Mets Experimenting With Formula for Magic
Luis Rojas plays alchemist in this laboratory of Amazin'
There is no slowing down these New York Metropolitans.
First two months of the season with a large portion of your roster on the shelf? No problem. A week-long west coast trip with four games against one of the best teams in the National League to close it out? Bring it on.
No matter the obstacles, this team continues to rise in the face of challenges and keep moving forward. Exciting would be an understatement.
“We leave here with a good taste just because we’re playing really good baseball,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said after Sunday’s win in San Diego. “We stay consistent with the formula that’s giving us the chance to win games […] I’m very proud of how the guys keep playing and just keep their head up.”
Considering the sobering string of injuries to start the year, keeping one’s head up throughout has been no easy task. Fans and the organization, alike.
The formula Rojas is referring to has been pitching. Oodles of Noodles of quality pitching. Starters, relievers, long-men, short-men, spot guys, mop-uppers, etc. Nearly every arm on the staff has performed either up-to-or-beyond expectations.
And it’s been an anchor. Well, has been. As of late, the Mets’ offense has awoken. About — and just in the nick of — time.
Guys who were being counted on to produce (especially under these constraints), most notably Francisco Lindor, Dominic Smith, and James McCann — virtually the only starters who have made it through this gauntlet of a first two months healthy — simply were not.
That changed in a hurry and it’s been a tremendous development for the Metsies.
Over his last 11 games (47 plate appearances), Lindor’s hitting .311/.340/.556 with 147 wRC+, Smith’s hitting .379/.500/.655 with 215 wRC+ over his last 10 games, and McCann’s at .306/.342/.722, 189 wRC+ over the same span (38 PA each, respectively).
That will do. Combine that long-awaited uptick from the regulars with the ongoing, jaw-droppingly outstanding level of production coming off the “bench” (they’re not really the bench anymore, are they?), and Rojas’ Formula becomes even clearer — just win, baby.
Whoever needs to step up, do it. If your teammate is down, pick him up. This what we’ve been talking about with regard to the clubhouse culture being developed in Queens. One team, one goal.
Following another top-notch performance on Sunday, Mets right-hander Marcus Stroman (2.40 ERA, 53.9% groundball rate, 0.88 HR/9, 2.14 BB/9 this season) spoke about the vibe that’s been building among this group since February in Port St. Lucie and where’s it’s been able to guide them.
“This team is incredible,” Stroman said. “I know we’ll battle through any adversity. What we’ve been doing is truly remarkable. With having such prominent guys in the [injured list] and to have these guys step in and dominate, it’s been amazing to see.”
Tomas Nido working his way into a shared-time role behind the plate with McCann (working out beautifully, by the way; you know how we love internal competition at The Apple).
As for the main guys on the mend in Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, and J.D. Davis, there’s no telling when any of them will be back to 100 percent. Batting practice here or groundballs there are steps, not strides.
Patience is a virtue. In due time, the roster will be whole again. Or, at least, as complete as it’s gonna get. Until then, just keep following that formula.
“We can’t wait to get those guys back. We’re extremely confident in the now, though. We know we can win now with the guys we do have out there.”
That’s becoming more apparent every day. Onward and upward.
Subscribe to the free email list or become a paid subscriber below!
Never any paywalls. Once it leaves my head, it’s yours. But if you want to pay me for my work, it’s greatly appreciated.