The month of April came to an end two days early for the New York Mets as the result of excessive rain this weekend. The Mets could certainly use the break as they have had to navigate some tough times in the opening month of the season as the result of injuries and offensive slumps. A 15-12 record certainly could be far worse for the Mets, who have resorted to magical gnomes as a way to try and generate some life from their bats at points in April.
The season started off on a suspect note when Justin Verlander landed on the injured list just prior to Opening Day with a muscle injury that has sidelined him for the entire season to date. The Mets did respond nicely by winning three out of four in Miami but were swept in Milwaukee as they got out-muscled by the Brewers’ bats. A return home did kick off a nice stretch of baseball for the Mets, who won nine of their next 12 games, but took a key loss as Max Scherzer drew a 10-game suspension for the sticky stuff ban even though he was only using rosin and combined it with sweat.
The suspension forced the Mets to play short for the rest of the month and it has hurt them as they have gone just 3-5 since Scherzer was banished by the league. That run included two bad losses to the San Francisco Giants and a series loss to the Washington Nationals, games the Mets would have loved to have back as they suffered their first four-game losing streak in two years.
Injuries were certainly a theme in the early going, particularly in the pitching department, as Verlander, Carlos Carrasco, Jose Quintana, Brooks Raley, Stephen Nogosek and Tommy Hunter all spent time on the shelf. The rotation has been in shambles as the Mets have already used seven starting pitchers, with Kodai Senga proving to be the only mainstay who has survived the opening month without missing time. The rotation’s struggles have taxed the bullpen, which has had its depth crushed by injury, and they haven’t been helped by an offense that has been shut out five times in April after suffering only eight shutouts in the entire 2022 season.
With all that went wrong, it’s fair to wonder how the Mets managed to post a winning record in baseball. A lot of credit has to go to first baseman Pete Alonso, who hit .257 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs for the month, easily leading the team in the power categories. Francisco Lindor offset a poor batting average with four homers and 21 RBIs while Brandon Nimmo (.330/2/13), Jeff McNeil (.298/1/9) and Daniel Vogelbach (.271/1/9) chipped in as well. The additions of prospects Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez also provided a spark as the two youngsters started to show flashes of their potential by the end of April.
The pitching got some solid starts out of Tylor Megill, who went 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA, and Senga, who also posted a 3-1 record to go along with a 4.15 ERA. The back of the Mets’ bullpen also did well as David Robertson pitched to a 0.79 ERA while racking up five saves. Adam Ottavino picked up the team’s other three saves while recording a 2.70 ERA in 11 appearances.
The calendar flips to May tomorrow as the Mets begin the month with a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves to make up for one of the two rainouts this weekend. There is a two-week stretch after the doubleheader where the Mets have a chance to get themselves righted as games against Detroit, Colorado, Cincinnati and Washington await with both Scherzer and Verlander set to rejoin the rotation. Things get a bit more tricky when the Mets take on Tampa Bay and Cleveland, along with the Phillies, later in the month but the team is still in a good spot right now.
With 29 games on tap and a relatively soft schedule to begin May there is no reason the Mets shouldn’t be able to go 17-12 over the course of the month. That effort would put the Mets at 32-24 after Memorial Day, eight games above .500 and in position to have a good season once again. The growth of the team’s young players and healthy returns from their two aces should also allow the Mets to field a more complete team than the one they have been running out for most of April. It is still early as well and the most important takeaway from April is that things could have (and probably should have) been much worse.