The 1906 Chicago White Sox have a dubious place in baseball lore. They won the World Series in six games against their crosstown rivals, the Cubs, in what was—and still is—widely viewed as an upset. Those White Sox were known as the "Hitless Wonders," batting only .230 as a team during the season, good for dead last in the major leagues.
When applied to the 1906 White Sox, the term "hitless wonders" has a positive connotation, as that team holds a special place for White Sox fans and in baseball history alike. Fast-forward to the present, and the term can equally be used to describe the 2014 New York Mets—albeit with a negative connotation. The 2014 Mets will likely not win a World Series. Instead, 2014 will probably go down as another in series of disappointing years marked by frustration and offensive futility
Mets fans don’t have to be reminded how the offensive woes have persisted as we approach September. In fact, the offensive numbers are downright awful since the All-Star break—notwithstanding Wednesday afternoon's outburst—and it is probably not far-fetched to say they have reached their nadir. Let’s look at some numbers, reflecting performances both by the team and the players individually.
- The Mets had four hits or fewer in five consecutive games played on August 14 through 18. The last team to do this was the 2004 Mets. This stretch really was a microcosm of the entire season, in which hitting has been problematic for this team. It seems that multiple pieces of the starting lineup have been slumping at any given time.
- Since the All-Star break, the Mets are dead last in the majors in batting average (.210), last in runs per game (3.0), and last in slugging percentage (.304), with 58 extra-base hits.
- Also since the All-Star Break, the Mets are hitting .251 with runners in scoring position and have struck out a whopping 239 times. Their on-base percentage as a team is .275.
- So, we’re looking at a slash line of .210/.275/.304 over 31 games since the All-Star break. Not a small sample size, mind you, and if these were the numbers for an individual player, it would warrant a demotion to the minors.
- Regular season rankings are as follows: 26th overall in runs (474), 29th overall in batting average (.236), 23rd overall in on-base percentage (.307), and 29th overall in slugging percentage (.354). Again, putrid numbers that would warrant a demotion for an individual player.
Individual Mets players
- Over the course of the season, Daniel Murphy has consistently hit well, but even he has fallen prey to the team-wide hitting doldrums lately. Murphy has five hits in his last 28 at-bats (.179) covering the Mets' recent home stand, including his ninth-inning double against the Cubs on Monday. Lately, he looks like he needs a day or two off. That said, he’s still among the league leaders in hits and has been at or near .300 for a good portion of the season.
- The power hitters (and I use that term loosely) have been affected the worst, although Lucas Duda has held his own for the most part. During the month of August, Duda is 16-for-61 with four home runs, batting .262. Duda really is the lone power bat in the lineup at this stage, having set career marks in home runs and RBIs. The numbers are more than adequate, but unfortunately, you need production from more than one guy.
- The much-maligned Curtis Granderson’s numbers in August: 11-for-71 (.158) with only one extra-base hit. He has only 20 hits since the All-Star break. It is probably safe to say that he should be moved from the leadoff spot, possibly to 6th in the batting order. Save for his hot streak—which occurred mostly in the month of May—Granderson has been a disappointment hitting-wise for this team.
- David Wright’s down season has received a great deal of attention lately, whereby there has been much speculation as to how badly his left shoulder is injured. Wright has downplayed the seriousness of the injury, but did take some time off after recently being hit by a pitch in the very area giving him problems. His power numbers are way down, with only eight home runs on the year.
The question on Mets fans’ minds is: How can the front office improve the lineup? I'm sure you guys have some ideas. The Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan Contest is still a couple of months away, but what would you do to improve the Mets' offense for 2015?