Scrappy Mets Keeping Pace

News and notes from doubleheader split versus Atlanta on Monday

As we’re all well aware, there are some days that some teams just don’t have it. On Monday, for example, the Mets’ offense just didn’t have it.

But, as the story has gone this season, they made the most of the situation, let their scrappiness lead the way, and earned a split of Monday’s doubleheader against the Braves at Citi Field, keeping a 3.5-game cushion atop the NL East intact.

Marcus Stroman put forth five innings of two-run work, striking out four with a walk in the Mets’ 2-0 loss in Game 1. Despite allowing nine baserunners, Stroman somehow kept the game within reach for the Mets.

New York’s offense was held at bay by left-hander Kyle Muller and Atlanta’s bullpen so his effort was nullified — that will happen — but there were certainly positives to take away from the outing.

“I think it’s just a matter of staying in the moment, breathing, focusing on the next pitch,” Stroman said with regards to escaping multiple jams on Monday. “I feel like I’ve been in a better space mentally the past year. I’ve been really good with that, just as far as not taking my last pitch or things of adversity into the next pitch.”

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Success is fleeting in this game. The true test is rediscovering that groove before things get too far out of hand; whether that be pitch-to-pitch, start-to-start, etc

Stroman appears to be adept at adjusting and realigning.

Over three starts from June 27 through July 10 (13 innings), the right-hander pitched to a 5.54 ERA with a .808 OPS against. In his three starts since Stro’s trimmed that fat to the tune of a 2.00 ERA over 18 innings with a .594 OPS against. Adapt or die.

Over 21 starts this season, the free-agent-to-be has turned in a 2.63 ERA with 97 strikeouts, 27 walks, and 1.11 WHIP.

Considering the personnel issues the Mets’ rotation has endured this year, invaluable would be an understatement to describe Stroman’s contributions to this ball club.

And as this team heads down the home stretch, that will most definitely play.

On the offensive side of things, despite turning things around considerably as a group over the last month (4.8 fWAR in July is tied for second-most in MLB with San Francisco; LAD, 5.2 fWAR), Monday, that offense was awfully quiet.

Until Jeff McNeil’s RBI double in the bottom of the fifth of Game 2, the Mets were working on a 13-inning scoreless streak.

Again, these things will happen. Just don’t let the funk linger.

McNeil extended his hitting streak to 13 games with his 2-for-3 day, hitting .370/.442/.500 over that span and .344/.420/.443 over 69 PA in July (nice) to bring his season line to a much healthier .268/.352/.366 after sitting at .226/.312/.321 on July 1.

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“I feel much better at the plate,” McNeil said after the Game 2 win. “Kinda feel like I’m getting my swing back. Real happy, seeing the ball well. I’m getting some good pitches to hit, putting some good swings on it.”

The bullpen took the reins in the second game and absolutely thrived.

Aaron Loup (1.39 ERA) led the way and Jeurys Familia, Anthony Banda, Trevor May (1.65 ERA since June 16; 17 appearances), Seth Lugo (not without a scare), and Edwin Diaz (7 K, BB, 0 ER over his last three outings) followed suit.

Just what the doctor ordered. It’s performances like these that propel a team through rough, don’t-know-who’s-starting-tomorrow times.

Onward, friends.

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