The month of April looked like one of rebirth for the New York Mets, who started the Steve Cohen era with plenty of promise. The long-term contract extension for Francisco Lindor was a bright spot to start the season, even in spite of a delay thanks to a COVID outbreak in Washington that wiped out the Mets’ opening series. The postponements would become a common theme for the Mets, who saw seven games wiped out due to COVID and weather issues, but the bigger storyline would be the team’s anemic offensive performance.
The Mets got tremendous pitching all month long, but the efforts were often wasted thanks to horrendous clutch hitting. April ended with the Mets on a three-game losing streak where they gave up a combined five runs over the three games, a stretch of baseball that contenders find a way to sweep. The Mets lost all of them thanks to the offense’s inability to hit, headlined by a 1-for-14 effort with runners in scoring position in a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies last night. That game saw the Phillies find a way to win when both runs scored on a dropped third strike that got away from James McCann, a play where the Mets’ new catcher was far too lackadaisical trying to get to the ball.
Aside from Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis, no one on the Mets has been successful for long offensively. The struggles of Lindor, who ended April hitting .189, and Michael Conforto, who is hitting just .212, exemplified the Mets’ issues. Manager Luis Rojas admitted in a radio interview with WFAN’s Craig Carton and Evan Roberts the other day that some of the players are experiencing anxiety in clutch situations, which is not a good development in April.
There have been plenty of excuses provided for the Mets’ poor hitting, including a small sample size, the frequent starts and stops thanks to all of the postponements, and the cold weather. Those excuses will start to disappear in May when the weather is set to warm up and the Mets will play plenty of baseball games to get into a rhythm. Given the expectations that this club will face, it will be interesting to see if Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson move quickly to try anything to wake up a team that has been lifeless for the better part of two weeks.
The most troubling stat for the Mets has been their 2-3 record in games started by Jacob deGrom, who is simply dominating the sport right now. deGrom has pitched well enough to start the season 5-0 but the Mets haven’t done much to support him, a fact that has to be immensely frustrating to everyone in the locker room.
The Mets have plenty of challenging matchups coming in May, including series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, and Atlanta Braves. The kind of effort the Mets are putting up right now isn’t good enough to beat most teams, particularly on offense, so they will need to right the ship quickly to avoid losing ground in a division that has been surprisingly forgiving at this point.