The New York Mets have taken yet another dip as their season continues to be an emotional roller coaster. After a hot streak that saw New York win 16 out of 19 games, the Mets have cooled off. On August 13th, the Mets traveled to Atlanta to play the first-place Atlanta Braves.
The Braves beat the Mets two out of three games in that series. Since then, the Mets have gone 6-6 including a three-game sweep at Citi Field against the Braves this past weekend. New York lost three heartbreaking games and also blew a big chance to jump into the wild card spot as the Chicago Cubs were swept by the Washington Nationals.
New York Mets Take Another Dip
Problems Arise Against the Braves
The Braves have long been a thorn in the side of the Mets. Their young players are sure to carry the Braves for the next decade. So much that with some key players out they still swept the Mets. But New York did prove they can play with them. Two losses were by one run, and the other loss was a game the much-maligned Met bullpen coughed up.
The Mets were dealing with a short bench with Jeff McNeil on the injured list. The late-game changes which are so common in National League games were littered with players who should not be on major league rosters. No matter how this season ends, the Mets have some decisions to make before the 2020 season.
The series against the Braves exposed the weaknesses the Mets have. First and foremost is the bullpen. This is the part of the Mets team that will most likely cost them a wild card spot.
Their most reliable pitcher is Seth Lugo. He is starting to get two-inning appearances because there is no trust in any other pitchers. However, he has had problems appearing in back to back games. Edwin Diaz has been a disaster. He has given up 12 home runs in 48 innings pitched. That comes out to one homer per four innings pitched. In comparison, Diaz, during his three years playing for the Seattle Mariners, gave up just 20 home runs in 191 innings. That comes out to one homer allowed every nine innings. Justin Wilson has been really good the last month but has been on the injured list twice this season with elbow soreness.
The back end of the pen has been a revolving door of bad pitchers.
The Mets are carrying 13 pitchers. So the bench is short for a National League team. Not only is it short but ineffective. During the Mets 13 inning loss to the Braves, this issue was front and center. Especially with McNeil still on the injured list.
Late in the game, the Mets had no established hitter to jumpstart a rally or perhaps hit the ball out of the park. When one of the four players on the bench is the backup catcher, it gives the team very few late-game options
Help Is Coming
McNeil returned to the lineup during the Braves series. Two players who were supposed to be big parts of this team are set to come back. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo is on the last legs of a rehab stint. His return is coming this week.
Infielder Jed Lowrie who has not played all season long, is scheduled to return next week. Lowrie can play all the infield positions and has pop in his bat. If anything, the two returning players will provide a significant upgrade on the bench and possibly a much-needed spark.
Key Series Coming
The Cubs are coming to New York for a crucial three-game series with the Mets. The Cubs recent three-game losing streak has knocked them out of first place in the Central Division. As a result, they currently sit three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. However, they are still holding a one-game lead for the second wild-card spot ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mets are two games behind the Cubs and can make this race more interesting by sweeping this series. But that will be a tall task as both teams have good starting pitching and the Cubs have the same need to get back on track. This next stretch of games for the Mets could determine the outcome of the season.
After playing the Cubs, the Mets head to Philadelphia for a three-game set against the Nationals. They then return to New York to face the Phillies again. That will make a mark of 12 straight games against teams directly ahead of the Mets in the wild card standings. After sweeping the Cubs, the Nationals have opened up a four-game lead in the wild card standings.
Despite a season that has taken more twists and turns than you can count, everything is right there for the taking. For all of the shortcomings of Mickey Callaway as the manager to the inexperience of general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, the Mets have survived.
Even though New York has had injuries and players playing out of position, as well as the horrible way this roster was constructed, they have survived. From the decision to not be sellers at the trading deadline and adding a key pitcher in Marcus Stroman the Mets have survived.
Met fans are hoping for one more big hot streak that carries the team into the postseason. It’s all there for the taking. One thing is for sure, if the Mets take another dip it could ultimately end this season.
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