Welcome to the first edition of Mets Week in Review, where each Monday I’ll take a look at the previous week and preview the week ahead.
After positive COVID-19 tests within the Washington Nationals team postponed the first three games of the year, the Mets finally commenced their season last Monday in Philadelphia. Between the delayed start and a suspension due to rain after only nine pitches on Sunday, the Mets have played just five games on the year and have struggled to find a groove to start the season.
Weekly Record: 2-3
2021 Record: 2-3
162 Game Pace: 65-97
What Went Right: Starting Pitching
Even with Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco on the Injured List, the Mets rotation should still be one of the strengths of the team. Outside of David Peterson’s disastrous debut, which saw the second-year lefty give up six runs in four innings of work, the rest of the rotation lived up to the billing.
Jacob deGrom hasn’t wasted anytime in vying for his third Cy Young award in four seasons. In two starts, the lanky right-hander pitched a combined 14 innings, allowing just one run and striking out 21. deGrom’s fastball has routinely sat in the triple digits and he tied a career-high with 14 strikeouts Saturday against the Marlins. Somehow despite all that, the Mets are 0-2 in games deGrom has started due to the bats and bullpen letting the ace down — as has been the case for most of his career.
After a season debut that saw Stroman allow just one run over six innings in an 8-4 win over the Phillies — the first W of the year — the Mets may have wasted his second start on Sunday, as they allowed him to start the game despite rain ravaging the area all day. The veteran ground ball specialist threw just nine pitches before the game was delayed and eventually suspended. After the game, the always vocal Stroman took to Twitter to voice his (rightful) displeasure with the mishandling of the situation by the team.
Taijuan Walker also looked strong in his Mets debut, allowing two runs over six innings en route to a 3-2 win over the Marlins in the team’s home opener.
What Went Wrong: Clutch Hitting
As was the case a season ago, where the Mets finished first in the league in batting average but middle of the pack in runs scored, hitters just can’t seem to produce with runners on base. Those shortcomings were no more evident than in Wednesday’s loss to the Phillies, where the Mets left a combined 25 men on base. In their three losses, the Mets have left an average of 12 men on base and are hitting just .146 with runners in scoring position, good for second worst in baseball.
Stock Up: Brandon Nimmo
After batting eighth in the first game of the year, Nimmo reclaimed his leadoff spot and is off to a blistering start, hitting .412 with three doubles and a .565 on base percentage over the first week. In the field, Nimmo has looked plenty good enough in center field after entering the season with questions surrounding whether or not he was efficient enough to play there everyday.
Stock Down: Michael Conforto
Whether his potential impending free agency is on his mind, or just a run of the mill bad week, Conforto couldn’t have imagined a worse start to the season in his wildest nightmares. The right fielder is hitting just .143 to start the year with eight strikeouts. His three hits on the year are tied with deGrom, and he’s left a gruesome 19 runners on base over the first five games, including nine in Wednesday’s loss. Conforto was technically credited with a walk off hit by pitch on Friday after leaning into a pitch with the bases loaded, but the MLB later admitted he should have been called out as the pitch was in the strike zone. After batting third through the first five games, Conforto was slotted into the six hole for Sunday’s suspended game.
After giving up a run in his lone inning of work, Dellin Betances was placed on the Injured List with a right shoulder impingement. The Mets called up right handed reliever Trevor Hildenberger to fill his spot.
Third baseman JD Davis was also placed on the 10-day IL after being hit on the left hand by a pitch in the season opener. He was replaced by Jose Peraza on the active roster, but X-rays on his hand were negative and he expects to return later this week.
On the recovery front, Carassco looks ahead of pace for a return after tearing his hamstring during spring training, and Syndergaard continues to impress after undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring.
The Week Ahead
Pending more rain on Monday, the Mets are set to begin a four game home series with the 6-3 Phillies before heading to Colorado for a three-game set with the 3-7 Rockies. Peterson is set to start the first game of the series, hoping to atone against the same team that greeted him with four first inning runs last Wednesday.
Walker is scheduled to start the second game of the series on Tuesday, with deGrom going on regular rest on Thursday. The Mets haven’t announced a starter for Wednesday, and could throw Stroman after his very abbreviated outing on Sunday, but more likely will give Joey Lucchesi his first start of the year against former Met Zach Wheeler.