Lack of Urgency Leaves Mets Picking Up the Pieces Again
Joe Ross and Washington's bullpen can't hold the Mets in check as they did
It’s still early, but this is getting concerning. For every step forward this team takes, a self-inflicted stumble follows shortly thereafter.
On Friday, the Mets offense showed up to back the greatest pitcher we’ve ever seen in Jacob deGrom, and everything was beautiful. Momentum was back on the Metsies side.
On Saturday, this group came out flat, remained flat, and gave back whatever progress they made on Friday night with an uninspired 7-1 loss to the Nationals.
Marcus Stroman, who got off to an outstanding start this season, pitching to a 3-0 record with a 0.90 ERA, 11 strikeouts, three walks, and just 10 hits allowed over his first three outings, was simply not sharp.
The 29-year-old has lived on the corners this season and it’s played well for the right-hander. On Saturday, Stroman lived over the plate and paid for his transgressions.
The eight hits that Stroman allowed (all singles) weren’t tanked. Some were struck well but most found holes through the infield. These things will happen. “It’s just baseball, man,” Stroman said after the game.
Still, these things piling onto each other, in addition to defensive miscues and offensive deficiencies (seven more runners left on base) usually don’t leave a team in the optimal position to succeed. Saturday was a case in point.
Five runs (four earned) over four innings isn’t insurmountable. Especially not for this lineup. Well, in a perfect world, at least. Right now, the Mets would be hard-pressed to hit their way out of a wet paper bag.
Facing soft-tossing righty Joe Ross, the Mets allowed 92 MPH fastballs and all sorts of off-speed and breaking junk to leave them on their heels for six innings and the Nationals’ bullpen (4.30 ERA heading into the game) held them to just one hit over the final three frames.
In all fairness, Ross pitched and located well, but this offense shouldn’t be getting shut down by the likes of him or the Nats’ relief corps.
Losses will happen, as will your generally bad days at the office. But some of these offensive and defensive performances 15 games in have been horrendous.
The lack of urgency from this offense is becoming a real issue if it hasn’t presented itself as one already. Defensive shortcomings continue to hamstring any efforts to allow this pitching staff to lead the way.
Stroman wasn’t on top of his game today, but Michael Conforto allowing a Josh Harrison single to turn into three bases, leading to an early 1-0 lead for Washington, certainly didn’t help set any tones.
Conforto got his error (and weak throw home Ross’ RBI single in the second) back in the fourth with his first home run of the season, but by then the Nats were ahead 5-1, and the Mets were already looking beaten.
That’s not a great sign for where this team is at three-plus weeks into the season.
Whether guys are pressing or Luis Rojas needs to make a stronger effort of motivating his players as opposed to merely having his guys’ backs is unknown and likely will remain that way.
That’s behind-closed-doors stuff. But in any case, the energy of this team needs to be addressed.
As we talked about on Friday morning, the offense and defense need to match the production of the pitching staff in order for this locomotive to truly gain steam. Right now that’s not happening.
Series finale at 1:10 PM EST on Sunday (WPIX/WCBS 880 AM), weather permitting. Taijuan Walker gets the nod. Get back on that horse, boys.
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