Through six games, the New York Mets have done a total 180 from the results of their 2017 season. Can new manager Mickey Callaway continue to press the right buttons?
Entering the 2018 season, the New York Mets knew they had to improve on the disastrous results they had in 2017. The Mets pitching staff, which was supposed to anchor their team, was destroyed by injuries, which led to a heavy taxation on their bullpen.
In 2017, the Mets finished second to last in the National League in overall ERA (5.01), starters ERA (5.14), and last in bullpen ERA (4.82).
Under Mickey Callaway this season, the Mets pitching staff has had a rebirth through the first six games. The Amazins’ lead the NL in team ERA (2.33), allowing just 14 ER while winning five of their first six games.
Their bullpen has been outstanding, posting a 0.94 WHIP and 1.16 ERA so far, ranking first and second respectively in the National League. Their 34 strikeouts trail only the Marlins for the most strikeouts in the NL at this point in the season. The combination of Jeurys Familia, Hansel Robles, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Jerry Blevins and A.J. Ramos have been unhittable so far. They have totaled 17.1 innings allowing no runs, seven hits and six walks while striking out 28 of the 64 batters they have faced.
Just as important as the Mets success from their bullpen has been how Callaway has managed the pitching changes. So far he has been able to analyze each situation very well, making all the right moves.
The Mets starters have held their own as well. Outside of Noah Syndergaard’s Opening Day start and Steven Matz’ start on Sunday, Mets starters have not allowed more than 2 ER in any of their other four outings.
The Mets are counting on Syndergaard to lead the rotation and he has yet to show his best stuff, despite striking out 17 over 10 innings in his two starts. When he hits his groove, that will provide the Mets with an ace that can match any pitcher in baseball with his electric stuff.
On offense, the Mets’ 30 runs rank just sixth in the National League, but 17 of them have come with two outs. Only the Braves and Pirates (18) have scored more in that situation in the National League.
Players such as Kevin Plawecki and Brandon Nimmo (both tied for second most runs scored on the team with four each) have provided the team with production they were lacking last season. A healthy Yoenis Cespedes is showing why he was such a difference maker during the 2015 and ’16 seasons, leading the team with seven RBI.
Despite the success the Mets have started 2018 with, it is important that fans understand a good start doesn’t necessarily mean the season will end on a successful note.
After making back-to-back postseason appearances in 1999 and 2000, the 2001 Mets fell apart much like they did last season. A rebuilt lineup in 2002 saw the Mets get off to a 18-11 start. Included in that start was winning four of six games against seven-time defending NL East Champion Atlanta Braves, outscoring them 33-19.
The rest of the season for the 2002 Mets fell apart, as they went 57-75 the rest of the way, finishing 26.5 games behind the eventual champion Braves. The 2018 Mets are built differently than the 2002 crew and have much more pitching talent than a rebuilt staff featuring Pedro Astacio, Shawn Estes and Jeff D’Amico.
On Saturday the Mets continue their series against the Nationals with Steven Matz making his second start of the season against Gio Gonzalez. If the Mets can get production out of him and continued success from their starters and bullpen, 2018 will be joyous season for Mets fans.