The Mets have some wondering if their success is all smoke and mirrors, and soon the cover will come off. Ain’t gonna happen, and here’s why.
Soon, Mets manager Luis Rojas will have his coaches bring players from his Bench Mob, one by one, into his office. Tasked with the onus of telling them with a shake of their hand and a promise they’ll be back to help the team, he’ll thank them for their service while handing each a plane ticket bound for Syracuse, the home of the Mets Triple-A team.
Yennsy Diaz (RP), Patrick Mazeika (1B), Khalil Lee (RF), and Sean Reid-Foley (RP) made the long walk to Rojas’s office yesterday while centerfielder Cameron Maybin was designated for assignment, ending his days with the Mets organization.
A sad day for these players, all of whom have helped the Mets persist through some tough times as replacements for injured regulars. They leave behind a Mets team that is now six games over .500 while enjoying a 3.5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves, together with a five-game win streak.
Alonso wasted no time, hitting a two-run home run (7) (video below) while driving in four (23). Williams made an outstanding catch and went 1-3 as Jacob deGrom improved his record to 4-2, surrendering only two hits over six solid innings and lowering his ERA to a microscopic 0.71 – lifting the Mets to a convincing 6-2 win over the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
In a year where trips to the MLB injured list — not including COVID cases — are up 30% from this same time in 2019, the Mets have been the league’s poster child on the list with seventeen players out of commission simultaneously.
Still not ready are Mets regulars Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis and Jeff McNeil. Nimmo and Davis could return by the end of this week or early next week, while Conforto and McNeil are out for at least the month of June.
This means that the remaining members of the Bench Mob still have a job to do. Brandon Drury, Jonathan Villar, Jose Peraza, Wilfredo Tovar – all backups in the Mets infield – while Billy McKinney and Mason Williams will be relied on to help man the outfield.
Can The Mets Keep It Going?
No doubt, and it must be said, the Mets have been on the receiving end of some straight-out luck. Every team in the NL East is faltering, and none has a record of .500 or better.
But good teams look only within themselves, and besides, it’s much too early for scoreboard watching.
This road trip has the Mets playing the NL Division-leading San Diego Padres at Petco Park for a weekend series bookended by two sub-par teams, the D-Backs and Orioles (losers of their last 14).
Yu Darvish (5-1 2,16 ERA), Joe Musgrove (4-4 2.08), and Blake Snell, who is off to a slow start in his new league (1-2 5.24), head the Padres rotation that is not yet set for the series against the Mets.
With last night’s win, the Mets improved their away record to 11-15, but the real test is to beat teams with a better than .500 record, where they sit at 2-10.
The Mets Are Getting Some Respect
Let there be no hesitation in saying this Mets team is for real, and the rest of the league is beginning to notice. One National League scout put it this way:
“Going in I had the Mets in the wild card mix,” one NL scout said, “but if you tell me that Marcus Stroman and Edwin Diaz are going to pitch relatively close to the way they’ve pitched so far, I’d make them favorites over the Braves in their division.
“If Stroman is a legit No. 2 starter — and obviously he’s been better than that so far — and Diaz is a shutdown closer again, that gives the Mets a much greater margin for error in overcoming their weaknesses.”
The pitching matchups for tonight’s 9:40 ET start has Marcus Stroman (4-4, 2.47) versus Caleb Smith (2-1, 3.27).
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Stephen Steele This has got to be the most fundamentally sound Mets team we’ve seen in years. They are proof that the old maxims – pitching and defense win games – still rings true. Alderson has finally provided his manager with a correct roster for a team built around pitching. Let’s see how their chemistry is disrupted when below-average defensive players like Davis and Nimmo return and are automatically inserted into the lineup
Heidi Stout I credit some very astute offseason pickups, namely the now extremely popular “illars” and Peraza, with our success during the injury epidemic.
Mark Anthony Ramirez They’re only going to improve as players return and the weather warms up. Also was wondering if all the injuries this year have to do with last year’s shortened season and all that time off from the day-to-day rigors of actually playing. 162 games is a long season and probably a lot of players came out the gate much harder than in years past. There’s a pace to a baseball season that’s unlike any other sport.