The New York Mets have been doomed by their lack of hitting with runners in scoring position this season.
When we as fans come to think of reasons why the New York Mets tend to disappoint us and underperform during the regular season, generally it’s because of either inconsistent relief pitching or because it’s lack of consistent quality starts from a part of our rotation that doesn’t include Jacob deGrom. And for the most part that tends to be the case, even early on in 2020.
But the main reason why this ball club has gotten off to such a lackluster start through the first dozen games of the regular season is because of their lack of clutch hitting with runners in scoring position.
Coming into Tuesday’s series opener against the Washington Nationals, the Mets had the fourth-highest batting average in the majors at .262 and the third-highest on-base percentage at .343.
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However, they are barely batting above .200 as a team with RISP are the second worst teams in the majors averaging 18.27 runners stranded per game. This is an absurd amount.
It is strange because the numbers tell us that this team has done a decent job hitting singles and drawing a lot of walks to set up potentially large run-scoring innings so far, however, just can’t come up with the big extra-base hit with runners in scoring position.
Anyone paying even the slightest attention has seen it occur time after time again since the opening game of the regular season against Atlanta.
This is in stark contrast to last year’s Mets team, which was one of the top eight teams in baseball to hit for a high average with runners in scoring position and to get runs across the plate, especially with two outs. A big part of that success last year was the hot starts and the consistent production from both Pete Alonso and utility infielder Jeff McNeil.
Both players had high contact rates and were able to do damage in clutch situations with men on base. Michael Conforto and eventually Amed Rosario (later on in the season) also contributed to the Met’s timely production in 2019.
This year it’s been a totally different story. It seems like every game this team has two or three innings where it looks like they’ll have runners on first and third and no one out or the bases loaded with one out and just can’t get one run to cross over home plate. Even if they just converted on a few of these scenarios so far, they might even be over .500 as of today.
What this team needs to do is have a closed-door meeting of some sort amongst all their hitters and batting coaches and go over the proper way to handle at-bats in certain pressure situations. This is where having a batting coach like Chili Davis present in person with the team would help so much, as he can talk with his players on an individual level and see what he can do to motivate them to perform better.
Unfortunately, with his underlying conditions and the threat of the pandemic still very much looming, the Met’s young hitters won’t have that opportunity to learn from his many years of batting experience.
Nonetheless, it’s got to be up to the job of the manager Luis Rojas to do something to light a fire under his players so they can go out there and perform in clutch situations. At the rate the Mets offense is performing with runners in scoring position, it won’t matter if there are five Jacob deGrom’s taking the mound every night to start the ball game.
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If the bats don’t start to come alive in opportune moments, this team can kiss it’s 2020 playoff chances goodbye.