Despite rather low expectations from just about everyone outside the organization, the New York Mets had a great opening month of the season. They survived a terrible first week from the bullpen and sluggish starts by several key hitters to finish April with a record of 14-11. However, that promising first month has been ruined by the team’s most recent road trip, in which they lost six of eight games, causing them to fall to fourth place in what is an ultra-competitive NL East division.
When the Mets beat up on Cole Hamels for the umpteenth time, it looked like it was going to be a good road trip. However, a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies saw Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler and Jenrry Mejia get knocked around by a red-hot Rockies lineup, while the bullpen blew the only game in which the Mets’ bats came alive, preventing the team from salvaging a series split.
A lackluster turn through the rotation isn’t anything to be concerned about for the Mets, as most of the time they can rely on getting a solid outing from their starting pitcher. However, if the Mets are going to win games on a consistent basis and remain competitive, the bullpen has to hold up. And after this latest road trip, the bullpen is once again high on the Mets’ list of concerns after a brief reprieve towards the end of April.
Of course, the Mets’ problem while they were getting swept by the Miami Marlins was a lack of offense, as the team scored three runs in three games and was shut out for the final 23 innings of the series. The team wasted brilliant performances by both Wheeler and Jon Niese. They were also swept by the Marlins even though they didn’t have to face Miami ace Jose Fernandez, which is an unacceptable result against a division opponent. The Mets’ offense has been suspect all season, outside of a few small windows, but the last three games in Miami were surely the low point.
Of course, one would expect the Mets to come back fighting and not get discouraged after such a disappointing road trip, because that’s what the team has always done during the time Terry Collins has been manager. That’s all well and good, but with a successful April and the profound struggles of the Atlanta Braves over the past week, the Mets could have climbed into first place in the NL East if they could have performed better during their eight-game road trip. Instead, they are in fourth place and need to get their offense in gear quickly before the rest of the division leaves them in the dust.