How do you beat the New York Mets? You do it with left-handed pitching. Up and down the lineup, this team of righties, lefties, and switch-hitters has been abominable versus southpaws this year.
It’s a little odd how the numbers work. Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil have actually hit well against them. Those two lefties that have been there from the start of the season are handling themselves well against pitchers of both flavors. It’s everyone else that seems to be struggling more than they should.
The Mets tried addressing this mildly at the trade deadline with the addition of Darin Ruf. But he’s only one man and a part-time player. It’s mostly everyone else (Starling Marte has done well) where we can have our continued concerns when the Mets are on offense and even defense, too.
The Mets could have a lefty problem on both sides in the postseason
Postseason baseball is played differently than the regular season. Things move slower. Managers are less bold with their decisions.
It’s in October when the Mets could see the lefty problem arise on both sides of the baseball. The Mets managed to take care of the Los Angeles Dodgers recently with three straight lefties and a bullpen with a few more. Could they successfully escape this again?
The Dodgers are beatable in the regular season. Even the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates played them well when they had their chance. The same could be said about the St. Louis Cardinals whose rotation includes Jose Quintana and Jordan Montgomery throwing from the left side. Either could potentially give the Mets fits as a starter or multi-inning reliever if these two teams end up meeting.
It’s nothing to fret about right now but definitely a one-sided fear because of how the Mets don’t have the same luxury. All year, fans have had questions about their own southpaw, Joely Rodriguez. He isn’t the overpowering reliever you want to get you big outs against Freddie Freeman in the postseason. Could David Peterson take on this role? The only other legitimate big league lefty the Mets could toss out there in a big spot in the playoffs, the big worry for the offseason seems to be the same for the pitching staff.
Overcoming this is simple, though. The Mets just can’t let the game come down to a matchup of managers playing the percentages. Outpitch the other team’s starters. Get the two-run bomb from Marte. Maybe knock a little more sense into Pete Alonso and let him know he is supposed to feast on left-handed hurlers.
If there is one lingering fear that has stuck out all year, it’s this. Little was done to try and correct it. Will the lack of lefty killers at the plate and on the mound become this team’s downfall? When you get a handful of runs, seven innings from an ace, and have two or three trusted relievers to turn to, it’s a fear the team can overcome.