Are Mets hitters ready for St. Louis Cardinals pitching?


After getting swept by the Cubs, the Mets rebounded by taking 2 of 3 from the Milwaukee Brewers, but, not before Kyle Lohse pitched 8 shutout innings, limited the Mets to a pair of hits, and fanned 8 batters in Friday’s series opener.  The Mets managed just 3 hits for the game, which tied a season low, and were shut out for the third time this month.

On Saturday, the Amazin’s exploded for 10 runs in the 4th inning, highlighted by Wilmer Flores‘ grand slam.  The Mets then rallied for 3 more in the 7th en route to a 14-1 victory.  Curtis Granderson went 3 for 5, with a home run and 2 RBI, and Michael Cuddyer was 2 for 4, with 2 RBI.

Curtis Granderson continued teeing off on Milwaukee pitching Sunday with his second home run in as many games, and Michael Cuddyer went 1 for 4, with 2 RBI, giving him 4 RBI in his last two games.

May 17, 2015; New York City, NY, New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda (21) doubles to deep right center allowing a runner to score during the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the rub – Milwaukee presently owns the National League’s 12th worst WHIP, 11th worst BAA, and the league’s 14th worst ERA.  Hypothetically speaking, even Mario Mendoza should have gone 2 for 5, with a run scored and an RBI.  So, before we extrapolate any positives from the Mets offensive outburst against Brewers pitching, I simply urge that we wait and see how they handle St. Louis Cardinals pitching.

Minus the services of Adam Wainwright this season, the Cardinals still boast the National League’s 5th best WHIP and BAA, and sport MLB’s best ERA.

The first tenet of baseball is pitching:

Mets pitchers have allowed the least number of walks, and thus lead the circuit in WHIP.  They’re second best in least hits allowed, batting average against, runs allowed, and ERA.

The second tenet of baseball is defense:

They haven’t played as badly as we might think.  The Mets have committed the 8th most errors in the National League, and are 7th best with a .984 fielding percentage.  However, their .705 DER (defensive efficiency ratio) is 3rd best behind only the Reds and Giants (the only three teams with a mark above .700).

The Amazin’s have turned the 3rd least amount of double-plays, partly because the Mets defense has been limited to the 7th least chances handled.

That being said, one could argue defensive miscues contributed in at least half of the Mets 16 losses this season.  Yet, they seem to be overcoming 9 errors from Wilmer Flores at shortstop, and injuries to infielders David Wright and Dilson Herrera, which in turn triggered endless infield position changes.

The third tenet of baseball is timely hitting:

This has been their Achilles heel, not defense.

There are many details relating to the following numbers, but here’s the gist…

The Mets presently rank in the bottom third of the National League in batting average, OBP, slugging, and stolen bases.  They rank 10th in runs scored and home runs, and they’re 8th in walks.

During their 11-game winning streak, the Mets scored 57 runs, for an average of 5.18 per game.  In the 22 games since, they have posted a 9-13 record with 74 runs scored for an average of 3.36 per game.

For the season, the Mets have scored 149 runs in 38 games for a 3.9 average per game.  The Dodgers presently lead the National League averaging 5.13 runs per game.

The Washington Nationals are a mere half game back of the Mets in the standings, and are presently second in the National League averaging 4.84 runs per game.  For the moment, then, it seems as demonstrated by the Dodgers, Nats, and for a time the Mets, contending baseball presently entails scoring nearly 5 runs per game.

  • Last season, the Colorado Rockies scored the most runs in the National League, and averaged 4.66 runs per game.  The N.L. East winning Nationals ranked 3rd with 4.23 runs per game.

Aside from David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud, the rest of the Mets starting line-up is present and accounted for.  Wilmer Flores leads the Mets with 6 home runs, while Daniel Murphy leads the bunch with 20 RBI.  The Mets most well rounded hitter is Lucas Duda, whom is slashing .294/.378/.463, with 3 home runs and 14 RBI.

Here’s something you might find a tad disheartening.  Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer, and Lucas Duda have combined to hit 11 home runs and drive in 44 runs.  Intra-division sluggers  Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton have respectively produced that by themselves:

  • Harper – .326/.467/.690, with 13 home runs and 33 RBI
  • Stanton – .250/.329/.543, with 11 home runs and 36 RBI

So, how, or when, will the Mets improve their overall hitting?

You’re free to start lending your opinion….., now.

Travis d’Arnaud last played on April 19th.  In just 11 games, he jumped out to lead the team in slugging.  David Wright last played on April 14th.  After just 8 games played, he was slashing .333/.371/.424, with a home run and 4 RBI.  With a little luck, they’ll both be back to fortify the line-up by June.

As we know, the line-up lacks a true lead-off hitter, which will continue being an issue throughout the season.  Despite being reunited with his old hitting coach, Granderson is presently hitting .248, and only slugging .364 with 5 home runs, and 30 strikeouts in 140 at-bats.  He does have a .368 OBP though, which will have to do.  Nonetheless, there remains a voice inside my head reminding me Granderson wasn’t signed to be a lead-off hitter.

The Mets also need considerable improvement from Juan Lagares, Michael Cuddyer, and Daniel Murphy.

There’s no getting around Juan Lagares‘ slash of .271/.295/.329, with just 4 extra base hits and 28 strikeouts in 140 at-bats.  Michael Cuddyer is also slashing a pedestrian .242/.301/.364, with 5 doubles, 3 home runs, and 17 RBI.  And lastly, Daniel Murphy is hitting doubles as usual, but needs to climb from his present .234 batting rate, up to his more customary .288 mark, or better.

For as long as these guys continue under-performing, Terry Collins will continue tinkering with the line-up.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Sandy Alderson additionally can not hit for these players.  They will have to do that for themselves.  For the moment, I share a management perspective, in that players must perform.  For now, that’s where the onus belongs.  But as we get closer to July, the onus gets shifted back on Sandy Alderson.

Now, bring on the Cardinals.