20/20 Hindsight: Mets Finally Take Series From Nationals
Well, after the first series of the season was canceled due to COVID19, the Washington Nationals and New York Mets finally got to play in a series. The Mets would win yet another home series and stay above .500:
1. Jacob deGrom is already the second best pitcher in Mets history, and in short order, we will consider him the second best Mets player to ever wear a Mets uniform. In fact, he may already be there.
2. To put in context just how great deGrom is, he’s set the record for most strikeouts to start a season, and he has passed Tom Seaver in Mets ERA and ERA+. Yes, he has been so great he has put himself in Seaver territory.
3. Seeing deGrom hit, you are reminded pitchers can actually hit and help themselves at the plate. The fact other pitchers don’t do it is their own failing, and it is not a good argument for the universal DH.
4. deGrom has driven in and scored more earned runs than he has allowed.
5. Marcus Stroman had one bad day. There is nothing more that should be read into it.
6. We saw Robert Gsellman step up, and he has looks ready to be a solid contributor to the bullpen. Overall, the bullpen has picked it up across the board, and they seem to be outperforming the early season expectations. In some ways, this could be attributable to Jeremy Hefner who had a similar effect in Minnesota as an assistant pitching coach.
7. Once again, Taijuan Walker was really good, and he appears to be the steal of the offseason for the Mets. Notably, when starters are going deep into games, that also helps the bullpen.
8. Michael Conforto‘s defense is still worrisome, especially his arm, but he appears to be getting going at the plate. We saw him hit his first homer of the season, and we saw him get extra base hits on back-to-back days for the first time all season.
9. For reasons that defy expectation, this Mets front office seem to believe more in J.D. Davis than Jeff McNeil. Davis can cost Mets consecutive games with his glove, and they give him on brief rest, but McNeil has some struggles at the plate, and they refuse to try to put him where he thrives in the lineup or let him work through it.
10. Albert Almora doesn’t play much, but when he does, he makes an impact. He scored from first in a pinch running opportunity earlier in the season, and he robbed Kyle Schawarber of an extra base hit as we have only seen Juan Lagares do previously.
11. Jonathan Villar has contributed quite well in the games he has played, and he has earned his playing time. It is really curious why the Mets won’t sit Davis for him, but they will sit McNeil. It’s also curious what Luis Guillorme has to do to get into the lineup.
12. The Mets sat Dominic Smith against a left-handed pitcher again despite his being one of their best hitters against left-handed pitching. Again, better players sit so Davis can be force fed into the lineup.
13. While Sunday was a really good game defensively, the Mets defense continues to be atrocious, second worst in the National League by DRS, and the Mets show little to no interest in playing their best defensive players.
14. It needs to be mentioned again. Jacob deGrom is doing things we haven’t seen since Seaver, and we may never get to see greatness of this level in a Mets uniform again for quite some time, if ever. He is that good, and he is going to be the player we tell our children and grandchildren about for years to come.
16. Brandon Nimmo is very quietly emerging as one of the best players in baseball. He is an on-base machine, and we see his defense steadily improving. This is someone using all the information at his disposal to be better. He should be an All-Star, and at some point, we may need to have serious MVP discussions about him. Then again, that award should go to deGrom.
17. The state of umpiring in the majors may be at its worst. We see calls routinely blown, especially by the home plate umpire. Needless to say, if Nimmo takes a pitch, it’s a ball.
18. Pete Alonso is really heating up at the plate, and we have seen him just demolish homers.
19. Put aside the offense, the work James McCann and Tomas Nido have done behind the plate has been nothing short of phenomenal. They are getting their pitcher the calls they need, and they are playing all around great defense. If McCann can start hitting like we know he can, watch out. Hopefully, that RBI single on Sunday for McCann was a start.
20. Listening to the game on the radio really makes you miss Josh Lewin. No one really wants to hear Francisco Lindor needs to run out foul balls or Nimmo is swinging at pitches because he’s finally confident at the plate. The Mets can and should do better than that, but in some ways, that’s an allegory for their season so far.