The New York Mets haven’t been personally victimized by Regina George but they sure seem to have gotten the short stick on MLB’s new deadened baseballs in 2021. A team like this should have many more home runs than they do. As of the start of action on May 15, the club’s leader is Pete Alonso with just five dingers. Jeff McNeil is the runner-up with three and six more have just a pair of long balls.
Heading into this season, many of us thought for sure the Mets could wallop baseballs. Instead, the team has found other ways to win games.
While the Mets offense has suffered from dead baseballs, the pitching has thrived
Mets pitchers are seeing the same effect on their stat sheet. In their case, it’s for the better.
Thus far, only David Peterson has given up more than three home runs. Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker has served up a single gopher ball while bullpen regulars Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman, Aaron Loup, and Trevor May have yet to look back and see a ball travel over the wall.
I hate to cite team stats because the Mets have played fewer games than most teams out there. What’s more, this can change on a whim.
Regardless of any exact number you want to look at or care to qualify, the team is not hitting home runs or giving up many at all. One of those reasons may be our old pitcher-friendly ballpark named Citi Field. It has been one of the toughest places to hit all year long. How much of this is a credit to the hometown pitching and how much do we point our fingers at the lackluster offense?
Ultimately, does it really matter how the Mets win games as long as they do? The offense has managed to push just enough runs across the board at times this year. However, as we have seen in their most recent loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on May 14, a lone two-run shot from Jonathan Villar is not enough.
This MLB season could have some funky outlier statistics because of the newly designed baseballs. Unlike those juiced balls from 2019, these have been dying at the warning track at a noticeable rate.
In an era of baseball where far too many teams rely on the three-run home run, the Mets are going to need to take advantage of the offensive skills they do have to come away as the winners. The team is one of the best at reaching base. Taking advantage of every base runner they get is key. This could mean a little extra small ball, learning how to hit the ball to a particular spot, and maybe occasionally stringing multiple hits together when runners are in scoring position.
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The Mets can win a lot of games with this style of play. If the trade off of not hitting too many home runs is that they don’t give up very many either, this team is still in good shape.