The utter embarrassment of the last two nights would seem to indicate the 2016 Mets are not nearly what we thought. Sure, the Nationals are a good team and the season has a long way to go, but the signs are ominous.
Where to begin? Matt Harvey at this point is completely lost. His confidence has vanished along with his stuff, and it just keeps getting worse. On the heels of a poor performance in Colorado, Harvey picked a terrible time to put up the shortest outing and worst stinker of his career, getting knocked out in the third inning of a second consecutive disturbing rout at the hands of their chief division rivals, and thoroughly disproving the notion that he is any longer an ace. His ERA is 5.77, third worst among MLB starting pitchers. Third worst. Enough said.
And while we’re on the issue of confidence, David Wright no longer has even enough to attempt a throw on a runner headed for 2B when the runner was only halfway to the base. He has not hit the ball hard in what seems like weeks and appears incapable of hitting a fastball above 91-92 MPH. He is striking out at a record pace as his inevitable descent at the hands of a debilitating spinal condition seems to be well in progress, increasingly and painfully obvious. If you agreed with all the heavy criticism lodged at his feet by GKR last night, good for you. If not, take off your rose-colored glasses ans open your eyes.
Michael Conforto has now started to look like the liability in the field that scouts warned, and he’s ineffective against left handed pitching. Sure, we have Lagares to start against the lefties, but that is cold comfort for those of us who fancied Conforto as the whole package. He’s young though, so hopefully that could still change. Regardless of his seven homers, Lucas Duda has lost his patience at the plate and has been no factor at all now that he can’t even draw a walk.
Neil Walker has cooled down considerably, and comparisons to the dearly departed, .400 hitting Murph are increasingly unflattering. Asdrubal Cabrera made a critical, game-changing boot of a DP grounder last night as he returns to earth from a good start to his season. Travis d’Arnaud simply can not stay on the field, and his replacement Kevin Plawecki has looked like little more than a AAAA player, neither an effective catcher nor hitter. Curtis Granderson has been somewhat better lately, but is clearly on the back side of his career. The shine has even come off of Bartolo Colon, who has lately pitched like a 43 year old, and his double life is now exposed for all to see.
Their performance with RISP has been pathetic, worst in the majors, so that when they don’t hit home runs, they simply don’t score. They rang up a grand total of one run on anything but a homer in the Nationals series Only the Mets could lead the league in home runs and yet find themselves near the bottom in runs scored. This is the most disturbing of the team’s many negative trends and metrics.
This team is simply not competing, and the burden for this disappointment ultimately falls on the manager. Terry Collins famously went easy on his team this spring, as if his was the first team ever to play in October, and as if his pitchers were the first to log the extra innings that come with post-season play. He quite simply has not had this team ready to play, and they were beyond lifeless the last two nights in their most important series of the young season.
Go ahead and pull out all the cliches. It’s a long season. A marathon, not a sprint. Water finds its level. Whatever. Right now, the Mets look just plain awful.