Well, this kind of sucks. I was hoping that the David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud injuries wouldn’t burden this team too much, but lately it’s been clear that they can’t continue to fend for themselves much longer without two of their key pieces. Luckily, their return isn’t too far off in the distance: Wright resumed baseball activities on Sunday, and d’Arnaud has spoken positively about the state of his hand; he could possibly be cleared for baseball activity next Monday if his bone is fully healed (per @RisingAppleBlog on Twitter). Aside from that, not much else is to be said about the stalling Mets.
Losers of 7 of their last 10 games, three losing series in a row, and averaging a dismal 2.9 runs per game, the offensive situation is not a simple issue, but a complicated one. Wilmer Flores has a better bat than Ruben Tejada, but Flores can’t turn routine plays at short… Michael Cuddyer can barely hit to save his life right now, but who else can we get to bat cleanup… Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself here. We’re supposed to be focusing on the POSITIVES, right? Let’s try and get through this installment of Players of the Week together without crying, okay?
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: JUAN LAGARES
Juan Lagares honestly makes everything okay. Tied for fifth in the NL with 33 hits, batting .309 in his last seven games with a .326 OBP and currently riding a streak of three multi-hit games in a row, Juan has been the only blip on the quietest offensive radar we’ve seen all season. He’s been the ultimate hometown hero: he’s gotten at least one hit in every home game and has batted .377.
It is well worth noting that Juan, who is not afraid to swing his bat at almost anything (he swings at more than half—or 52.9%—of pitches; for comparison, Curtis Granderson swings at 34.3% of pitches), only struck out four times over the past week. He even drew two walks!
For some reason, however, despite the Mets’ often foolish aggression on the base paths thus far, Juan has not attempted to swipe a bag yet. With the frequency that he’s been getting on base, I think that the Mets are completely underestimating the importance of this. Or maybe I’m just desperate for some excitement. Back to back 1-0 losses can do that to a person, ya know. At least Juan’s Al-Star Game campaign is coming together pretty well!
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: JUAN LAGARES
There’s nothing else I can say. Just watch this clip on repeat while eating ice cream directly out of the carton, like I’ve been doing.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: MATT HARVEY
I wish I could acknowledge all of the pitching staff in this one paragraph, but I’ve got to single out Matt Harvey because a) we probably would have gotten swept by the Nats if not for him and b) he has won his first 5 starts on the season; and before the season everybody was concerned that his fastball wasn’t even going to reach 90 (I say this literally every time I talk about Matt Harvey, but I really don’t ever plan on stopping that). 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB and 3 K seem like relatively calm numbers for Harvey, but as long as he’s preventing runs from scoring it really doesn’t matter.
As strikeout happy as Harvey can get, it makes me so happy to see that he is learning to become less reliant on his fastball and can perfect his offspeed and breaking pitches to get quick outs rather than work for a K. He is clearly learning to mature as a pitcher, and this type of mental refining has translated very well on the field and through the media (no middle finger outrage thus far!).
Harvey takes the mound again this Friday against the Phillies, a team he’s historically owned. I have a good feeling we’ll see his ERA drop and his win total rise. THAT HARVEY! HE’S SO HOT RIGHT NOW! Wait, that’s not right…
Daniel Murphy did that thing where he hit a home run again. If not for his 9th inning, three run homer against Marlins closer Steve Cishek on Monday, we probably would have gotten swept. Also, kudos to Murph for stepping up and playing third while we wait for Wright to come back. He’s manned the hot corner just fine thus far.
Alex Torres’ hat halo may actually be a real halo. He had a masterful performance on Sunday, as he came into a bases loaded, no out situation and promptly struck out the following three batters. After a shaky start, Torres has really improved. If the offense is going to keep playing this game, the bullpen is going to have to be as stellar as possible.
Dillon Gee and Jon Niese both pitched insanely well. Gee had two stellar stars this week, giving up 6 hits each game while only allowing only 1 ER and striking out eight over 12.1 IP. He finally reached that milestone of most consecutive starts going 5.0 or more innings, previously held by Doc Gooden. Niese nearly matched Gee’s performance; although he gave up nine hits on Saturday, they were mostly ground balls and there was almost nothing that was hard hit against him all night. His only earned run was a damn infield single!
Jeurys Familia is actually insane. He has recorded a save in his last 10 appearances, which ties the single season franchise record. His fastball should honestly be illegal, it’s that good. His K/9 is 10.80, his LOB% is 89.3%, only 15.4% of the hits he’s given up have been line drives, his ground-ball rate is at a career high (61.5%), and batters swing and miss at 35.4% of pitches he throws. Gone are the days of Frank Francisco and Jose Valverde; let us all join together, hold hands and welcome in the Jeurys Familia era. Can you say All-Star?
For what it’s worth, Duda is still pretty solid at first. At least one of our guys can play the infield properly.
All statistical information is from Fangraphs, you can look there if you don’t believe me! 🙂