1. Conforto Homer
With one out in the top of the ninth on Friday’s game, the Mets were on the verge of not just getting shut out for the fourth time this season, but also falling to .500. Somehow, for the first time in a long time, the Mets reached deep down, and they were able to pull out an improbable win on a rally that started with Wilmer Flores hitting a 1-2 pitch for a base hit.
That made Michael Conforto the go-ahead run at the plate. For most of that season, that merited little more than a footnote with Conforto’s only home run coming on April 5th, and his entering the game with just a .303 slugging percentage. Even with him mired in a slump of epic proportions, and his just missing one earlier in the at-bat, he was able to connect with a Hector Neris pitch to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
The next batter, Devin Mesoraco hit the very next pitch out to expand that lead t0 3-1.
That was a homer both Conforto and the Mets needed. Right now this offense is struggling, and they need the bat who is supposed to be their best hitter. For his part, Conforto needed to show he’s healthy and still able to play at an All Star level. More than any of this, the Mets needed a win, and they got it.
2. Cespedes Hitting, Hasn’t Gotten Worse
Right now, the Mets are playing the same game of Russian Roulette they seemingly do each and every year with him. He tweaks or injures his quad. The team professes they desperately need him in the lineup. He plays, can’t hit, can’t field, and can’t run over a span of a few weeks. Next thing you know, his leg worsens, and he’s out for much longer than originally anticipated.
So far, things have gone different with Cespedes.
Since injuring his quad on May 6th, Cespedes has gone 5-for-15 with two doubles, a homer, and two RBI.
That said, he’s still clearly hampered on the field, and it makes everyone nervous the team is making the same mistakes with Cespedes with the new regime that they did with the old regime. Hopefully, between the off days and a new training staff, Cespedes will not suffer the same setbacks he has over the past two seasons with the Mets.
3. Off Days at the Right Time
One of the things which is great about being a baseball fan is you get to see your team play almost every day. Recently, that hasn’t been the case with the Mets, In addition the scheduled off days on Thursday and Monday, the team did not play Saturday due to a rain out. Really, this creates an opportunity for the Mets to get much needed rest across the board.
Those are days Cespedes can get off his quad. This is a chance to recalibrate the rotation to avoid pitching Jason Vargas. It allows this beat up bullpen to get a chance to take a breath. It gives Conforto and Amed Rosario a chance to work on some things. It’s another day closer the team is to Todd Frazier and Kevin Plawecki returning to the lineup.
It’s also a chance we don’t have to see Jose Reyes enter the game to go hitless, play poor defense, and somehow get picked off of first base.
1. Where’s the Offense?
On this five game road trip, the Mets bats were supposed to break out because the team was heading to The Great American Ballpark and Citizen’s Bank Park. Aside from the first game of the trip, it hasn’t happened.
Since that first game, the Mets have scored just eight runs over their next four games. That’s an average of two runs per game – two runs per game in absolute hitter’s parks. This means the only impression you’re left with at the moment is this is a bad offensive team.
The numbers certainly back that up with the Mets being 22nd in the Majors with a 91 wRC+ and are 27th with 151 runs scored. This shouldn’t be too expected with the Mets being a home run or nothing offense the past few seasons, and the team is now just 24th in the majors in homers.
At this point, you can pick whatever reason you want as to why this team is not scoring runs. With the way things are going, almost every theory has merit. Really, that’s how bad things are with this offense right now.
2. Sewald May Swoon
After a terrific start to the season where he posted a 1.98 ERA, 0.805 WHIP, and an 11.2 K/9 in the Month of April, Paul Sewald has really struggled over the Month of May.
Including the three run homer he surrendered to Nick Williams (more on that in a minute), Sewald has had a miserable month going 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA, 1.300 WHIP, and a 5.4 K/9.
There may be a few reasons for his struggles including his being used much more heavily than he was in the first month of the season. Whatever the case, Sewald and the Mets need to figure this out because Mets starters have a National League worst 194.2 innings per start.
That equates to roughly 5.0 innings per start, which means the Mets will continue to need to go to the whip with their long men, like Sewald, time and time again. For that to work, Sewald is going to have to get back to being the pitcher he was in April.
3. Callaway Didn’t Go to Blevins
You could point to any number of reasons why you would let Sewald pitch to Williams in the sixth inning when the Mets had a 1-0 lead.
With Jacob deGrom having pitching just one inning, you needed every ounce of your multi-inning relievers. Sewald came into the game limiting left-handed batters to a .220/.238/.341 batting line as opposed to the .273/.333/.364 line left-handed batters have against Jerry Blevins. There are probably many more arguments past this point.
Here’s what we know. Williams had been hitless against Blevins in three at-bats with two strikeouts. Sewald had already thrown 35 pitches, and he was teetering. This is why both Blevins and AJ Ramos were warming in the bullpen.
When Williams was announced that was the moment Mickey Callaway should have gone to Blevins. This wasn’t just the moment for which you were warming up Blevins, it was also the exact reason why Blevins is on this team. No matter what Sewald’s splits, Blevins is the LOOGY to get the left-handed batter in a crucial situation. If Callaway had no intent on using his LOOGY in a critical juncture, you really have to question why he was warming up in the first place.
Again, you can defend Sewald in that spot all you want, and maybe Blevins allows a homer there as well. None of that changes the bizarre thought process in which Callaway got his LOOGY warmed up to not bring him into the game at a critical juncture with a left-handed batter at the plate. There’s no defending that thought process.