Compared to how things were going for the Mets at this time last season, they’re in a much different spot from the standpoint of performance. It could be a lot worse, though — they could be the Yankees right now.
As New York starts a three-game series against the Tigers in Detroit on Tuesday night, they own a 16-13 record. It’s not what the people want to see, but being just three games behind the Atlanta Braves isn’t a bad spot to be in at the beginning of May.
The first month-plus of play for the Mets has been the definition of inconsistent. There were times when the offense went completely missing. There were other times when the pitching staff looked to be in disarray.
But now that their rain-shortened homestand is in the books, things are looking up for the Amazins. Here are three reasons to feel optimistic about what lies immediately ahead for manager Buck Showalter’s club.
Emergence of Brett Baty, Francisco Alvarez
I talked about this earlier today, but it bears repeating. Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez appear to be getting acclimated to life in the big leagues. So acclimated, in fact, that they’re starting to hit and come up big in clutch situations.
Their presence at the bottom of the order helps lengthen the Mets’ lineup in a way we just didn’t see with Eduardo Escobar playing third every day and Tomas Nido/Omar Narvaez splitting time behind the dish.
Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor are still the engines that rev up the offense. But they can’t do it all the time. New York scored five runs in Monday’s Game 2 victory despite those two going 0-for-7 with three strikeouts.
The Mets need to figure out how to score runs when those two aren’t producing. This was a good sign that it’s possible.
The Mets’ rotation is much closer to full strength
A lot has been said about the Mets having Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander at the top of their rotation. But since the reigning AL Cy Young winner began 2023 on the Injured List, New York is finally about to get them pitching together for the first time this season.
As it currently stands, Scherzer is expected to take the hill on Wednesday at Comerica. Verlander will follow him with his team debut on Thursday. They need these two to set the bar at the top of the rotation for everyone else to reach toward. And whether people like it or not, a lot of the team’s eventual success (or failure) will ride on their collective performance.
So, it’ll be nice to at least have them active and given a chance to show what they can do as a 1-2 punch.
New York’s upcoming schedule
The next two weeks are an opportunity for the Mets to pile up a bunch of wins. Here are their opponents during that stretch (all of which are at least five games below .500):
- at Tigers (three games)
- vs. Rockies (three games)
- at Reds (three games)
- vs. Nationals (four games)
With the rotation getting its aces back and the offense getting some support from the bottom of the lineup, it feels like the stars are aligning for the Mets to go on a run here. But then again, it’s the Mets we’re talking about.
Having three games at home vs. Washington last week was supposed to be a “get healthy in the standings” scenario. They were instead a couple of innings away from getting swept.
What’s an acceptable outcome?
I’ve seen a lot of “predict the Mets’ record for the next 13 games” on social media today. But what about what’s acceptable/expected of them?
My guess is that a 9-4 record has to be the bare minimum here. They’ve got their aces back and the offense shouldn’t have too hard of a time scoring runs on most nights. In an ideal world, I’d like to see a 10-3 performance from the boys over the next couple of weeks. That’d put them at 26-16 before hosting the MLB-best Tampa Bay Rays in the middle of May.
Let’s see if they can rise to the occasion or make things harder for themselves.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.