Two gut-wrenching extra inning losses and a drubbing handed out by the Los Angeles Angels earlier today highlight the first couple of weeks of the New York Mets 2014 season. However, the Mets’ record following the first 12 games has to be considered a success considering the circumstances.
While a 5-7 record is nothing to be proud of, when the Mets’ struggles at the plate and on mound are taken into account, it could have been a whole lot worse.
It’s no surprise the Mets would struggle from the plate this season, but their performance through the first two weeks is significantly worse than projected. The Mets have plate posted a triple slash line of .207/.283/.328 ranking them 29th in MLB in AVG, 28th in OBP and 29th in SLG as of Sunday night. They also lead the league in strikeout percentage, striking out a whopping 26.6% of the time at the plate so far this season.
It’s not hard to find the cause of these numbers, as some of the worst offenders have been the team’s most significant contributors. Third baseman David Wright is hitting .229 and has posted an OPS of .605 while outfielder Curtis Granderson has hit .159 while posting a .607 OPS and striking out in over 34% of his at-bats. This is not how the Mets envisioned the middle of the order performing. Perhaps most disappointing, however, has been catcher and breakout candidate, Travis d’Arnaud, who is hitting .152 with a .495 OPS, this after his most productive stretch of the early season.
While the Mets’ pitching staff hasn’t been nearly as bad as their hitting counterparts, they have still underperformed. The Mets staff has a combined for a 4.97 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP good for fifth and seventh worst in MLB respectively, to go along with a league worst 21 homeruns allowed.
Both Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee were projected to continue their development this season and while there is still a strong possibility they will, their success has yet to materialize. Wheeler has posted a 5.73 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP, thanks in large part to the 15 hits he has given up in only 11 innings pitched. Gee has a 5.03 ERA and has already given up five homeruns in only 19.2 innings pitched.
The Mets’ poor performance can be attributed to poor play, but a difficult schedule hasn’t done the team any favors. The Mets have faced the two frontrunners in the National League East, the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals. They also faced the Cincinnati Reds who have reached the postseason the previous two seasons and the Angels, who while not on the same caliber as these other teams, have been picked by many to reach the playoffs out of the talented American League West.
Injuries haven’t helped during this tough stretch as outfielder Chris Young has yet to appear in a major league game with the Mets and closer Bobby Parnell had to be shut down after one ineffective outing.
I remember when this post was supposed to be positive…
With all of that said, even with their on-field performance and a run difference of negative 16, the Mets have found a way to cobble together wins and find themselves only two games under .500. Plus, the schedule will get easier and players like Wright, Granderson and Wheeler can only improve from here, right?