As it often has been with the Mets over the years, what was once good quickly and dramatically turned sour as 5-2 fell to 10-15.
The Mets rode Matt Harvey’s blistering start – they won five of his six starts – but have to be alarmed he was responsible for half their victories. Once again, the Mets fell victim to the same old vices that have crippled them for years.
The bullpen collapsed, the team went cold hitting with runners in scoring position, and they couldn’t overcome the gaping hole in the backend of their rotation. They ended the month with a six-game losing streak and finished at 10-14.
PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Harvey was everything as advertised and yesterday was named the National League’s Pitcher of the Month, going 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA. In 40.1 innings, Harvey struck out 46 while walking just 12.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH: The Mets’ biggest bat belonged to John Buck, who hit nine homers with 25 RBI. The Mets insist he wasn’t a throw-in in the R.A. Dickey trade, but with Travis d’Arnaud out for two months with a fractured foot, Buck will not be dangled soon. The pitchers swear by him.
DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE MONTH: It can’t be anybody else but Ike Davis, who is on pace to strike out 196 times. Last year the Mets did not option Davis and let him work his way back to where he hit 32 homers. If this year’s start continues much longer, will they make the same decision?
BEST SERIES OF THE MONTH: Playing in unbearable conditions, the Mets outscored the Twins in Minnesota by a combined 20-7 in winning two of three games. Harvey flirted with a no-hitter in the second game and the third was snowed out.
WORST SERIES OF THE MONTH: It would be easy to say their three losses in snowy and freezing Colorado, but that would be too easy. And, they deserve a break because of the weather. So, let’s make it the three games they were swept in Citi Field by the Phillies, April 26-28. The losses to Philadelphia comprised half their six-game losing streak. From there, the Mets lost consecutive one-run games in Miami, coughing up the lead in the ninth inning both times.
BEST GAME OF THE MONTH: April 24, at Citi Field. The Mets couldn’t win a Harvey start, but sent the game into extra innings on David Wright’s two-out single in the ninth and Jordany Valdespin’s grand slam homer in the tenth.
WORST GAME OF THE MONTH: There were several to choose from, but let’s take Monday’s heartbreaker in Miami. Not only did they waste a Harvey start, but went 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position and blew two save opportunities in losing 4-3 in 15 innings.
APRIL BY THE NUMBERS: Buck’s nine homers and 25 RBI. … Davis’ .159 average with 29 strikeouts, which outnumbered his walks and hits combined. … Lucas Duda is second in the NL with 20 walks. … Daniel Murphy hit .350 (7-for-20) with RISP. … Wright hit .462 (12-for-26) with RISP. … The bullpen blew three save opportunities and has a 5.09 ERA. The Mets are 3-13 when the pen gives up a run. … Seven times the pen worked at least five innings, a direct reflection on the back end of the rotation. … Longest winning streak was three games and the longest losing streak was six games. … The Mets were 1-6 in one-run games. … Longest hitting streak: Eight games by Murphy. … The Mets used 22 different batting orders in 25 games for the month. … The Mets have used six different leadoff hitters. … Seven different pitchers started games, including Aaron Laffey, who started two and is no longer with the team. … The Mets hit three grand slams for the month.
QUESTIONS COMING OUT OF THE MONTH
Q: Is Matt Harvey for real?
A: Who really knows, but all indications are he is. Harvey’s numbers are impressive, but not as much as is composure and tenacity on the mound.
Q: How long will the Mets stay with Ike Davis?
A: Working in Davis’ favor is the Mets’ reluctance to move Lucas Duda to first base. Davis’ struggling also indicates how thin the Mets are in the minor leagues.
Q: Will they quit fooling around with Jordany Valdespin?
A: The Mets have used six different leadoff hitters. Also, Valdespin won two games with homers, but still languishes in a non-starting role.
Q: Is bullpen and outfield help on the way?
A: There has been some juggling and movement on the Vegas shuttle, but nothing of any substance.
Q: Zack Wheeler, how soon?
A: Wheeler is coming off his best start, but that’s not enough for the Mets to promote him. Should he have two or three like the last one, perhaps the end of the month?
THE MONTH AHEAD: The Mets snapped their losing streak May 1 with Valdespin’s homer Wednesday. The Mets are in Atlanta this weekend, a place where they have not fared well. There are few easy putts this month, as their schedule includes four games in St. Louis, three against Cincinnati and three more with the Braves at Citi Field, and four interleague games with the Yankees.
METS vs ATLANTA PROBABLES
Saturday: LHP Jonathan Niese (2-2, 3.31) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (1-0, 5.08), 7:10 p.m. ET.
Sunday: RHP Matt Harvey (4-0, 1.56) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (3-1, 3.86), 1:35 p.m. ET.