Mets: This Is Why Buck Showalter Is Here – Reflections On Baseball

Buck Showalter - New York Mets manager

While the Mets are besieged with the decimation of the pitching staff, Buck Showalter, to his credit, continues his stoic and determined demeanor.

A quick scan of the Mets Injured List gives cause for any fan to cringe, especially when the Atlantic Braves are off to a torrid start in the National League East (standings).

Mets IL 4/22/2023 - Source: Fangraphs
Mets IL 4/22/2023 – Source: Fangraphs

Fully, three-fifths of the Mets’ starting rotation (Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana, and Carlos Carrasco) cannot take the ball when their turn comes up in the rotation. Edwin Diaz is likely lost for the season and Maz Scherzer will miss his next two starts due to a ten-game suspension inflicted on him by MLB for “excessive” resin on his hands.

In baseball, injuries are a case of mind over matter. And if you don’t mind then it doesn’t matter.

Typically, the Mets manager was very matter-of-fact regarding Scherzer’s ejection, saying that “we’ll let it run its course” (video here) while inferring that we have more important things to deal with at the moment – even to the point of dissuading Scherzer from filing an appeal with MLB.

Showalter: A Perfect Fit For The Mets

This is pure Buck and it’s the main reason the Mets brought him here. He seems to live for these moments when the chips are down, and it falls on him to maintain order and enthusiasm in the Mets clubhouse.

In this way, he is much like former Mets manager Terry Collins.  who, when faced with escalating injuries, took the approach that if you are wearing a major league uniform in the Mets clubhouse, then you are expected to act and play like a major league ballplayer. Babysitting is not required.

Supercharged Pete Alonso (NY Daily News)
Supercharged Pete Alonso (NY Daily News)

A case In point is the bonus given to Showalter and the Mets Friday night by Joey Luccchesi, who when called up as a replacement starter while appearing in a major league game for the first time in nearly two years, pitched the team’s best game of the season, with seven shutout innings in the Mets’ 7-0 victory over the Giants at Oracle Park.

The Mets have, of course, been helped by the timely step-up of Brandon Nimmo (.510 BA, 1.214 OPS in his last seven games) and Pete Alonso (.333 BA, with 6 HR, and 15 RBI over the last two weeks). But as we know, the name of the game in baseball is pitching, pitching, and then more pitching.

There will come a time when the Mets will display the one-two punch of Verlander and Scherzer, long heralded over the winter but yet to be seen.

In the meantime, Buck Showalter will not be pleading with Billy Eppler, the Mets general manager, to “find me some pitching.” Instead, he will welcome players like Lucchesi at the door with a simple “Glad you’re here – now go out there and pitch like we know you can” – and mean it.

In the same vein, he will not be sitting on the edge of his waiting for Justin Verlander to throw his first pitch in a Mets uniform, nor will he buy into Edwin Diaz’s claim that he hopes to be available for the postseason.

Mets: One Day At A Time

Accordingly, Showalter will look at the Mets’ upcoming schedule (below), and like everyone else, he’ll notice the two blank spots in the rotation for next Tuesday and Thursday against Washington. But his sense of baseball tells him there are two games to play before then and the Mets need to win both.

Source: ESPN
Source: ESPN

In baseball, injuries are a case of mind over matter. And if you don’t mind then it doesn’t matter. Yes, the Mets have been struck by lightning to begin the season. But a seasoned manager like Buck Showalter knows the season is not even a month old with 140 games to play.

He also knows chances are there will be more injuries. It is a way of life with professional athletes. However, his job is to move on and do the very best, he can with the 26 players assembled in his clubhouse on any given day.

The Mets are damn lucky to have him.


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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.