The Mets split their most recent 4 game series with the Chicago Cubs, below are some key takeaways between the final scores.
1. Zack Wheeler is exciting to watch and he’s backing up his electric arsenal of pitches with some great results. This series was no different, as Wheels went 6.2 innings on Friday night, allowing only 4 hits while striking out 10. When he exited the game, he’d only given up 2 runs and the bullpen would come in to keep the Cubs at exactly that number, pushing Zack to 8-8 on the season. The 24 year old heat hurler now owns a 2.02 ERA in his last nine starts, giving up more than 2 earned runs in only 1 of those games.
2. Vic Black has been the bullpen equivalent of the aforementioned Wheeler. The rookie stalwart has stranded 22 base runners in a row and 24 out of 25 on the season. Part of that came from Saturday’s performance where Black came in to relieve starter Jon Niese with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 7th inning. He sat down the top of the Cubs lineup using only 8 pitches and let nobody cross home plate. Black has pitched 10.2 innings this year with runners in scoring position. In those situations, opponents are hitting .114 against him and he owns a .75 WHIP (walks-hits per innings pitched).
3. Matt den Dekker hit .285 with 3 walks, an RBI and a stolen base, playing in 3 of the 4 games in this series. While these numbers are jaw dropping, Matt has provided the exact type of lift offensively that the organization could have expected and maintained his stellar play in the outfield. Keep in mind, prior to den Dekker getting his second call-up of the year, the Mets were batting .200 with an OPS of .568 from their collection of left fielders. Since coming up from Triple-A Las Vegas, Matt is getting on base at a .379 clip.
1. David Wright, well, he’s having a bad season and Saturday’s game symbolized the exclamation point. The Captain left the game in the seventh inning after trying to play through an at bat where he was beamed in the bottom of the 6th, directly on the area where he’s currently rehabilitating from posterior left shoulder soreness. David is not in good shape and this is painfully obvious, literally and metaphorically. He needs to hit the DL and try to recover before he does damage that lasts into next year. I admire Wright for going into Terry Collins’ office prior to Monday’s series finale and insisting that he was in good enough condition to play, but his 0-4 performance should be a good enough indication that something is wrong and playing through the injury isn’t helping his or the team’s long term goals. One other thing to add. Where is the response from our pitchers? The pitch delivered by Cubs starter Dan Straily was intended to brush Wright back and it missed and hit his shoulder. It wasn’t a breaking ball that slipped, it was an 88 mph fastball. Starter Jon Niese already loaded the bases in the seventh, one of those should have been a hit-by-pitch if that’s how the Cubs want to pitch our franchise player.
2. Jenrry Mejia had two bad outings in a row this series on Sunday and Monday. In 2 innings of work, Mejia allowed 4 hits, 3 earned runs and 2 home runs while only striking out 1. No real thoughts here, either he’s pitching injured and this is a mistake by medical staff or he’s not performing and that is a larger issue.
3. Wilmer Flores has ironically maintained a serviceable level of defense at shortstop, allowing only 1 error in 32 games played at the position in 2014, but his bat has not delivered as advertised. Flores had 1 hit in 8 at bats this series and in the last 7 days, he is batting and slugging a measly .211. Somehow, his offensive production is beginning to dip below Ruben Tejada‘s.