To say that this Mets week was anything but strange might not give it the proper scrutiny it deserves.
From Mr. Met flipping off fans, to the non bat-boy interference call on Wilmer Flores‘ attempted catch in foul territory, to two seventh-inning stretches in one game; these events all certainly fit into the narrative of a disappointing season from a team fading fast in the standings.
Sitting 11 1/2 games back, the Mets are closer in the standings to the last place Philadelphia Phillies (20-35) than the first place Washington Nationals (36-20).
It’s important to note that the Mets are only four games up on the Phillies, who happen to have the worst record in baseball.
Overall, the team split the four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers at home, and lost two of three to the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend.
For the month of May, the Mets had the third best team OPS at .797, and scored the sixth most runs at 153. However, Mets pitching allowed the fifth most earned runs (136), had the fourth worst ERA (5.06), and allowed the second most walks (116) in baseball.
One of the few bright spots continues to be outfielder Michael Conforto, who despite cooling off in the last ten games (.200/.319/.350), still ranks sixth in OPS among major league hitters at 1.038.
Mike Piazza owns the best single-season OPS in Mets history at 1.024 in the season they acquired him in 1998. Through 51 games played, Piazza had an OPS of .936 with the Mets, giving Conforto more than 100 points advantage through 51 games in 2017.
The Mets take on the Texas Rangers for two starting Tuesday night, for their first match up in an American League park this season. They’ll then have one of their toughest stretches of the season, playing 18 straight games in 17 days, including a doubleheader with the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park, part of the makeup from the May rain out. The Mets will also face the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
As always, here are your MMO Players of the Week for May 29-June 4.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: WILMER FLORES
Wilmer Flores earns MMO’s Player of the Week after slashing .391/.391/.696, with two home runs, one double, two RBI and four runs scored. Flores led all Mets hitters in OPS (1.087), hits (nine), slugging (.696), and tied with Neil Walker for most runs scored at four for the week.
Flores recorded at least one hit in all six games he started, and in the month of May, Flores absolutely raked. He posted a .379/.406/.500 line, with six extra-base hits, 11 RBI and eight runs scored in just 66 at-bats. His 25 May hits were third best on the team behind Walker (34), and Conforto (32). However, Flores had 40 less at-bats than Walker and 36 less than Conforto.
In Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the Brewers, Flores led off in the eighth with the Mets down two. Milwaukee had just made a pitching change, bringing in right-hander Jacob Barnes.
Flores smacked the first pitch from Barnes deep to left for his fourth homer of the season, putting the Mets on the board. What’s been impressive is that Flores has completely turned around his penchant for not being able to hit right-handers this year, posting a .292/.315/.449 line in 89 at-bats this season.
Three of his five homers have come off of right-handed pitching, and his .765 OPS vs. righties is a career best, and a big improvement from his combined .640 OPS in 2015-16.
With Jose Reyes continuing to struggle, collecting five hits in his last 38 at-bats and posting a .432 OPS during that stretch, Terry Collins has finally given Flores the reins at third base.
“As long as he’s swinging the way he’s swinging, you’ve got to get him in there,” Collins said.
Among qualified hitters with at least 50 plate appearances in May, the hot-hitting Flores led the National League with a .379 batting average.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: ROBERT GSELLMAN
Robert Gsellman earns MMO’s Pitcher of the Week, winning both starts on May 29 and June 3 for a combined 12 1/3 IP, giving up 10 hits, four runs (three earned) with 11 strikeouts on four walks and an opposing .217 batting average against (BAA).
Gsellman took the mound on May 29 against the Milwaukee Brewers, knowing that there was impending talk of moving him to the bullpen once injured starters Steven Matz and Seth Lugo make their 2017 debuts after returning from injuries. Prior to the start, Gsellman had owned a 6.45 ERA in 11 games, eight of them starts. Gsellman was giving up a ton of hits, 59 over 44 2/3 innings, and opposing batters had a collective .862 OPS against the right-hander.
Against the Brewers, Gsellman tossed four scoreless innings before a fielding error by Asdrubal Cabrera in the fifth led to Milwaukee’s first run of the game. The only real mistake the 23-year-old made was surrendering a two-out, sixth inning home run to right fielder Domingo Santana. Overall, Gsellman lasted seven innings (second time this year), allowing just two runs (one earned) on three hits. He walked two and struck out five on 105 pitches, 66 for strikes.
He also contributed at the plate, driving in two runs with a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and a bases loaded walk in the sixth. Gsellman leads all Mets’ pitchers in RBI with three.
Gsellman was less economical in his start on Saturday against Pittsburgh, lasting only 5 1/3 innings while giving up two earned runs. He kept the team in the game, and added his second base hit of the season, a single to center off rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow. His two hits are tied with Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler for second most on the team among pitchers, with only Jacob deGrom ahead, leading with eight.