I’m not sure what the record is for the most Mets Will Find Their Rhythm articles in April, but we’ve gotta be rapidly approaching that benchmark.
Yes, the Mets’ offense has been anywhere from mediocre to putrid this season (depending on who you ask), but for all the poor high-leverage stats and early underperformance at the plate, they’re 7-5. That’s all that matters.
Following Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Cubs in the chilly confines of Wrigley Field (on the 105th anniversary of the stadium’s opening, no less), Mets manager Luis Rojas pointed to inconsistencies at the plate as being the main culprit for his team’s slow start.
“It’s back to the timing,” he said. “I think the timing mechanism is making us be late on pitches that we can hit and it’s causing us to speed up, too, and to have those chases. It’s gonna come around. I mean, you feel it. You know these guys. You know how they work. But right now, with runners in scoring position, we’re still struggling.”
Rojas is correct. Things will turn around for the Mets’ hitters. This group is too talented for it not to find its groove. The glaring issues early on with men in scoring position (.192/.308/.222) will give way more productive times ahead.
Most of all, things will turn around for Francisco Lindor. Historically, he’s been a slow starter, hitting .264/.341/.445 during the first month of the season over his career (.309/.380/.529 in May). Bats heat up with the weather. This isn’t a new development.
Pete Alonso hitting the Manfred Brand rubber pill out of the ball (his 100 MPH average exit velocity leads the majors among hitters with over 25 batted balls) is a time-tested formula for success.
Hit the ball hard, good things will happen. Baseball Physics 101. Pete has that box checked off. And when he’s on, he can put a team on his back.
As for getting the job done with ducks on the pond, these wholly disappointing April returns will rebound for net gains over the long haul. We remain quite bullish in that regard.
Since 2019, Alonso (.891 OPS with RISP), Michael Conforto (.913 OPS with RISP), and Jeff McNeil (.955 OPS in those situations) have been extremely valuable players in big spots. Those trends will return. The sample size says so.
Lindor (.710 OPS with RISP over the same span), hasn’t been as effective. The same could be said for his overall performance at the plate so far this season (.171/.327/.195) if we’re being honest.
But, thankfully, Lindor’s overall value to the ball club is measured in more than stats. His leadership skills (as well as his infield-galvanizing defense at shortstop) are sufficient safety nets when the offense isn’t there.
But there’s no reason to believe that the seventh-best player in the game by fWAR since 2017 (19.7) has suddenly lost his abilities at the plate a la Monstar thievery (any chance to drop a Space Jam reference, we’re gonna take it). He’s gonna be fine.
This game being a marathon — not a sprint — isn’t just a clever analogy to apply to everyday life. It’s the truth. Big picture season, engaged. Onward and upward.
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