The Mets have now gone nine straight games without a home run–their longest homer drought since 1982–and have homered just once in their last 13 contests. They also haven’t gone deep at Citi Field in nine home games since May 6. In their last nine games the Mets are 3-6, although in their last nine home games they’ve gone 5-4. So do the Mets need home runs to win?
There’s no clear answer, but let’s look at it simply. The 2011 Mets, who began Monday tied for 24th in MLB with 37 homers, are 14-8 in games in which they’ve hit at least one long ball, and 11-20 when they haven’t. They are 6-5 in games in which they’ve hit one home run, 4-3 when they’ve hit two, and 4-0 in games with three jacks. In other words, homers have helped.
Another way to look at it is how much the Mets score when they homer, since winning is largely contingent on pitching performance (Met pitchers have a 6.20 ERA over the last nine games). In the 22 games in which the Mets have homered, they’ve averaged 5.68 runs scored. In the 31 games when they haven’t, they’ve averaged 3.03.
The stats suggest that station-to-station baseball won’t pay off in the long term. However, over the last two days, it’s been no power, no problem, as the Mets have hit line drive after line drive to rack up 32 hits (25 singles). They had 13 two-out hits Sunday and one huge two-run, tie-breaking double from Josh Thole on Monday to roll to victory. Without Ike Davis and David Wright, the Met lineup is stacked with non-power hitters, and in the last two days they have taken a good approach.
Still, a lack of power–in addition to a lack of timely hitting–is what has made the Mets a middle-of-the-pack offense in the National League. Their .255 batting average and .329 on-base percentage rank sixth and fourth in the NL, respectively, and they are sixth in extra-base hits. But they are just 14th in home runs, and ninth in runs scored.
For now, homer-less baseball might have to cut it. In the long term, though, the Mets will find more success if they start leaving the yard.