While the New York Mets were finally able to get off the schneid this weekend, winning their first and second games of the 2014 season, the offense, or lack thereof, continues to be a cause for concern. Although it’s a very small sample size that may change over time, through six games the Mets only have 33 hits, good for a .178 batting average which is currently last in the league. New York is also last in the league in OBP (.251) and bottom four in team OPS (.597), which is a foreboding combination to say the least.
While it’s early for there to be too much cause for concern (after all, pitchers frequently dominate batters early in the season), it’s slightly disconcerting for a team whose offense has been its Achilles heel the past few seasons. The Mets haven’t finished higher than 23rd in OPS since 2011, even with one of the game’s best players in David Wright, the emergence of Daniel Murphy and surprise seasons from players like Marlon Byrd and Scott Hairston mixed in. New York imported Curtis Granderson and Chris Young this offseason to add a little pop to the lineup, but Young played one inning before being placed on the DL and Granderson has struggled to make contact in the early going, with twice as many strikeouts as hits (eight to four).
New York is also striking out at an alarming rate — their 61 strikeouts are fourth in the league — and they’re on an early pace to set the franchise record for strikeouts in a season, although that seems a tad hyperbolic just six games into the season. The Mets, along with the St. Louis Cardinals, are the only team that has yet to steal a base this season, which has contributed to their difficulty in manufacturing runs. While the Mets are in the middle of the pack in runs scored, one-third of those runs have been a product of two swings: Andrew Brown‘s three-run homer off Stephen Strasburg in the season’s first inning and Ike Davis‘ walk-off grand slam vs. Cincinnati on Saturday.
Those home runs aside, New York has struggled to get rallies started. The Mets’ team low OBP tells a good deal of the story, but they’ve also failed to register more than seven hits in a game thus far. Juan Lagares and Davis are the only players hitting over .267, and prized catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud has yet to register a hit in 15 at-bats. Granted, they’ve faced some pretty solid pitching, so there’s hope the offense will start to come around when the schedule eases up a bit; but if New York is to make any noise this season, they’re going to need a lot more consistency up and down the lineup. At 2-4, it’s hardly time to panic, but the Mets are going to have to start hitting the ball with more authority and reaching base more frequently to dispel the early notions that this season will be the same as the last few.