Not too long ago, Mets fans were second-guessing the decision to sign Luis Castillo to such a long-term deal. But Castillo is off to an amazing start this year, beginning last night 4th in the league in hitting, and he continued his hot streak last night against the Cardinals. David Wright, on the other hand, is 3rd in the league in strikeouts. And while his defensive skills only get more enjoyable to watch with every game, he is definitely missing something at the plate. Where is the David Wright we have all come to know and love?
There’s no doubt that this Mets team has the kind of offense that can literally silence the opposition and their fans. Going into last night’s game, the first six hitters in the batting order (Reyes through Church) and the eight hitter (Castillo) ranked 3rd in the league in on-base percentage, yet only 11th in runs scored. And in terms of RBIs, Carlos Delgado alone had driven in more than a quarter of the Mets runs, 25.5% to be precise. Granted, we are only three weeks into the season, so we are dealing with a very small sample. However, these can be signs of an offense that is not firing on all cylinders, and the question becomes, why? It’s not fatigue; it’s only April. There hasn’t been any off-field drama to drain them. And they’re not plagued by injuries. So what’s the deal?
But why get all distraught only 13 games into the season … um, right? The team definitely has an idea out there; they’re getting men on base. And common sense dictates that you have to get ‘em on before you can get ‘em in. So, is this team hitting in the clutch? Better question … what would one consider to be clutch hitting? Is it only when you already have runners on and you drive them in? Or is it also actually getting them on to be driven in? Consider this for a moment … at the start of last night’s play, the Mets were 3rd in the league with the bases empty. Clutch. However, with runners on they were 21st in the league and with RISP they were 24th. Not so clutch.
Then there’s the pitching. The bullpen may be more solid than it was last year, (and sometimes that’s even questionable) but the starting pitching is still too “iffy” for my taste. With the exception of Santana, who else can we truly count on to go out there and give us seven strong innings, 110 pitches, and his heart and soul out on the field? Will the real Mets pitching staff please stand up … and show us some consistency and maturity? Geez …How do you expect to gain any momentum if you’re not getting quality starts every night?
On another note, does anyone else feel bad for Daniel Murphy? He plays so hard and you can see that he wants nothing more than to succeed with the Mets, but he’s not playing a good left field. It’s bad enough that he had to learn a new position, as he never had a shot at third base with David Wright having secured the position for decades to come. But now Murphy’s not even hitting or running the bases all that well either, getting picked off first base in the first inning last night. Maybe someone should give him some time off, to regroup mentally, before his teammates and his fans end up resenting him unnecessarily.
And speaking of running the bases, did the Mets forget how to SLIDE last night? Both Murphy and Beltran chose to go in home standing up, and both plays proved costly for the Mets. Maybe they didn’t want to get hurt. Maybe they didn’t want to get dirty. Maybe they were just too darn lazy. Something else to be concerned about? Hmmmm …