The danger with calling up Mark Vientos was that Buck Showalter was not going to play him. That is just Showalter’s instincts when it comes to young players. While veterans need not have to produce to keep a roster spot, young players have to go above and beyond to earn playing time.
When Brett Baty was first called up, he was immediately put into a platoon at third base with Eduardo Escobar. What was bizarre about that was Baty was called up to the majors specifically because of Escobar’s struggles. Baty has since played his way out of the platoon.
For two years running, the Mets said when Francisco Álvarez was called up to the majors, he was going to be the primary catcher. However, when Álvarez was called up after the Omar Narváez injury, Showalter first made Álvarez the back-up to Tomás Nido.
Eventually, Nido’s struggles and eye issues forced him to the IL, and now Álvarez is the primary catcher. However, even with Álvarez being the Mets best hitter for over a month now, he still bats ninth.
That brings us back to Vientos.
Vientos was called up because Daniel Vogelbach was not hitting for power, and he was slumping. Tommy Pham was not getting it done either from the DH spot. Mostly, the Mets needed more power in their lineup. Given the power display Vientos was exhibiting in Triple-A coupled with him dramatically cutting down on the strikeouts, the Mets were almost forced to call him up.
When he was first called up, it looked genius. Vientos would homer off of Ryan Thompson to tie the game and spark what would be the Mets best win of the season. Notably, Vientos was just one of four players over the past three seasons to homer off of Thompson’s slider:
Good thing they didn’t call up Mark Vientos sooner.
— Mike Mayer (@mikemayer22) May 18, 2023
Even with the homer, the Mets would not get him back into the lineup. He sat against the right-handed Taj Bradley. However, he would get into the lineup again against the right-handed Cal Quantrill. In that game, Vientos came up with the big base hit off Emmanuel Clase in the 10th to pull the Mets within a run.
For Vientos, that was two games played with two big hits producing an RBI. Despite that, he would not appear in the lineup until two games later. Being fair here, one of the games he missed the first half of a doubleheader. Still, after two big hits, Showalter’s inclination was to sit Vientos for two straight games.
Vientos struggled against Shane Bieber, who was excellent over eight innings. Then again, the Mets lineup only produced two runs on seven hits for the day.
Vientos would start at DH in the first game of the series against the Chicago Cubs with Drew Smyly taking the mound. After going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, Showalter pinch hit Vogelbach for Vientos when the right-handed Jeremiah Estrada relieved Smyly.
When Showalter pinch hit for Vientos, there were runners on first and second with one out. Vogelbach flied out with Francisco Lindor and Alonso moving up. You’ll note when Starling Marte, the Mets worst hitter this season, came to the plate, Showalter did not use Jeff McNeil to pinch hit for him. Instead, he left Marte in to ground out killing the Mets chances of getting back into that game.
With Marcus Stroman taking the hill, Vientos was again on the bench in favor of Vogelbach. Vogelbach was 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Again, Vogelbach had the type of performance which led to Vientos getting called up.
Taking all into account, here is where we are. Vientos was impactful the first two games but has not been since. He is struggling with sporadic playing time going 2-for-13 at the plate with a homer and two RBI (65 wRC+).
Vientos is not producing enough at the moment. He has also been taken out the rhythm he was in Triple-A with the sporadic playing time he has had. Put the blame where you want it, but the end result is Vientos not playing frequently and not producing the way he did even when he was first called-up.
One thing that has been abundantly clear is the New York Mets lineup isn’t working. Even going back to last season, Buck Showalter never truly maximized his lineup. That should change now, especially since Showalter can’t justify many of his decisions.
That’s not to say Showalter has been completely inflexible. To be fair, he did drop down Starling Marte in the lineup due to his early season struggles. On that point, Marte never should have been batting second. As we have seen, from a Sabermetric/analytical standpoint, your best hitter should bat second.
Instead, Showalter treated it like a second lead-off hitter. That never really worked last season, and it is time to see Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, or Brandon Nimmo bat second. If players like Aaron Judge and Mike Trout bat second, the Mets can put their top hitter there.
Since the start of last season, those are the Mets top three hitters. Alonso has a 141 wRC+. McNeil is behind him with a 136, and Nimmo has a 132. The Mets could easily justify batting anyone one of them second in their lineup.
Before getting to that point, the Mets do have to wrestle with who leads off. Part of the issue there is while Nimmo seems like the obvious candidate, the waters do get muddied a bit when looking at the numbers.
In his career, McNeil has been at his best batting lead-off (131 wRC+), his four games in the clean-up spot (144 wRC+), or towards the bottom of the lineup. He has been his weakest batting second (115 wRC+) and fifth (104 wRC+). While we can and should look towards analytics, we should also take into account where players thrive and meld the two.
On that front, Francisco Lindor has been at his best when batting lead-off (123 wRC+) or fifth in the lineup (183 wRC+) in his career. The caveat there is he’s hit fifth only once, so that should really be disregarded. Really, Lindor has spent his career in the top third of the lineup, and it is clear he’s a much better hitter when leading off.
For his part, Nimmo has a 135 wRC+ as a leadoff hitter. He’s got better numbers in other spots in the lineup, but there’s nothing close to an appreciable sample size to derive anything of it. This is where the Mets conundrum is. They have three players who thrive batting leadoff, but only one of them can fill that spot.
The question is how exactly do you balance that out keeping in mind this is all before you account for players like Francisco Álvarez, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos.
Going back to Alonso for a moment, he has a 135 wRC+ batting clean-up. However, he has a 149 wRC+ batting second and a 151 wRC+ batting fifth. He’s very good batting third hitting third.
So going through the numbers, here is what we know. Nimmo has the best wRC+ as a lead-off hitter, but Lindor has the biggest drop-off from the lead-off to other spots in the lineup. Alonso can hit basically anywhere. Going deeper, over the past month, Álvarez has been the Mets best hitter with a 162 wRC+. Put another way, he’s arrived.
Basically, there’s a lot going on with the Mets lineup, but one thing we know is Álvarez batting last is something that needs to change immediately. We also know base stealing is easier with the closer base paths, and Lindor is their best base stealer out of their top hitters. Taking everything into account, perhaps the Mets can roll with something like this:
- Lindor, SS
- Alonso, 1B
- McNeil, 2B
- Álvarez, C
- Nimmo, CF
- Vientos, 3B
- Baty, LF
- Marte, RF
- Vogelbach/Escobar/Canha DH
Another interesting look is:
- McNeil, 2B
- Nimmo, CF
- Alonso, 1B
- Lindor, SS
- Álvarez, C
- Baty, LF
- Vientos, 3B
- Vogelbach/Escobar/Canha, DH
- Marte, RF
If that is too radical, the other option the Mets have in play is:
- Nimmo, CF
- Lindor, SS
- McNeil, LF
- Alonso, 1B
- Baty, 3B
- Vientos, DH
- Escobar, 2B
- Marte, RF
The second is the more likely scenario given the manager. However, it is still a major change. The biggest is acknowledging Álvarez is one of the Mets top hitters and needs to be recognized as such.
The other interesting part of the lineup is Marte ninth. This is a page out of Bobby Valentine‘s playbook when he would bat Roger Cedeño ninth in interleague games to give the Mets a leadoff hitter at the bottom of the lineup.
In the end, this is a balancing of what the players are comfortable doing with optimizing the lineup analytically. The Mets seem to be doing better with their top four batters rearranged, and if that is the case, the Mets can roll with that. However, the lower five needs radical reconstruction starting with batting Álvarez fifth.
That last part should be the easy part. Time will tell if Showalter sees it that way.
When teams are struggling, many times fans want to see the best prospects in the organization. That goes double when those prospects are putting up big numbers in the minors. It’s not a bad thought as this is the best and easiest way to improve the ballclub and/or see if that is an area which needs to be addressed at the trade deadline.
When it comes to the Mets, fans want to see Ronny Mauricio and Mark Vientos called up. Unfortunately, Mets fans are wrong here, at least for now.
For Mauricio, there is presumably a spot as he could move to second base allowing Jeff McNeil to shift to left to take Mark Canha out of the lineup. The underlying concept has merit, but it is misplaced when you consider Mauricio isn’t ready for the majors.
Yes, Mauricio was the LIDOM MVP (a level of baseball below Triple-A). He was great in spring, and so far this season, Mauricio has a 134 wRC+. This is only part of the story.
Mauricio also has a 4.2 BB%. With that being the lowest mark of his professional career, we see he is not improving on his greatest weakness as a player. His swing at everything approach is problematic and does not portend for success at the major league level.
Consider for a moment that’s actually lower than what Amed Rosario had in the minors. Rosario came up to the majors, and he couldn’t maximize his abilities because he never learned any patience at the plate. When he got to the majors, things got worse.
Mauricio is potentially a big part of the Mets future. If the Mets want him to be that, they need to call him up when he’s ready. He’s not ready now, and his bad habits are only going to intensify. With those habits, there’s not promises he outhits anyone on the Mets roster, and as a result, Mauricio needs to stay in Triple-A.
As for Vientos, he’s absolutely ready with the bat. Arguably, he would have more power than anyone in the Mets lineup, and he could provide the power so desperately needed by this team.
The question is where does he play?
Vientos isn’t going to supplant Pete Alonso at first base. Brett Baty is better defensively at third, and he has been hitting with a 115 wRC+. Daniel Vogelbach isn’t hitting like a traditional DH, but he has been productive with a 134 wRC+. As the Mets found out, Vientos cannot play the outfield.
That’s the problem with Vientos. there is nowhere to put him. As we saw with Francisco Álvarez, you don’t want to cool off the bat of a red-hot prospect by calling him up to put him on the bench. That leaves Vientos in limbo. He belongs in the majors, but there is no spot for him.
As a result, the Mets issues can’t be resolved by calling up Mauricio and Vientos. Mauricio isn’t ready, and Vientos can’t play the outfield. That leaves the Mets looking in other directions to try to improve as a team.
When Eduardo Escobar got off to a slow start to the season, the New York Mets did what they should have done to start the season. Brett Baty was called up to the majors to become the everyday third baseman with Escobar going to the bench.
Baty has been very good with a 154 wRC+ and a 1 OAA. He has claimed the Mets third base job for now and hopefully over the next decade. With him hitting his first homer against a left-handed pitcher, Buck Showalter is running out of excuses to sit him in favor of Escobar.
While Baty has been thriving, Escobar has been the consummate professional. He has helped Baty, and he also has been there to do whatever he can do to help this Mets team win.
What has gone unnoticed is he has been hitting well of late. Over his last six games played, Escobar is 6-for-19 with a double, triple, two homers, and five RBI. The obvious caveat there is the Mets have been playing him against left-handed pitching which he hits very well.
Still, the more Escobar hits, the more he is going to push his way into the lineup. Looking at Baty over at third, we know Escobar is losing his opportunities to play at third. Honestly, that is probably a good thing with Escobar having a -6 OAA at third last year and a -9 over the two previous seasons.
However, Escobar has been a good defender at second base. In 2021, he had a 3 OAA at second base. Keep in mind, with Escobar being on the bench, he is going to have to be versatile and be able to play more than just third. Fortunately, as we see here, second is probably his best position.
Escobar at second could help solve an issue for the Mets. At the moment, Mark Canha keeps regressing, and the Mets are running out of reasons to keep him in the everyday lineup. He has a 91 wRC+, and he is not hitting the ball hard.
Historically, Jeff McNeil is a better hitter when he plays left field. In his career, he has a .841 OPS as a left fielder against a .806 as a second baseman. That held true last year with McNeil having a .852 OPS at second as compared to a .863 OPS in left (and .896 in RF). Fact is, he’s a better hitter when he’s playing the outfield.
Getting him out there means Canha sits. Right now, the Mets can’t really sit Canha for Luis Guillorme. Guillorme only has an 80 wRC+, which is low even for him. Even more troubling is the -2 OAA at second. If he’s not fielding like he usually does, there really can’t be a spot for him in the everyday lineup.
The biggest takeaway here is the Mets have three players in Canha, Escobar, and Guillorme who are struggling. McNeil being better in left gives the Mets the ability to ride the hot hand between the three. Right now, Escobar is the hot hand. As a result, he needs to get the bulk of the playing time until he needs to come out of the lineup, and/or Canha or Guillorme get going again.
The New York Mets finished April with a 15-12 record three games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. Even for the Mets, there was a lot to digest:
1. David Cone made it clear Max Scherzer wasn’t cheating, and Scherzer is owed an apology from Major League Baseball. The Mets do as well for the extra toll it took on their rotation.
2. Jacob deGrom‘s continued injuries are sad, and we should all want the best for him. However, no one should be using that as justification for the Mets letting him go to Texas when Justin Verlander has yet to throw a pitch for the Mets.
3. David Peterson pitched himself out of the rotation, and it’s not clear where the Mets go from here with him. He’s in Triple-A where he belongs for the time being. In the long term, the Mets need to figure out if he’s salvageable as a starter, needs to be their Trevor Williams, or perhaps their next Seth Lugo.
4. David Robertson has more than taken over for Edwin Díaz. The issue is the rest of the bullpen continues to fluctuate between injured, ineffective, and lights out. Really, game-to-game, the Mets have no consistency down there other than Robertson.
5. The youth movement has begun with Brett Baty, and we see Francisco Álvarez has been forcing the issue (surprisingly with his defense). At some point, the Mets are going to have to just give the DH job to Mark Vientos because he has been annihilating the baseball.
6. Buck Showalter seems content to stick with his veterans, and if that continues in the long run, it is going to be a problem. Given how young players were the key to his success in Baltimore, it is flat out crazy to see how he hasn’t involved from the instincts which doomed him with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers.
7. Pete Alonso has been nearly everything you could ask from him to start this season. In fact, he’s even back to playing good defense at first base.
8. Brandon Nimmo has responded to signing that massive contract by arguably being the best player in baseball to start the season. This will be the first season he is an All-Star, and we should seem him get some MVP consideration should he stay healthy.
9. It’s been an uneasy start for Francisco Lindor, but he has been phenomenal defensively. Just remember with him, May is typically the month he breaks out in a season, so we should be in for a treat.
10. The way Daniel Vogelbach has started the season he is going to give the Mets reason to follow Daniel Murphy, who is off to a hot start with the Long Island Ducks. Better yet, we may see Vientos here sooner rather than later. Really, at some point, Vogelbach has to hit for some power.
11. Whatever the Mets thinking was on Tommy Pham, it was wrong. Moreover, it was wrong to build outfield depth with players 34 and older (aside from Nimmo). That goes double when you consider the Mets have zero Major League ready outfield depth in Syracuse.
12. Jeff McNeil surprisingly got off to a very slow start. However, he has been really strong the past two weeks, and he appears poised to have another very good season for the Mets.
13. McNeil needs to be more of a table setter. The Mets going with Starling Marte batting second just isn’t working. He’s making weak contact, and he’s just not getting on base enough. McNeil isn’t a five hitter. Again, Showalter needs to stop with the deference to veterans and start looking to win games.
14. Give Eduardo Escobar all the credit in the world. He lost his job, and he responded by being an amazing teammate and mentor. While his production may not be what the Mets wanted it to be when they signed him, the signing has paid off tenfold with his leadership and clubhouse presence.
15. Increasingly, Mark Canha looks done, at least as an everyday player. There needs to be a rotation with him and Luis Guillorme playing until the Mets figure out what they want to do with Ronny Mauricio. On Mauricio, so long as Showalter is loathe to play the young players, you simply cannot call him up.
16. There is an ace somewhere inside Kodai Senga. We saw it in Japan, and we have seen glimpses of it here. However, if he is going to continue to walk the ballpark, he is going to be a borderline MLB starter. That is a huge problem for the Mets with much of their success being tied into how good or bad he performs.
17. Every year, Drew Smith seems to be performing worse than what his actual numbers are. Part of that is his walk rate is too high.
18. Tomás Nido‘s defensive metrics are surprisingly poor. Part of that may be the difficulties in catching Senga. If not, the Mets are in trouble when their defensive specialist behind the plate isn’t performing.
19. The biggest takeaway from April is the Mets appear to be a postseason team with part of that being because it is an expanded postseason format. Keep in mind, while their record now may not be awe inspiring, they are still on a 90 win pace.
20. It needs to be repeated over and over again. The Mets need to go with their younger and more productive players. If Showalter is going to stand in the way of that, the Mets need to find someone who won’t. It’s just that simple.
The New York Mets have a number of offensive problems to start the season with nearly everyone struggling at one point. Singling out any single player is a big unfair, but like with what the Mets did with Eduardo Escobar, at some point, the team needs to know when to make a switch.
Right now, the Mets are getting into that position with Mark Canha.
Canha is a useful player on a Major League roster. He gives excellent at-bats, and he makes contact. He does find a way to get on base with a career 21.2% walk rate. He is a solid defender in left field, and he is a good base runner with some speed.
However, when you break it all down, we are seeing a 34 year old with diminishing skills. In some ways, he is the epitome of a Mets offense with has trouble generating power and scoring runs.
Per Baseball Savant, Canha is among the worst in generating hard contact at the plate, which is why his xBA, xSLG, and xwOBA are so low. He’s generating just 5.3% barrels per plate appearance. Keep in mind, that is not at all the worst on the Mets.
Last year, Canha got away with this same approach a bit for two reasons. First and foremost was his .309 BABIP. That was uncharacteristically high for him. He’s at .289 for his career, and with him at .262 this season, we are seeing a batter with a 96 wRC+ to begin the season.
Canha currently has a .690 OPS. Historically, he has a .741 over the first month of the season. Last season, he had a .792 OPS over the first month of the season. So far, he has not been the same hitter he was last season, which has been problematic.
Another reason Canha was so effective last season was the HBP. He’s been a pincushion his entire career, and he led the majors with 28 HBP last year. That was after leading the league with 27 the previous season. So far this year, he is “only” at two, which puts him on pace for roughly 12.
Now, the Mets could get away with this if Canha was an elite defender. He’s not. He was a -1 OAA last year. This season, he is at a 0 OAA while converting roughly the same percentage of plays he did last season.
Fact is, Jeff McNeil plays a better left field than Canha does right now. Looking at the roster, Luis Guillorme may hit for even less power than Canha, but he is a better defensive player (even if his -2 OAA at second is uncharacteristically low to start the year). The Mets also have the option of looking towards Ronny Mauricio at some point during the season.
Again, Canha has value. He can be the platoon option for Daniel Vogelbach. He can spell Pete Alonso at first. He can still play left field. The problem is he’s not hitting enough to remain as a regular in the lineup, and he doesn’t field well enough to carry a weaker bat.
By all accounts, the Mets can give him more time. Typically, May is really when he gets going in a season. He should get a couple of weeks at least, but at some point, if Canha still isn’t producing, he is going to have to sit for another player.
The New York Mets have had too many starting pitching injuries to start the season. In fact, at the moment, Kodai Senga is all that remains from their projected Opening Day rotation.
Justin Verlander and José Quintana started the year on the IL. Verlander is missing over a month, and Quintana is out until around the All-Star Break if not longer. Carlos Carrasco has an elbow injury, and there is a very real possibility he could be done for the season if not for his career.
Max Scherzer needed to have an extra day before his last start, and then he was suspended. Our good friend David Cone would show why the suspension was garbage, but nevertheless, Scherzer was suspended for 10 games.
David Cone's Rosin Experiment. pic.twitter.com/ZI5CnAkZ1C
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 24, 2023
As we know, this has pushed David Peterson and Tylor Megill into the rotation. That wasn’t a big deal as both were good starters for the Mets 101 team last season. Joey Lucchesi also had a history of being a capable Major League starter, so while the Mets may not have wanted him in the rotation, his needing to start wasn’t an issue.
The issue was with José Butto being pushed into the rotation.
Last season, Butto was thrust into the rotation, and the results were ugly. In his lone start, he last just four innings allowing seven runs to the Philadelphia Phillies. Alec Bohm really got the best of him hitting two homers. After that game, there were many who unfairly said he was a bust and would never be a Major League starter.
Fast forward to this year, and Butto was again starting games for the Mets. That is something no one wanted, but this time, Butto has fared far better than anyone would have expected.
Through two starts, Butto has pitched 9 2/3 innings allowing three earned runs. Per Baseball Savant, batters are not hitting him hard at all, and they’re having difficulty squaring the ball up on him.
Of course, it’s not all good news. Butto’s control has been poor, and that’s probably being kind. He’s walked 10 over 9 2/3 innings. That’s more than a walk per inning.
Forget about his 2.79 ERA being unsustainable with those many walks. It’s a flat out recipe for disaster. That goes double when he’s recorded only three strikeouts.
However, he’s getting away with it. There are some good reasons for it. There’s the aforementioned weak contact against him.
There’s also the 57.6% ground ball rate. Weak ground balls are easy outs for an infield with Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil. That’ll get you out of a lot of jams.
The other answer is Butto has faced bad teams in the Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals. Assuredly, he’d get roughed up by better teams, but he pitched passably against the opponents he had to face.
We can dismiss what he’s done. He’s been five and fly against bad teams. That’s only part of the picture.
He’s also eaten up 9 2/3 innings which could’ve been put on the bullpen. That will help the Mets in the long run. It makes what he did far more important than many realize.
In the end, Butto looks like he still has work to do before he’s Major League ready. In the interim, he’s better than when we last saw him, and he still made a positive contribution to the team. Credit to him for stepping up.
The New York Mets top prospects all began the season with Triple-A Syracuse with the expectation that sooner or later they were going to take over major roles on this Mets team. Put another way, if the Mets veterans did not play well, the organization would have the excuse they needed to push that veteran aside for a potential future All-Star.
That already began with Brett Baty taking over for Eduardo Escobar. Escobar struggled to start the season at the plate and in the field. The Mets felt like they had little other choice than to finally give the job to Baty.
Now, Baty has not set the world on fire. In six games, he is only 5-for-21 at the plate with no extra base hits. However, he has posted a surprisingly strong 2 OAA at second.
As a result, so long as he keeps fielding, and the Mets keep winning games, he can work through his struggles at the plate. After all, Escobar was struggling at the plate an in the field.
Right now, Baty is joined on the roster by Francisco Álvarez. Alvarez is only up because Omar Narváez was injured. Buck Showalter made Álvarez the back-up to Tomás Nido, but as previously detailed, Álvarez has begun pressing the issue by actually outperforming Nido as a pitch framer. There’s also his immense power.
Speaking of immense power, Mark Vientos has been destroying baseballs down in Triple-A. So far this season, he has a .706 SLG and 191 wRC+. Perhaps even more important than the power numbers is his cutting down his strike out rate by nearly five points. As impressive as this all is, it’s all the more so when you consider he is historically a very slow starter.
While Vientos is uncharacteristically hot early, Daniel Vogelbach has not hit for any power to start the season. Through the first 17 games, he has a .375 OPS with just three extra base hits. To be fair, he has been getting on base with a .412 OBP, which is still valuable even if he can’t run.
Still, a Mets team largely devoid of power outside Pete Alonso needs more power in the lineup, and that would preferably come from their DH. Keep in mind, Vogelbach also comes with the problem of being a platoon bat requiring the Mets to carry extra players to pick up his slack. Between the power, ability to actually fill in defensively at the corner infield spots, and his ability to play everyday, Vientos offers far more for the Mets.
Finally, there’s Ronny Mauricio. Like Vientos, he is off to a hot start at the plate with 1.083 OPS. That is coming off the heels of being the LIDOM MVP and a great spring training. It does seem the Mets are preparing for his getting called up this year by moving him to second base this past week.
With respect to that, this is one of the reasons Jeff McNeil is so valuable to the team. While a very good defensive second baseman, he is also a good fielding left fielder. To wit, it seems like McNeil is destined to play left field for the Mets while Mauricio takes over second.
It would seem Mauricio would most likely get the call-up in the event of an injury. On that point, we have already had some Starling Marte scares this season. Aside from Brandon Nimmo, the Mets outfielders are all over the age of 34.
You could argue he could force his way in there over a Mark Canha, who still isn’t hitting for power despite an offseason regiment designed to do so. However, the Mets value his leadership and ability to get on base. Moreover, Mauricio really can’t push aside a veteran like Canha while his walk rate continues to be poor. This year, it’s up to 4.7% which is still problematic.
That said, Mauricio is still hitting and trying to force his way to the majors. We saw Baty has already done that this season. Vientos is on the verge of doing that as well. In the end, the Mets could have a major overhaul this season by going to their younger and better performing players.
In the opening game of the four game set against the San Francisco Giants, the New York Mets spotted a 5-0 for Kodai Senga. Of course, part of that was J.D. Davis‘ inability to play third extending Jeff McNeil‘s at-bat leading to a hit by pitch with his scoring on an Eduardo Escobar homer.
At 5-0 in the fourth, the game should have been all but over. At least, that is the case when you have a pitcher like Senga, or better put, a pitcher like we thought Senga was going to be.
Early on, Senga looked very good. His ghost fork has been unhittable. He wasn’t quite unhittable over the first four innings, but he looked in control of the game. That changed completely in the fifth.
Blake Sabol and LaMonte Wade Jr.. homered in the fifth. After that came back-to-back walks toThairo Estrada and Michael Conforto. Fortunately, Davis was up next and struck out for the second out of the inning. After an RBI single and wild pitch, it was suddenly 5-4.
That would be it for Senga. Five innings of work for a Mets bullpen that is getting increasingly more taxed by the day. So far, Senga has started four games for the Mets, and he has not gone beyond five innings twice.
The biggest issue with him has been the walks. He’s walking 14.9% of the batters he faces. That’s really beyond the limits of what is acceptable from a starting pitcher. The same goes for the 6.0 BB/9.
Even if Senga has the talent to limit the damage, he’s still taking himself out of games early with all the additional pitches. More walks is more base runners. In addition to it being more opportunities for the opposition to score, Senga is just not giving himself a chance to go deep into games.
More than that, this is when the Mets desperately need him to step up. José Quintana is gone until at least July. Justin Verlander has been out to start the season, and as of the moment, we don’t know when he will return. Carlos Carrasco has been shut down with elbow inflammation.
On top of that, Max Scherzer needed an extra day between starts. On top of that, he is being suspended for 10 days due to his being accused of using illegal substances in the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That means 4/5 of the current Mets rotation is what was supposed to be the Triple-A Syracuse Mets rotation. As we know, David Peterson and Tylor Megill began the year in the rotation. Now, Jose Butto and Joey Lucchesi will be in the rotation. That is the way it will be for at least two turns through the rotation.
In many ways, that makes Senga the de facto ace. That shouldn’t be too big of a deal because that’s what he was in Japan. However, with the Mets, he hasn’t looked like that. He appears to be more of a fifth starter.
To be fair, it is just four starts into his Major League career. There is every chance he figures it out and becomes much more than a fifth starter. However, life and baseball aren’t fair. The Mets need Senga to be more than that now. They need him to accelerate his acclimation to the majors. Hopefully, he can step up and do just that because the Mets need it from him.
As usual, the New York Mets went to Milwaukee and forgot how to play baseball. It always happens:
1. Since 2016, the Mets are 3-18 at whatever they’re calling Miller Park now. It’s at the point where the 1986 Mets in their prime couldn’t beat a Milwaukee t-ball team if it is played in that ballpark.
2. The Mets lost a game 10-0 and the next one 9-0. That’s something the 1962 or 1993 Mets did. That should tell you how bad the series was.
3. Keith Hernandez on a hot mic double guessing Buck Showalter for the insanely bad decision of sending Carlos Carrasco for another inning spoke for all Mets fans.
4. Carrasco getting a pitch clock violation before he threw a pitch tells you how well he’s adapting to it.
5. Showalter saving Adam Ottavino for the Brewers best left-handed hitters and burning David Robertson before that is simply incompetent managing. Robertson is great against left-handed batters, and Ottavino got hit hard by them last year.
6. With all that is going on with the Mets are the present, Showalter cannot afford these unforced errors. More to the point, the whole premise for hiring him was he doesn’t make these egregious mistakes because he knows more than us all.
7. If the issue for Pete Alonso was the bat handle, the Mets shouldn’t let him near anything other than the axe handle again.
8. It was a real positive to see Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, and Jeff McNeil get three hit games. All three have been struggling in their own right, and they all need to break out of their early season slumps.
9. Whatever is going on with Max Scherzer, he needs to figure it out. It’s not just the three homers on three pitches. He is becoming susceptible to the big inning, and the strikeout numbers are down. If he’s not an ace, the Mets are in trouble.
10. Luis Guillorme does what he does. He had a good game at the plate, and he was very good defensively. He also stepped up and pitched a scoreless inning when the Mets really needed to save the bullpen. He is much better than people want to give him credit.
11. Mark Canha had one big game in Miami. Aside from that, he has been terrible at the plate, and we know he hasn’t been great in the outfield. His days as a starter should be numbered.
12. Of all the issues we see with Eduardo Escobar, perhaps the most troubling is his sprint speed is way down. Perhaps, that is because he hasn’t had any reason to sprint this season.
13. The Mets did have a bright spot in the series with John Curtiss and Dennis Santana. Hopefully, they can be this reliable all season long.
14. Omar Narváez will be missed. He had an excellent start to the season, but now, they Mets are going to be without him for two months. This should be the start of the Francisco Álvarez Era.
15. If not for the Brett Baty thumb injury, you have to imagine he would have been here this weekend. The Mets already need him. You can say the same for Mark Vientos, but there’s no obvious spot on the roster for him right now.
16. After all we saw in Milwaukee, the Mets were smart to delay the season opener a day. The team was in shambles and needed a rest. It sucks for the fans, but we are more interested in wins than anything else . . . or at least we should be.
17. Flat out, the Mets did not look good in this series. They were completely outplayed by a mediocre Brewers squad. The hope is that it is just that ballpark.
18. After the home opening series against the Miami Marlins, things get more difficult for the Mets. If they continue playing this way, changes will need to come sooner rather than later.
19. This id David Peterson’s chance. He can’t blow it like he did in this series.
20. That final game of the series is what gives you hope. As we saw last year, when Lindor and Alonso are hitting, everything is fine. You’d like to believe after last season, Billy Eppler would’ve tried harder to ease Lindor’s and Alonso’s burden.