The New York Mets have done very well so far, going 7-4 over their first 11 games. Starting pitching has been the story of the season, with brilliant performances from Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman contributing to a 2.27 ERA from the rotation, a group that will be even better once Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard return from injuries. That brilliant pitching has covered up a surprisingly poor showing from the offense, which has been all but invisible outside of Brandon Nimmo so far.
The Mets’ lineup is loaded with talent but has produced just 3.4 runs per game. The vast majority of the Mets’ regulars simply haven’t gotten going, with Michael Conforto batting just .200, Francisco Lindor hitting .189 and Jeff McNeil hitting .176. Pete Alonso has had his moments but is hitting only .250 while Dominic Smith, who was recently promoted to the third spot in the batting order, is hitting only .229.
The Mets’ struggles with runners in scoring position have largely carried over from year to year as the Mets have left 7.91 runners per game on base, a poor performance that makes little sense given the individual hitters’ track records. It is likely that a small sample size is playing a role in some of those issues since clutch hitting usually levels out over the course of a season.
The offense also has had a particularly difficult time getting going due to the many stops and starts created by all of the postponements in the first few weeks of the season. The Mets haven’t played more than four days in a row at any point this season, logging a combined nine off days over the season’s first 18 days, a number that could grow by two with today’s off day and the potential for another postponement in Chicago tomorrow night with snow in the forecast.
All of those off days make it impossible for hitters, who are largely creatures of habit, to get into a routine since they can’t play more than a handful of days in a row due to factors beyond their control. Add in the cold weather that the Mets have played in, which isn’t conducive to hitting to begin with, and it explains a large part in the offense’s struggles.
The good news is that the Mets’ offensive hitters have tremendous track records which show they aren’t as bad as their current stats would indicate. The offense should get into a more regular routine starting this week once they get past Tuesday, allowing the hitters to really settle into the season and get going, which should really be a good sign about this team’s potential given the fact they scored just eight runs at Coors Field but won two out of three.
The pitching has been brilliant and should get stronger with the healthy returns of Syndergaard, Carrasco and Seth Lugo from injury. Even with some regression to the mean from guys like deGrom and Stroman, the offense should pick up their pitching on most nights, raising the ceiling of what this team can be. The signs are here that this team can be very special and once the bats wake up there is some serious juggernaut potential in Flushing.