Mets Face Brutal Stretch

Thank goodness the Reds were in a tailspin when they visited Flushing or this situation would be even uglier. Here’s the scary thing: the next 25 games may be the Mets’ most difficult stretch of the season.

Split with Toronto. Swept by the Braves. Lost two of three to the Brewers. Sweep of Cincinnati. Swept by the Cubs. And now comes the hard part:

3 games vs. Dodgers in LA
3 games vs. Giants in SF
3 games vs. Diamondbacks at home
3 games vs. Cardinals in St. Louis
3 games vs. Nationals in WA
4 games vs. Dodgers at home
3 games vs. Padres at home
3 games vs. Nationals at home

Now that you’ve looked at the Mets’ next 25 games, go back up to the top of the list and read it again. Are you ill?

Previously, the Mets were getting beat by good teams but beating up on bad teams. More recently, the Mets have been getting beat by good teams, beat by mediocre teams, and barely sliding by bad teams (for those who were blinded by the Steven Matz debut, the Mets could have very easily lost two of three to a bad Reds team last weekend).

Previously, the Mets were getting beat by all teams on the road but beating most teams at home. More recently, they are getting beat no matter where they play.

Keeping these points in mind, look a third time at this next 25-game stretch. Did you get ill again?

The Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals, and Nationals are all very good teams. The Mets are playing all of them in their opponents’ parks. It could be argued that the Padres and Diamondbacks are better than the Mets right now (though that could change by the time the Padres come to New York — they could be sellers in the next few weeks). Things are not looking good for the Mets, who, as of the last several weeks, are not hitting, not fielding, not practicing ideal fundamentals, not healing, and not winning.

MAYBE David Wright will make a miraculous recovery and be back in uniform, but it’s unlikely he’ll be in a Mets uniform before this 25-game stretch is over. Even if he is, will he alone save the club?

The other night, working with a short bench, Terry Collins had Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz prepared to pinch-hit. Collins said “It would have been a huge risk, but if there was an emergency situation…”

Wait, what? Terry, the team is spinning out of control and about to face the most brutal part of the schedule — if THIS isn’t an “emergency situation” then what is? Further, what in the world is the “risk” in using your better hitters (who just happen to be pitchers)? Is the risk that a pitcher gets hurt while hitting or running the bases and then can’t go on the mound? Seriously? This seems odd to me because the Mets have reached a point where the pitching doesn’t matter any more, no matter how fantastic it is. Mets pitching is giving up one or two runs a game and they’re losing because the offense is not scoring at all. What would be the difference of losing 5-0 instead of 1-0? Either way it’s a loss. Runs need to go up on the board, one way or another.

What’s your thought on what’s been happening, and what’s about to happen over the next 25 games? Is your view optimistic or pessimistic? At this point, do you believe there is a player or players that the Mets can add to change what’s happening, or is it too late? Post your notes in the comments.

Also, Happy 4th!

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. argonbunnies July 5, 2015 at 12:11 pm
    I don’t see any possible way that the Mets win series from the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals and Nationals, but at the same time, none of those teams are consistent offensive powerhouses. So it’s not hard at all to imagine that on the day the Mets score 2 or more runs, their opponents will score fewer.

    Accordingly, I wouldn’t predict an 0-19 record against those teams — more like 6-13. Factor out the 1-1 already against the Dodgers, add a split in the Pads/D’backs games, and that leaves the Mets at 49-56 on August 2, likely 8 games back of the 2nd wild card (given the .544 win % that currently occupies that spot).

    This is a familiar position for the Mets, right? Not completely hopeless, but requiring a ton of optimism to see a path to the playoffs. I foresee these calls for fans to stick with the team:

    • Wright is back! THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!!!

    • d’Arnaud is fully recovered and re-acclimated and will resume his early success with the bat at any moment!

    • Matt Harvey is on a roll! Harvey Day is a big deal again! The team feeds off this!

    • Syndergaard’s recent slump is just the league adjusting to him. He knows he needs to adjust back, and that starts with his next start!

    • Wilmer Flores just hit two tape-measure HRs and is about to finally show us the hitter he truly is!

    • The bullpen is holding its own despite Familia’s stint on the 15-day DL, and will dominate once he returns!

    • There haven’t been as many errors and awful plays in the field recently! The Mets are no longer at a competitive disadvantage on defense!

    • Matt Reynolds was hitting .400 over the last two weeks in Vegas, and has just been called up! Even if Flores and Murphy are the starters, surely Matt will be a factor of some sort!

    • Although fans grumbled that Alderson didn’t add bats while the team was digging this 8-game hole, the fact is that the market didn’t materialize and it takes two to make a deal and management is keenly watching the waiver wire and many great past acquisitions have been made in August! The Wilpons have APPROVED AN INCREASE IN PAYROLL!!!

  2. Extragooey July 5, 2015 at 8:55 pm
    Baseball is a funny sport and very hard to predict. But yeah, it’s hard to imagine an upcoming disastrous stretch. However, with this pitching, you just never know. If all the starters get on an incredible roll, it may not take much offense to survive this month or so. Saturday’s Fox broadcast said that the Mets are number 2 in the majors in line drive rate, so maybe the offense has been snake bit. I know Campbell has a very low babip, below .200. Perhaps the law of averages will even out the Mets offense in this stretch and we can remain afloat this next month.
    • Extragooey July 5, 2015 at 8:56 pm
      That should be “hard NOT to imagine an upcoming disastrous stretch.”
  3. david July 5, 2015 at 10:04 pm
    A couple of weeks ago, I write that I hoped Alderson had a master plan consisting of something like brining up Matz; dealing pitching for hitting; and calling up Reynolds.

    Step 1 is done, and it is high time for step 2 to occur. Alderson and the Wilpons are not deaf, and I don’t think they are stupid – just stubborn and in the case of the Wilpons there is the nepotism element in letting Jeff run the club which has been an undeniable disaster. However, with the offense being so pathetic the silver lining is the Mets have to get some hitting to maintain a veneer of legitimacy.

    Which brings me to my 3rd point, which is that in addition to trading for a hitter they need to call up Reynolds already. Having seen all the call ups this year from AAA, I remain mystified at the reluctance to call up Reynolds. Is Danny Muno really better than him? When Campbell can’t buy a hit and his glove is suspect, are we so worried about taking him or some other borderline player off the 40 man roster than we can’t call up the best rookie they had in Spring Training?

    I like Reynolds because he plays the game the right way. A winning team is more than the sum of its parts, and I think he helps them win 2-3 games down the stretch. That could make the difference in a Wild Card race.

  4. DaveSchneck July 5, 2015 at 11:54 pm
    The Mets started off this run by taking 2 of 3 from the first place Dodgers, and slipped back aone game further from the Nats. They are now down 5 in the loss column both in the division and in the wid card race. Unfortunately, the 1-7 road trip to Toronto, Atlanta, and Milwaukee made the playoffs an uphill battle and a long shot.

    Regarding Matt Reynolds, I don’t thnk he can be considered an improvement over Ruben Tejada. His Vegas offense is well below Dilson Hererra’s, Captain Kirk’s, and even Recker’s, and those guys provided nothing at the MLB level.

    If Alderson can get a Zobrist without overpaying, fine, otherwise, regardless of the screams from the fan base, an unexpected long winning streak, or a complete collapse of the teams ahead of them, 2016-2018 looks like the years for the “run” so I would not sacrifice those years for a “pretend” run in 2015.