A Different Core Four
Earlier this spring, Matt Harvey referred to a unit within the team known as the “core four” and in it the team’s most valuable players. It included himself and David Wright, Curtis Granderson and newly acquired outfielder Michael Cuddyer. Harvey may have been on to something with the title, but he should have bet strictly on homegrown talent like himself. David Wright remains a core piece and has rebounded from 2014 to the tune of a .320 batting average in 6 games, with a home run, 2 RBI’s and a run scored. Instead of the veteran corner outfielders though, Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud are actually the two hottest hitters on the team right now. Duda (.863 OPS) went 3-5 during Sunday’s series finale, with all three hits coming against LHP. D’Arnaud (.813 OPS) went 3-7 in the series with an RBI and it was tough to see the Mets take their hottest hitter out of the lineup, but the team still managed to come up with the win.
Bullpen Takes Identity
Jeurys Familia may not have envisioned his opportunity to close coming about in the way it did this week, but with the suspension of Jenrry Mejia, he earned his first save in Sunday’s finale. Jerry Blevins and Carlos Torres were credited with their second holds on the year, with Blevins proving to be a legitimate bullpen threat against left handed pitching. Depending on the returns of Vic Black and Bobby Parnell, this team could end up feeling no impact from the loss of Mejia.
Hard Nosed Veteran Move
Michael Cuddyer still has work to do at the plate, but his slide on Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons should go a long way in earning the respect of his teammates and a lot of fans. The Mets are all too often the nice guys, Cuddyer went in, cleats up, way off the baseline and aiming right up at Simmons, who earlier dropped a hard forearm in the face mask of Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud on a collision at home plate. To some, both plays seem unrelated, but anyone who was watching intently could see there was a different vibe from these Mets.
Middle Infield Defense
This was discussed in the last 3 & 3, except against the Nationals, the consequences were minimal. In Atlanta, the mistakes were costly, although the causes ranged from tough luck to poor mechanics and fundamentals. Jon Niese didn’t have his best stuff on Friday night’s series opener, but he gritted his way through a decent performance and only gave up one earned run through five innings before being pulled. Wilmer Flores had multiple poor throws and continued to look uncomfortable at shortstop and at the plate to start the season. Daniel Murphy was inconsistent as usual and David Wright missed a tag on Jace Peterson that ultimately proved to be the difference in Niese’s outing.
Montero’s Pitch Selection
Part of what made Rafael Montero so appealing during spring training was that he used all of his pitches, including a deadly change up. He still has a lot of potential, particularly after seeing him get up to 95 mph regularly on the gun, but his pitch selection was mostly fastballs during Saturday’s 5-3 loss. It’s questionable whether communication between him and catcher Travis d’Arnaud was an issue, normally the catcher would be expected to mix up the calls or visit the mound with any issues that needed further discussion. The idea that both of them were on the same page through that outing seems far fetched given the choice in pitches.
Corner Outfield Vets Slow To Start
Curtis Granderson has managed to compile a .348 on base percentage so far this season, but only one hit in six games played (.063 average). Michael Cuddyer hit his first home run as a Met during the Braves series, but is also sluggish out of the gate with a .208 average and only 3 RBI’s, despite serving as the cleanup man.
Onto the Phillies at home tomorrow, Lets! Go! Mets!