The Mets lost their first series of the 2022 season this week, dropping two out of three to the Mariners over the weekend. However, during the week, the Mets did take two out of three from the Nationals, making their record an even .500 for the week.
As a group, the offense faltered this week more than most. The Mets’ team 93 wRC+ for the week is near the bottom of the pack in baseball (24th). They continue to struggle mightily against left handed pitching, with Friday night’s game against Marco Gonzales perhaps being the most striking recent example. Francisco Lindor continues to slump and Eduardo Escobar is slumping even worse. Dominic Smith is giving the Mets next to nothing with the bat and the Mets’ primary catcher has gone down with an injury. However, Brandon Nimmo had a standout week and Pete Alonso continues to be pretty consistent. Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot of green to find on this week’s meter.
Let’s start with the Mets’ catching situation, since that was a big piece of news this week. James McCann, who collected one hit in four plate appearances and also had a key go-ahead sac fly in Tuesday’s game, missed a few games in a row with soreness in his left wrist. He seemed confident that he wouldn’t be sidelined long. However, testing revealed a fracture of his hamate bone, which will shut him down for about six weeks. Although McCann was not producing much with the bat, it was still a big blow to the Mets catching situation, which has now reached the bottom of its depth.
Tomás Nido is now the Mets’ primary catcher. Nido collected two hits in twelve plate appearances this week, including an RBI single in Thursday’s rubber game victory against the Nationals. Remarkably, Nido also walked twice this week and those mark his first two walks of the season. All of that is good for a 76 wRC+ for the week, which is nothing remarkable, but the Mets will probably take that at this point from Nido, who looks to hold the fort while McCann is out.
Meanwhile, the Mets called up 2021 walk-off hero Patrick Mazeika to serve as the backup catcher and Mazeika picked up right where he left off last season, blasting a go-ahead home run in Saturday’s comeback victory against the Mariners. It was one of two hits in five plate appearances for Mazeika; the other one came in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game, in which the Mets scored two runs and almost pulled off another miracle comeback. With one out and a run already in, Mazeika singled to keep the line moving. I very nearly gave Mazeika a fireball for the sustained Mazeika Magic, but I think his struggles behind the plate catching Chris Bassitt on Saturday should be acknowledged here. Mazeika is not as good of a receiver as either McCann or Nido, but given Bassitt’s extensive arsenal, it was certainly a tough first assignment for him. Hopefully he will work with his pitching staff and improve in that area.
We’ll keep the good vibes going with acknowledging the couple of hitters in the lineup that are hot this week, starting with Brandon Nimmo, who is the lone fireball recipient this week. Nimmo has been a force at the top of the Mets’ lineup all season long and that is especially true this week. The Mets’ on-base machine posted a .500 OBP this week with a team-leading 229 wRC+ for the week. He collected ten hits, which leads the team, and walked three times. He also drove in three runs and shares the team lead in runs scored with four. It was Nimmo’s RBI double in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game that brought the Mets within a run in their near-miracle comeback. Nimmo also logged multi-hit games on both Wednesday and Friday. Nimmo now holds a 161 wRC+ for the season, which leads the Mets among qualified hitters. Nimmo’s 1.7 fWAR is third in the National League.
Pete Alonso also continues to hit, although not quite at the blistering pace of last week. While his week ended on a sour note with a strikeout in the ninth inning with the bases loaded in yesterday’s game, he still had a very good week overall. He posted a 135 wRC+ this week with five hits and a team-leading five walks. He scored three runs and drove in three runs. Alonso hit a mammoth home run in the first inning of Wednesday’s game, which is unfortunately probably overlooked due to the disaster that followed in that game, but it put the Mets ahead 3-0 at the time.
Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from here, more or less. Dominic Smith in particular continues to struggle monumentally with the bat, to the point where his playing time has begun to suffer. Smith did not reach base in any of his eight plate appearances this week.
As a result of Smith’s struggles, J.D. Davis has seen more playing time and more at-bats against right-handed pitching. Unfortunately, he has not fared much better. Davis hit just .133 this week in 18 plate appearances, but the couple of hits he did log had an impact. Yesterday in the fourth inning, Davis hit his first triple of the year, which drove in two runs and brought the Mets within a run. J.D.’s single in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s game was also key in the Mets’ sixth-inning rally in which they took the lead. Davis also walked once this week.
Jeff McNeil provided the crucial RBI double in that aforementioned sixth-inning rally on Tuesday and shares the team lead with four RBIs overall this week, despite pedestrian numbers with the bat. McNeil was also a part of yesterday’s ninth-inning rally, contributing an RBI single that made the score 8-6 and kept the line moving. McNeil collected five hits and two walks overall this week, good for a 73 wRC+. Given McNeil’s approach this season of simply trying to hit it where they ain’t, I think a drop in power numbers is to be expected, but in this now two week long skid, he hasn’t hit for a high enough average either.
Starling Marte has cooled off some since his raging hot week last week, posting an 86 wRC+ in 26 place appearances this week. His six hits this week are second to Nimmo for the team lead and four of those six were for extra bases, including a triple in Saturday’s game. Marte shares the team lead with four runs scored this week and also stole a base. Unfortunately, the flip side to all of this is that he struck out a ton this week (30.8% K rate). In the middle of rallies in both Mets losses over the weekend was a Marte strikeout. Down one run in the seventh with men on second and third on Friday night, Paul Sewald struck out Marte to end that threat. Marte also struck out for the second out in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game with the Mets down a run and runners on second and third.
Similarly, Francisco Lindor got his knocks this week, but also struck out way too much (the exact same rate as Marte: 30.8%). It was Lindor who drove in Marte on Saturday with an RBI single in the first inning that put the Mets on the board. He also was responsible for putting the Mets on the board yesterday with a long solo homer. He drove in the only run of Friday night’s game with a sacrifice fly. Overall, Lindor shares the team lead in RBIs with McNeil with four for the week; he also stole a base and walked three times (one of them was an intentional walk). However, a .190/.269/.333 batting line with a 65 wRC+ is certainly not going to cut it; Lindor is still slumping and will hopefully fully turn it around soon.
Of the Mets’ outfield contingent, it is Mark Canha who is getting the most rest, probably to make sure he stays healthy and productive. Thus far, it has worked. Canha collected three hits and a walk in 17 plate appearances this week, good for a 108 wRC+. He scored four runs, matching the team lead in that category, and drove in three runs. Canha had a huge day on Thursday when he went 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs, and two runs scored in the Mets’ 4-1 rubber game victory over the Nationals.
Travis Jankowski continues to be a solid defensive replacement and pinch runner, but he did not reach base in any of his three plate appearances this week. But, other bench mob member Luis Guillorme had two hits and a walk in the eight plate appearances he amassed this week across the two games he started. Both hits came in Wednesday’s lopsided loss.
Sadly, I cannot put off discussing Eduardo Escobar any longer; he gets the unfortunate distinction of earning a second straight poop emoji this week. Unlike Dominic Smith who didn’t really play enough to have much of a negative impact with his poor play, Escobar’s putrid 24 wRC+ came over 21 plate appearances this week. Of all the regulars, Escobar is mired the deepest in a slump right now after a strong start to the season. Of note, he did triple to spark the rally in the ninth inning yesterday, but that was about the only notable contribution from him this week. Overall, he had two hits, walked twice, and scored three runs this week.