3 Up, 3 Down: Two Giant Steps Forward, One Small Step Back

3 UP

1.  Beating Teams You’re Supposed To Beat

The Mets have won eight of their last 12 games. Six of the eight wins were against teams who are under .500. Many would be dismissive of this stretch because it has happened against poor teams. Viewing the stretch through this prism is misguided. The Mets are beating the teams they need to beat. Remember that was the path the 2015 Mets followed to win 90 games and the National League East.

2.  Rivera – Offensive Catcher

With the Mets losing Travis d’Arnaud to injury, it appeared as if the team was going to have to pick between Rene Rivera and Kevin Plawecki as the primary catcher.  Neither one of these catchers have hit well in their careers. That is until this year. In 18 games, this season, Rivera has hit .333/.339/.421 with two doubles, a homer, and eight RBI.  Given his ability to control the game from behind the plate, this offensive production is more than sufficient to justify playing Rivera every day. Rivera went 4 for 8 in his two starts against the Giants.

3.  Wheeler Dealer

Zack Wheeler is coming off his best start of the season. Over six innings, he only allowed one run on two hits. His slider was sharper, and he was getting his fastball up to 98 MPH. When he has all his pitches working like this, he can beat even the best offensives in the National League. Moreover, his start came at an important time as the Mets starting rotation has been a combination of injured and performing poorly. Someone needs to step up, and with this start it was Wheeler.

3 DOWN

1.  Not Quite deGrominant

Lost in all the strikeouts Jacob deGrom is raking up is the fact he is not pitching up to his normally ridiculously high standards. In each of his last four starts, deGrom has allowed three or more earned runs. He has walked 5.5 batters per nine inning during this stretch. This is why deGrom is “only” averaging six innings per starts this season. Still, it is still too early to be concerned about him. He has shown terrific stuff. He just needs to harness it better and hit his spots.

2.  Smoker Put Out

After struggling in his 15 appearances, the Mets were forced to finally send Josh Smoker down to Las Vegas. On the season, Smoker was 0-1 with a 7.88 ERA and a 1.750 WHIP.  For a guy that has traditionally had reverse splits, he’s not getting right-handed or left-handed batters out. Smoker is still incredibly talented.  He is still throwing in the high 90s. He is still striking out over 11 batters per nine. He just needs to work on a few things with Frank Viola. Once he figures it out again, he will once again be an important member of the Mets bullpen.

3.  Conforto’s Hamstrung

One of the reasons why the Mets have been weather the storm of injuries to Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda has been because Michael Conforto. He’s been one of the best hitters in all of baseball. His ability to continue to produce at this level is in jeopardy as he has suffered a hamstring injury causing him to miss Wednesday’s game (pinch hit only). As we have seen time and again, injuries like this linger, and they have the potential to reduce a player’s effectiveness. This is yet another injury the Mets need to handle delicately.

After a successful 4-2 homestand, the Mets now look to continue their winning ways with a six game road trip. First stop – Milwaukee.

About John Sheridan 323 Articles
John was raised to be a Mets fan by birth, and now he is raising a Mets fan of his own. He also uses Sabermetrics to either confirm the proverbial eye test or to see if we're seeing things with Mets colored glasses. He looks forward to bringing this perspective to MMO. His work, including the tales of raising his son a Mets fan, can also be seen at MetsDaddy.com.