The 2020 Mets have the best team batting average in the NL. Take off that mask, though, and the ugly truth about this team is exposed.
Yesterday, the Mets somehow managed to lose both ends of a doubleheader against the Miami Marlins without plating a single run.
Falling to 12-16, the Mets are now looking up at the upstart Marlins in the NL East standings, and the table is set for a freefall unless repairs are made internally, or before the August 31 trade deadline.
In yesterday’s fourteen innings of play, the Mets pitching staff pitched well enough to win, surrendering only eight hits and seven runs. True enough, if only the Mets offense hadn’t stayed behind at the hotel in Miami.
But you say the Mets are second to none in batting average in the National League. That’s also a fact. But that’s it, folks, and maybe that’s why those who say batting averages (generally) are overrated have a solid point to make.
Please take off the Mets batting average mask, and it’s not hard to find a snapshot or two to explain the team’s overall offense issues.
The Mets And Their Non-Self Defense
Yesterday, as an example, the Mets sent eighteen batters to the plate with runners in scoring position. You wouldn’t down a bet that none of the runners would score, would you?
Good for you if you did because that’s all the Mets could muster – 0-18, stranding nineteen runners over fourteen innings.
That Mets performance was not, however, an aberration. It’s a trend that’s settled in on a team that essentially has only two players (Dominic Smith and Michael Conforto) getting the job done.
Culled from Baseball-Reference, the chart below reveals a Mets team that is proving itself incapable of scoring runs when the opportunity presents itself.
All of a sudden, the Mets league-leading .266 team batting average doesn’t look so good, does it?
Oh, but wait. What about those healthy on-base percentages? Sorry, they only go to show the Mets as a team failing to drive home runs – and not just moving them up for the next guy to get the job done.
Numbers don’t lie. Besides Smith and Conforto, adding Robinson Cano and J.D. Davis, who is also contributing (check their stats here), the missing link this year has to be – you know who.
Mets And The Elephant In The Gloom
No one in their right baseball mind should have expected a repeat of last year’s record-setting performance from Pete Alonso.
But by the same token, no one can say that 5HR’s, 13RBI, a .232 batting average, and a team-leading 32 strikeouts are acceptable and what the Mets need from the face of their team.
Alonso is not the only star player underperforming in this pandemic shortened season. Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, and Jose Altuve are all struggling to keep above the Mendoza Line, and the list is ever-widening.
Still, when you are putting yourself out there, calling on the league to wear a microphone during games, and ripping off your shirt to celebrate wins – there has to be some expected fallout when things don’t follow the magical course of last season.
Pete Alonso has to be hurting inside, but to his credit, he is choosing to remain, mum, offering no excuses for his play. Is it conceivable to think that, with fans in the stands, Alonso would hear a few boos?
In retrospect, few picked the Mets to win the NL East. A few more picked them to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team. But fewer still believed this was a team that would be struggling to make the 2020 playoffs, even with the expansion of qualifying teams.
Mets 2021: Too Early Or Too Late To Look Forward
The Mets proved last year the second half of a season is equal to the first half with a stunning finish to the 2019 season that left them six games over .500, and a climb from ten games under at the All-Star break.
No Prayers From Heaven, Please
Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen is virtually powerless at this point to add payroll when both the trading deadline and final bids on the Mets sale arrive on the same day – Monday, August 31.
Pie-in-the-sky Mets fans dreamers can envision the Wilpon family opening up the treasury, or what’s left of it, to give the ‘ole “one for the Gipper” try as a parting gift to New York City.
Telling Van Wagenen, do what you have to do to fix this thing, and we’re signing four blank checks to get you started.
Sensible Mets fans, however, know that is the worst possible scenario because it reminds of the free-spending Jeffrey Loria before his sale of the Marlins.
A disaster that MLB permitted and is not likely to repeat in the wake of Derek Jeter‘s purge of Marlin’s payroll to make ends meet when he and his partners bought the team.
Twenty-Two To Play – Who’s To Say
No, these are the 2020 New York Mets stuck in the purgatory of baseball, of their own free will and making.
It’s a season hanging on by a thread and lost in the bravado of months gone by.
It happens. Are the Red Sox as bad as 9-20? That’s what their record says. How about the Phillies and the Nationals, who are still trying to find themselves?
Every season always comes with surprises. Are the Padres and White Sox about to make their first playoff appearance in (I don’t know) how many years? Are the Oakland A’s and Billy Beane still capable of pulling a rabbit from underneath their hat? It seems so.
Of the Mets, all we can say is they are disappointing. They should be better, but the team we see on the field is lacking that one guy who can carry the team offensively to produce runs.
Can they turn it around? Sure, they can. Just ask Bobby Thompson, Ralph Branca, or Bucky Dent.
But nothing is going to change until the team starts to hit in the clutch. Get all the hits you want, have the highest batting average, but nothing means anything until runs cross the plate.