This season has been weird. Not even because of COVID, either. The first half of the season was good, not great. The pitching was phenomenal, so we didn't have to score 8 runs a game to win. DeGrom looked like he was headed for another Cy Young Award, nobody could touch him. Pete was swinging for the fences with some success, the Bench Mob consisted of mostly Syracuse level players that just happened to stumble upon MLB jerseys that week. And we won games with them in exciting fashion. All of that coupled with leading the NL East and looking like it was our division...
That's until the Mets became something else.
After the All-Star break, slumps aren't uncommon. Pitching performances can sometimes get wonky before they get back in the groove. But the Mets took things to another level. Almost everyone started slumping. We drafted Kumar Rocker, to a huge reaction from the fanbase, only to have his arm be a little Scott Boras shady. DeGrom, Lindor, McNeil, Conforto, if they wore a Mets uniform this season, they've probably been hurt. Conforto came back up and started such a big slump, fans wanted him on a bus to Syracuse. His cautious approach did great to run up pitch counts, but nothing when he would watch a curveball break away from his outstretched bat. We started Jared Eickhoff. Eickhoff, who has an ERA over 8, must've confused his pitching duties with Dave Jauss at the Home Run Derby because he was letting them tee off.
As the trade deadline loomed, fans clamored that Dom Smith, J.D. Davis, Conforto, or one of the prized prospects would be shipped away for Kris Bryant or pitching help. And while Bryant didn't land here, "Boom or Bust" Javy Baez found his way to Queens for the Mets 5th prospect, Pete Crow-Armstrong. Baez was a hell of a consolation prize. Baez homered in his first game with the Mets, which pumped the crowd up. Maybe they were on to something? It didn't turn out that way. The starters were getting whacked and whacked early. MLB All Star Taijuan Walker has been anything but the steal he was in the first half. Stroman has been increasingly hit and miss. An 8 inning dominant start in Cincinnati dropped his ERA to 2.59, as of August 11th, it sits at 2.83. The problem isn't that he's been getting tagged for 4 runs or more as has happened to Walker in 4 of his 5 starts since June 18th. It's been the...all together now..."OFFENSE."
The 2021 New York Mets offense looks like it's trying to tank, the pitching staff sometimes keeps them afloat. The '21 Mets have a stat of 3.75 runs per game. If the season was to end today, that would be the 2nd lowest runs per game stat since the 1992 Mets team, who went 72-90. To keep perspective, the Mets runs against per game, which is 3.91, is actually the 4th lowest since 1992.
So what can they do to fix it post-deadline?
"End the slumps" would be too easy to say. It's a given. Get healthy is also a given. Carlos Carrasco returning to a steady starter would be a good start, DeGrom and Syndergaard returning in time to help would do wonders and take pressure off of two pitchers who are not aces in Walker and Stroman. Lindor playing next to Baez, while McNeil mans third, would take pressure off of J.D. Davis to be the hero. They could call up AA slugger prospect Mark Vientos to see what he can do at the majors considering Brett Baty still needs more time. The pitching prospects are even less ready. This team needs run production, and maybe Vientos can provide some spark.
Imagine a healthy line up, a healthy pitching staff, and some consistency in the bullpen. That's a team that could be annoying for the Luxury Tax Mega Powers in the West. But the Mets would have to get there first. The hype the Phillies were getting for beating up the Nationals that traded everyone not named Soto, helped them coast into a NL East lead battle with the Mets. Now, the race is on. Can the Mets get healthy and put themselves in position to take things back? It's part of being a Mets fan. The rollercoaster of emotions. Happy, sad, anger, full scale bewilderment.
We're in the bewilderment and anger portion probably.