3 Up, 3 Down: Syndergaard Back to Form

3 UP

1. Corner Outfielders Hitting Again

One of the few positives that came out of this series against the Cardinals was Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce starting to hit again.

Cespedes was 4-13 in the series with a double, homer, and five RBI.  The homer was a game tying homer, and the two RBI yesterday accounted for the Mets 2-0 lead yesterday heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Bruce was 6-13 with a triple, homer, and three RBI.  His homer was the game winner in the Mets extra inning win on Tuesday.

The Mets got off to a hot start without their corner outfielders getting hot.  It seems like they are getting hot just as the Mets need them most.

2. Syndergaard Back to Form

Heading into yesterday’s start against the Cardinals, Noah Syndergaard had yet to have a quality start.  In fact, Syndergaard was averaging under six innings per start.  For him, even with a 2.42 FIP, he was struggling.

Those struggles were long forgotten as Syndergaard seemed to turn the corner in yesterday’s start.  Through the first six innings, he kept the Cardinals off the board while striking out six and allowing just two hits.  Even with his defense abandoning him he still had an impressive final line, which was 7.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, ER, 0 BB, 7 K.

He deserved the win, but he is going to have to settle for him getting everything going in the right direction.

3. Oswalt Debut

With Steven Matz having yet another bad start, and the Mets bullpen being taxed throughout this young season, the Mets needed someone to step up, and that someone was Corey Oswalt.

Last year’s Eastern League Pitcher of the Year finally made his Major League debut in his second stint in the majors, and he pitched well against the Cardinals.  In his 4.2 innings of relief work, he allowed just two runs on two hits while walking none and striking out four.  With this performance, he certainly made a case for himself to get a chance to start for the Mets in the future.  With the way this rotation has been going of late, he may just get that chance sooner rather than later.

More than that, Oswalt saved the bullpen giving them a rare and needed day to rest this season.

3 DOWN

1. Half the Lineup Is An Automatic Out

Due to a combination of injuries and offseason roster decisions, the Mets lineup consists of five Major League caliber hitters atop the lineup followed by four near automatic outs.  Just look at the Mets lineup after their typical fifth place hitter, Todd Frazier, gets his turn at bat:

Adrian Gonzalez .203/.300/.322
Jose Lobaton .095/.296/.191 or Tomas Nido .105/.150/.105
Amed Rosario .239/.289/.339
Pitcher’s Spot

Understandably, everyone’s attention is on the catcher position which is not going any better with Travis d’Arnaud done for the season and Gary Cohen informing us Kevin Plawecki is a long ways away.  Yes, it’s bad, especially with Lobaton’s defense, but it is hardly the only issue.

Gonzalez is pulling the same routine as James Loney did a couple of years ago with his getting a few key hits early before seeing his production completely drop off a cliff.

Rosario is actually getting on base at a lower clip than Lobaton, who has been equally as bad at as he is behind the plate.

Overall, even if you were to figure out the catching position, the Mets are still going to have to figure out first base.  For some reason, the obvious solutions of Bruce at first thereby permitting Brandon Nimmo to play everyday, or calling up Dominic Smith to platoon with Wilmer Flores seem to be non-starters.  With each passing day this refusal becomes more and more egregious.

While that is happening, the Mets are going to have to work with Rosario to help him learn to draw a walk because his inability to do so right now negates the immense offensive potential he really has.

2. There’s No “D” in Mets

Arguably, the Mets win this series if not for their defense.  Over the three game series, the team made four errors leading to five unearned runs.  However, it was much more than that.

There was a series of misplays like Cespedes inability to field a Tommy Pham double, or the complete lack of speed and range for the Mets right side defense. Things have been so bad defensively, that when Mickey Callaway FINALLY makes a late inning defensive substitution, Juan Lagares is unable to make a spectacular play, which for him has become the routine.

As a team, the Mets are 25th overall in the majors with a -7 DRS.  Really, the only position they are getting good defense from is Todd Frazier and Michael Conforto, who are the only regulars with a positive DRS.  Other than that, the Mets are under-performing to exposed defensively.

While we can point to the starters not making a pitch here and there, or how tired the bullpen is, truth is this defense is doing no one any favors right now.

3. Thor and Jake and Pray for an Earthquake.

Understandably, because of his early season struggles and his being a lightning rod, the early season focus has been on Matt Harvey.  In his four starts before getting demoted to the pen, Harvey was 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA, 1.429 WHIP, and a 7.3 K/9.  Really, after getting shellacked by the Braves, he left the Mets with little choice but to put him in the bullpen.

As bad as Harvey has been, Matz has arguably been worse.  So far this season, Matz is 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA, 1.292 WHIP, and a 4.2 BB/9.  In three of his five starts, Matz has failed to pitch the five innings necessary to qualify for a win.  That includes his last start where he allowed seven runs (three earned) in 3.1 innings.  Every time Matz has faced pressure this year, he has wilted.

In addition to Harvey and Matz’s problems, Zack Wheeler reverted back to being Wheeler in his last start.  He looked less like the guy who had two good starts to begin the season and more like the guy who started the year in Triple-A.

With Jason Vargas and his 96 ERA+, the Mets will be able to fill-in one rotation spot.  If things continue the way they are, who knows how the Mets are going to address the final two rotation spots.

About John Sheridan 580 Articles
John was raised to be a Mets fan by birth, and now he is raising a Mets fan of his own. He also uses Sabermetrics to either confirm the proverbial eye test or to see if we're seeing things with Mets colored glasses. He looks forward to bringing this perspective to MMO. His work, including the tales of raising his son a Mets fan, can also be seen at MetsDaddy.com.