The more that Mets players and coaches talk about a late playoff surge, the sillier and more delusional they sound. As things always seem to do for this team as the home stretch approaches, the Mets are beginning to fall apart at the seams. The offense is futile, the bullpen has been less than great, and the starting pitching has just been average.
Terry Collins continues to stun fans by making his fair share of questionable moves, such as pitching an injured Mejia with a deficit and refusing to move down a slumping Granderson from the top of the order. After getting thoroughly embarrassed by Washington at home for the 13th straight time, Collins made it a point to put it in the past and told his team to win the next 7 of 8 in hopes of approaching the near-impossible mark of .500 (of course, we all know that won’t happen).
However, even when the Mets seem to be at their lowest overall point of the season, that still doesn’t mean that some players have done all they can to bring success to this team. And with that, I present to you the Players of the Week.
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: DANIEL MURPHY/LUCAS DUDA
It truly is a stretch to even include this category this week (which made it more difficult to even choose a player to put here), but I decided to go with Daniel Murphy for this reason: even though he did not produce any huge runs (the credit there goes to Anthony Recker and Eric Campbell for their respective home runs, but there is no way the honor can be given to either of them), but because he still continues to collect hits despite being marred by a “slump”.
He collected six hits and scored three runs over the past week; and for the Mets, that’s saying a lot. Keep in mind that it is nearly impossible to pick a player for this category during a stretch of historic offensive vain. I could pick out plenty of times over the past week where Murphy failed to produce, but I could do that with every player.
However, I would also like to mention Lucas Duda here instead of the honorable mentions because I believe that while Murphy is our best hitter, Lucas is our most feared. He is fifth in the NL in home runs with 22 and is becoming a smarter and more disciplined hitter at the plate, drawing five walks in the last three games. With all things considered, the category could very well be split between these two players. Who deserves it more?
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: LUCAS DUDA
This is a category Lucas Duda can stand in on his own. With not many spectacular defensive plays taking place this week (except for Wilmer Flores‘ slick play on Sunday’s bitter loss), the honor goes to Lucas for continuing to show off his vastly improved first base defense. With a subpar middle infield and an aching Wright at third, a vast majority of the plays made by the defense would be lost if Duda did not have an incredible skill for scooping up balls that come up short.
For a guy I honestly thought would not be able to hold his own defensively, Duda has become quite nimble at first baseman. Even if his stretches don’t come close to what Freddie Freeman can do, it’s good enough to suffice for us. Lucas has really embraced the title of everyday first baseman and continues to show that he is more than just an average player.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: ZACK WHEELER
I’m going to start this section off by sending my sincere condolences to the Colon family for the unfortunate loss of Bartolo’s mother; it truly is a tragedy to see these things happen to players we have all come to respect.
Now, on a more positive note, Zack Wheeler cops the top honor as pitcher of the week this week for his 6.2 innings of four hit ball on Friday. Thanks to Eric Campbell’s fourth inning home run, Wheeler was given a lead after faltering early and never looked back. Wheeler is starting to blossom to become the pitcher he was scouted to be, using his scorching fastball (topping out at 97) to freeze hitters for the strikeout, paint the corners or make them chase high out of the zone for feeble contact.
His curveball was a work of art, having induced four of the ten strikeouts he recorded and forcing weak contact to get the easy out. One of the most impressive things about Wheeler’s development is his ability to work out of the jams he puts himself in. Wheeler somehow finds a way to erase runners with double plays, strike out three in a row after letting the first two men on or bearing down after letting up two runs to keep his opponent scoreless. There are all things nobody could say about him at the start of the season, but hopefully we can continue to say these things as his career as a Met continues to get better and better.
Bartolo Colon absolutely should have gotten a win on Wednesday… if the team could score more than two runs. A few sac flies ended up hurting Colon in the end, but that does nothing to summarize how his outing went. He struck out eight over seven strong innings, unfortunately faltering late and costing him. He is making a strong run at the waiver deadline and, even with his placement on the bereavement list, could very well be dealt for a contending team in need of pitcher depth by the end of August. After all, those are really the only kinds of trades Sandy has been making as of late with these rental players.
Rafael Montero had his first truly spectacular outing on Sunday, going 7.1 innings and only letting up one run while striking out six. His control was much better, he was much less erratic and everybody could tell that he felt a lot more comfortable on the mound. Unfortunately, a start which would earn almost any pitcher a win (not to mention his first big league win!) ended in dismay as a hurting Jenrry Mejia (why was he pitching in the first place?) let up an opposite field home run to Starlin Castro on the first pitch of the ninth.
Eric Campbell and Anthony Recker deserve another nod for blasting home runs to secure wins for the Mets, even if they did not help at all in any other games. Wilmer Flores is playing solid, and while he is no Ruben Tejada with his glove, he is his own with his bat. Giving him a position to play constantly until the end of the season will be the true measurer of Wilmer’s future at shortstop– and with the Mets.