The story recently, as it's been pretty much the entire season, has been the offense. In their last 11 games, the Mets have scored 30 runs. That's less than 3 runs per game. 10 of those runs came in the 2 games they managed to win over that stretch. That leaves 20 runs in those 9 losses, just barely over two runs a game.
Pete Alonso wants all of us Mets fans to keep believing in the team. Luis Rojas still believes in the team. Hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum still believes in his hitters. Nothing wrong with any of that. You wouldn't want any of these guys to quit on the season.
The problem, of course, is that these offensive woes have been ongoing since the beginning of the season. The struggles with leaving men on base go back even further. The 2020 Mets were a better offensive team than this iteration. Still, they had troubles driving in runners, too — their pitching was just so bad last year that failing to capitalize on base runners didn't stand out as egregiously in games they were losing big.
The Mets managed to get to 10 games over .500 in mid-June and look very much like a potential Division winner because their pitching carried them. It seemed inevitable that the pitching would come back to earth at some point, and the offense would have to take up a fair share of the load. That never really happened. Meanwhile, effective pitchers were dropping like flies, and Jacob deGrom has only managed to make 15 starts.
For all of that, including the recent misery, the Mets are still a game over .500 and 2.5 games out of first place. They've had a lot of things go wrong for them this season. If the breaks even out a little, the Mets can still contend for the Division.
Of course, I've been waiting all season for the breaks to even out. I've lived long enough to understand that there's no guaranty of that happening. You could flip a coin a dozen times in a row and have it come up tails. You might think that it's really due to come up heads next time, but mathematical probability still dictates that there's a 50-50 chance of getting tails again. Unfortunately, the bad breaks may very well continue to outweigh the good ones for the Mets over the next month-and-a-half.
At some point, if things don't turn around, you wonder what comes next for this club. When the Mets dropped out of contention in previous years, you could hope for prospects to be promoted to provide some missing late-season energy. However, there are no exciting Minor League prospects even close to Major League ready in the organization. Their best kids are in Double-A and Single-A. I guess you can hope for a sleeper like Jeff McNeil was when he was first called up in 2018. It's not very likely to happen.The Mets might decide to take another look at Khalil Lee, the young outfielder they traded for this past winter. He looked very much overmatched early in the season during an emergency call-up, but Khalil has put up a solid .271/.447/.447 in Triple-A Syracuse this year. He has the look to my admittedly untrained eye of more of a potential fourth outfielder than a starter, but he's the one Mets prospect that might be called up for a look if the season continues to go south.
I maintain that Cohen and the new front office were hampered by a late start, thanks to the sale not going through until November. However this season plays out, I expect to see much more out of them this coming winter. I guess that will be a topic for discussion if the Mets can't turn their bad play around and get back into the race over these dwindling weeks of the season. For now, I'm going to stick with "ya gotta believe" for as long as it seems possible.
A brief personal note here. I didn't intend to take a week-long hiatus from writing here. It wasn't the struggles of the Mets that scared me away. After so many decades of rooting for this team, a bad couple of weeks isn't going to deter me.
I had a pair of operations late in June on my neck and my back. Although the recovery seemed painfully slow at times, I have bounced back quite a bit. My doctor cleared me to start walking my dogs in the woods again, to drive, and to start looking for a job. I'm going to be doing some rehab work 2 or 3 times a week. Lisa has a big surgery coming up, also. It's a lot, and it's going to be tricky to balance things for a while.
Today was the first chance I had to really sit down and write for a couple of uninterrupted hours in over a week. I'm not sure how often that chance will come in the near future, but I will continue to post whenever I can carve out the time. If you're a regular reader, please bear with me.
Please be well and take care.