going to know how that will play out until he gets a chance to pitch more often than once every 10 days. Robert Gsellman has been with the club since the start and finally got his first appearance yesterday.

It's not just the middle relievers that aren't working enough. In the first 18 days of the season, closer Edwin Díaz leads the bullpen with 5 appearances. Of the main late-inning guys used so far, Trevor May, Miguel Castro, and Jeurys Familia have pitched 4 times, while southpaw Aaron Loup has only been used twice. Díaz pitched yesterday, Loup and Familia Wednesday, while May and Castro last pitched Tuesday. It's not ideal for the team to evaluate their bullpen with all of these days off and infrequent outings.

I know quite a few Mets fans are down on Jacob Barnes after his pitching took them completely out of yesterday's nightcap. He also gave up a run his first time out. I'd just like to have the chance to see what he can do when he has the opportunity to pitch multiple times in the same week.

Well, I'm off to watch the Mets play the Rockies in an actual day game. I'm hoping the Mets' bats warm up a bit in more springlike temperatures. Please stay safe (and warm), be well, and take care.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos.

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