It’s always tough to watch your team go through the motions in a season, knowing full well that any remote chance of making the postseason grows slimmer and slimmer with each passing loss. The New York Mets have flirted with fans throughout the 2017 season; offering glimpses of hope while playing sound baseball in spurts.
However, this team has played a real life version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, showcasing the promising aspects while rearing its ugly head and leaving much to be desired on the field.
The week before the All-Star break was certainly Mr. Hyde worthy.
With the team opening up a three-game set with the first place Washington Nationals, it presented something of a last ditch effort for the Mets to try and climb back into the race, as they were sitting 9.5 games back prior to Monday’s game.
Unfortunately, continued substandard pitching from the Mets’ bullpen coupled with a poor start by Seth Lugo saw the Mets drop the first two games of the series, before the third game was rained out Wednesday evening. The team then had two days off before opening a three game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
A resilient effort from ace Jacob deGrom would be the only win the team would come away with over five games, as they dropped their 13th series of the season over the weekend.
The Mets now have four days off for the All-Star break, with Michael Conforto the lone team representative.
They’ll open up a 10-game home stand starting Friday night against the Colorado Rockies, who currently hold one of the two Wild Card spots along with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
As always, here are your MMO Players of the Week for July 3-9.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: JAY BRUCE
Jay Bruce earns MMO’s Offensive Player of the Week after slashing .333/.333/.810, with a double, three home run, and four RBI in a five game span.
Bruce continues to be one of the most consistent hitters for the Mets this season, a considerable feat as fans were ready to just about trade the slugging right fielder for almost any abled body this offseason.
The ‘Boos’ have morphed into ‘Bruuccee’ chants, and the 30-year-old has certainly warranted that. He leads all Mets hitters in hits (85), home runs (23), RBI (59), runs (48), extra-base hits (41) and is second in slugging percentage (.538).
In Friday’s 6-5 win against the St. Louis Cardinals, Bruce had his eighth three-hit game of the season, going 3-for-5 including a go-ahead home run in the fifth off Carlos Martinez to give the Mets a 5-4 lead. That was Bruce’s 11th home run of the year that either tied the game or gave the Mets the lead.
According to MMO’s Michael Mayer, Bruce’s 23 home runs is tied with Todd Hundley for fourth most by a Met during the first half of the season.
Dave Kingman holds the record with 30 back in 1976.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: JACOB deGROM
Jacob deGrom earns MMO’s Pitcher of the Week after grinding out the Mets only victory last week in St. Louis.
DeGrom tossed seven innings (ninth time this season), allowing four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. The game was also the first time this season that the right-hander did not allow a walk.
It wasn’t a typical deGrom start that fans are accustomed to as of late, after his brilliant four-game stretch from June 12-30 where he won all four of his starts, tossing 32 innings while allowing just three earned runs (0.84 ERA), and holding opposing hitters to a .419 OPS.
However, deGrom did just enough to help keep the Mets in the game through seven innings of work.
What hurt deGrom in St. Louis was the long ball, as he allowed four solo shots to the Cardinals, matching his total home runs allowed for the month of June.
A pair of back-to-back home runs in the third and fourth innings tied the game up at four, however, after deGrom got out of the fourth he needed just 38 pitches to navigate through innings five through seven. He allowed just four more hits, and induced two double-play groundouts to get out of jams.
Prior to his Friday start, deGrom was one strikeout shy of tying Tug McGraw (618) on the Mets all-time strikeout leaderboards.
With five punch outs, deGrom now sits alone at 12th all-time with 622 strikeouts, with right-hander Craig Swan up next at 11th with 671.