When the Mets got swept by Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee this past Sunday it dropped their season record to 16-18 which put them below the .500 mark for the first time in 2019.
You couldn’t blame Mets fans for thinking of a quote that has long been attributed to the late Yogi Berra–“It’s deja vu all over again” after the disastrous series with the Brewers. In the past two years when the Mets fell below .500 they never rose above it again.
Ironically the Mets’ latest malaise is occurring when the pitching, both starting and relief, which had been atrocious for most of April, was actually performing quite well. The culprits have become poor hitting and shoddy fielding.
The offense, with the exceptions of Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso, has resembled the 2015 days when the heart of the Mets lineup consisted of Eric Campbell and John Mayberry, Jr. and both were hitting under .200.
The defense has been victimized primarily by shortstop Amed Rosario who has become an error machine. On Sunday the normally reliable Keon Broxton misjudged a line drive smacked by Milwaukee’s Orlando Arcia and it proved pivotal in a 3-2 loss.
Adding to the concerns of the Flushing faithful is that starting pitchers Jason Vargas and Steven Matz are reporting ailments. Vargas had to be pulled after four innings Sunday because of hamstring pain while Matz complained of pain in his forearm.
We’re going to quickly find out whether the 2019 Mets are a resilient group or whether the theme for this season will be once again the tag line from those cheesy Life Alert TV commercials, “We’ve fallen and we can’t get up!”
The Mets sent first baseman Dominic Smith down to their Syracuse minor league team. Smith had played well but through no fault of his own was riding the bench because of Pete Alonso’s fine play which netted him the National League Rookie of the Month for April.
The conventional wisdom is that Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen parked Smith there until he can work on a trade. That could be a big mistake. Given that Brandon Nimmo has struggled to hit .200 this season it would behoove Van Wagenen to tell Syracuse manager Tony DeFrancesco to play him in left field as well as at first base.
Smith told me last week that he quit his Dominican Republic winter league team because his manager wouldn’t let him play in the outfield which would have increased his versatility.
One bright spot for the Mets was Noah Syndergaard’s 1-0 complete game victory against the Cincinnati Reds last Thursday in which Syndergaard also provided the offense by smacking a home run. It was arguably the most memorable day for a Mets pitcher at Citi Field since Johan Santana tossed a no-hitter on June 1, 2012.
Travis d’Arnaud who was released by the Mets last week, has been signed as a free agent by his hometown team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets will be on the hook for the majority of his $3 million salary.
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