It’s no secret the New York Mets have struggled to hit the long ball in 2011, and really the since Citi Field opened in 2009 home runs have dropped rapidly for the Mets.
A number of issues have contributed to the severe power outage that has hit Queens the past three seasons.
In 2009, perennial 35+ home run man; first basemen Carlos Delgado was lost for the season in May. In the same year outfield slugger Carlos Beltran went down with a nagging knee injury in June and was lost till September. Without much protection in the lineup and the “Great Wall of Flushing” out in leftfield playing mind tricks on David Wright, he struggled hitting just ten homers in Citi Field’s inaugural season.
In 2010, the Mets looked to beef up the middle-of –the-order by signing former Pirate and Red Sox slugger Jason Bay, who was coming off a 36-home run and 119 RBI campaign in Beantown.
In 2010, Bay hit just six homers in 95 games, as a concussion in Los Angeles against the Dodgers ended his season prematurely. Just as Wright had done the previous season before, it was thought that Bay’s 2010 season was an adjustment period to CITI Field.
However, after starting the 2011 season on the DL with an injury to his rib-cage Bay’s numbers in the power department have suffered even more, in just 39- games to date, Bay is hitting a lackluster .207, with 2 home runs, 10 RBI, and is slugging an anemic .279.
In his less than stellar 1 ½ year tenure as a Met, Bay has combined to hit just 8 home runs (1/4 of his 2009 output with the Boston), while driving in 57 runs.
Through the Mets first 63 games of the year, the team has hit just 41 home runs, tied for 25th in baseball with the pitch-first, hit-second Seattle Mariners.
Carlos Beltran has paced the Mets with nine bombs, while injured first basemen Ike Davis, who has been sidelined for nearly a month now, is second on the team with seven. David Wright, who has also been sidelined and hampered by a stress fracture in his back for over a month, remains third on the club with his six-homer output.
In the absences of Davis and Wright, the Mets have compensated with timely hitting, hitting with runners in scoring, position, stealing bases, and taking the extra-base with aggressive hard-nosed play.
Since May 21st, the Mets rank 1st in the N.L. in batting with a .293 average, 1st with runners in scoring position, 2nd in on-base-percentage, and 5th in runs, while ranking last in home runs with just four.
Surprisingly, despite the lack of power from the Mets lineup thus far this season, the team does lead the N.L. East in runs scored (266), a number that may surprise some, given that the power happy Philadelphia Phillies seem to be at the top of almost every N.L offensive category year in and year out.
There has been some talk and on-going speculation since Citi Field has opened, that the fences should be brought in.
But with the Mets finally starting to build a team suited to their confines at Citi Field, should the fences really be brought in?
The answer in short is, no.