Baseball is not fun right now if you are a New York Mets fan. Nevertheless, here I am writing about this team to which I give so much unrequited love, and here you are reading about them. Say what you want about Mets fans, but we don't know when to quit.
With 81 games down and 81 to go, there's too much baseball left to throw in the towel. In the words of Rocky Balboa, I didn't hear no bell. Then again, Rocky was largely responsible for the death of Apollo Creed at the hands of Ivan Drago because he didn't throw in the towel. I don't know what the lesson is here, but there's a good chance this ends with Ronald Acuna, Jr. standing over us saying, "If he dies, he dies." I'm at peace with that.
How can the Mets turn it around and leave the first half of the season behind? Even a good mechanic would have trouble fixing a clown car, but we're going to try. The following three players share one thing in common: we know they can play good baseball, but they haven't consistently shown it this year. That needs to change if the Mets are to have any chance.
The biggest names on the Mets won't appear on this list. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander have looked better and better as the year has gone on. David Robertson has been the one constant in the bullpen. Pete Alonso is on pace for 48 homers. Francisco Lindor feels like he's having a subpar season, but he's fifth in the National League in RBIs.
All of the aforementioned players are doing enough that the Mets should be better than 36-45. In finding ways to fix this team, let's start with one player who had a career year in 2022, only to take a step back this year.
Jeff McNeil needs to regain his batting champion form for the Mets
After enduring a rough 2021 season that caused many Mets fans to wonder if the team should move on from him, Jeff McNeil silenced his critics with a revelatory 2022 campaign. He led the entire league in batting average at .326, made the All-Star team, and won his first Silver Slugger Award, all while providing defensive versatility that allowed him to be plugged in all over the field.
This year, McNeil has struggled mightily, and his stats are back in line with 2021 again. His average is a mere .255, a stunning number for a guy that has eclipsed the .300 mark in each of his other four seasons.
McNeil has never been a power hitter. It's concerning, though, that in addition to reaching base less often, his slugging numbers are practically nonexistent. Last year, McNeil ripped nine homers and 39 doubles. Halfway through this year, he has three homers and only eight doubles. There have been times when it seems that he's ripped the ball, only for it to be a routine flyout.
Nobody has been more frustrated with this than McNeil, who has spent most of the season visibly upset with himself. I can't count the number of times he's grumbled his way back to the dugout after making an out, angrily slamming his helmet or bat. As someone that's been a big fan of his since he first donned the blue and orange in 2018, it's been rough to see.
McNeil's struggles have relegated him to the bottom of the order, usually around the seventh spot. A hitter of his caliber needs to be hitting higher in the lineup, but first he needs to prove that he can regain his form. The Mets desperately need last year's hitting machine to return. If that happens, the team, the fans, and most importantly, McNeil himself, will all be in a much better place.