Maddening Mets weakness continues to be a glaring problem

The Mets need to find some way to at least make it less awful.
Apr 30, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets catcher Omar Narvaez (2) catches a pitch
Apr 30, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets catcher Omar Narvaez (2) catches a pitch / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs had the fewest stolen bases in baseball heading into Thursday’s finale against the New York Mets. They ignored their own weakness and instead opened up a Mets wound continuing to bleed out. The Cubs stole 6 bases against the Mets. They now have 17.

Omar Narvaez has already allowed 27 stolen bases this year without throwing out a single runner. The one Tomas Nido did remains the lone gunned down attempted base thief. The Mets are 1 for 43 in this department.

It’s so bad that their average of 1.35 stolen bases allowed per game is significantly higher than the next closest team, the Tampa Bay Rays. Their 1.09 allowed per game is much closer to the pack with a few others right behind them. Tampa Bay has given up 35 stolen bases but thrown out 5.

This maddening Mets weakness will continue to hold the team back

Able to overcome this in Thursday's win, we saw that even less aggressive teams can write the playbook to beat New York. In extra innings, Christopher Morel was the ghost runner and managed to swipe third base against Edwin Diaz with one out. Saved by one of two outfield assists from the cannon of Starling Marte, this is exactly what teams need to do in order to beat the Mets every time in extra innings.

An earlier frustrating example of the team’s inability to throw out or hold runners on came in the top of the sixth inning. Patrick Wisdom stole third base after a double. Not so fleet of foot yet not exactly Daniel Vogelbach either, he’s the type of guy who shouldn’t be swiping third base.

An inning earlier, although it became irrelevant, Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ executed a double steal against Adrian Houser. Morel then homered. Happ was only on first base because he walked on a full count—the other agonizing weakness of the Mets right now.

The solution to this isn’t easy. The return of Francisco Alvarez won’t rectify the issue. He, too, has had trouble throwing out runners in his major league career.

This is a seemingly much deeper problem. Teams know the Mets catchers can’t throw out runners. They’re also fully aware the pitchers can’t hold anyone on.

Already 43 stolen base attempts against the Mets, the Arizona Diamondbacks are the team with the fewest against them. An astonishing difference, they’ve allowed 7 stolen bases and thrown out 6. Starting catcher Gabriel Moreno has thrown out more runners than stolen bases he has allowed. Last year’s reigning champion with a caught stealing percentage of 39%, we have a better understanding of why the Diamondbacks were able to get as far as they did.

The Mets are giving away far too many bases. Between the walks and the stolen bases, less is earned by the opponent. The 136 walks allowed is second to only the Miami Marlins. While they’ve allowed the second fewest hits, the exhaustive walk total has given them a 1.26 WHIP as a ball club. That’s appropriately ranked 15th among 30 teams.

This might be one of those team-wide problems we never see solved. Because every pitcher is getting victimized, there is no way to hide it. Maybe we can ask Luis Severino whose 35 innings lead the team. Only one runner has stolen a base against him. What’s your secret, Sevy?