On a day-by-day basis, the New York Mets have little room for error or bad luck. The ineffectiveness of the Mets in scoring runs puts pressure on the pitching staff to to shut down the opposition and the defense to play mistake free in every game. It also means they have little chance of making up for bad breaks.
Take today’s game, for example. Curtis Granderson hit a ground-rule double to right-center that drove in one run. Had the ball not hopped over the fence, it would have scored two. In a more hitter-friendly ballpark, in warmer weather, the ball might have carried over the fence on a fly for a home run. A team with a decent offense would be able to overcome such luck, but not the Mets.
Every time the Mets get runners on base this year, they have to score. That’s completely unreasonable and statistically impossible, but that’s how it feels. They’re dead last in baseball in slugging percentage, which means they’re playing station-to-station baseball. They don’t seem to be able to score runs in bunches, which means the Mets have very little room for error in each game.
Granderson, signed to be the legitimate power bat in the middle of the lineup, only has six home runs. A good sign for the Mets is that he’s had a terrific month of May, hitting .310/.372/.592 with five of those six homers. All of that coming off a miserable March/April, when he hit .136/.252/.216. David Wright‘s getting his base hits — he’s in the top three in the league in that category, but after his home run today, he only has three on the season. Daniel Murphy, who was the Mets’ best hitter in April, has cooled off a bit. These three players — Wright, Granderson, and Murphy — are really the core of the Mets offense these days. All three of them have to hit for the Mets to have a chance. But it would be nice if the rest of the lineup could contribute.
Lucas Duda, who won the first base job (against right-handed pitchers, anyway), is second on the club with five homers, but he’s been struggling lately. He’s batting .231/.310/.346 with only one round-tripper this month. Juan Lagares continues to hit pretty well, while playing outstanding defense, but the Mets are getting very little production from left field, shortstop, and catcher.
The Mets need to figure out how to get their bats in gear. While it’s true that a good ballclub is built on the foundation of pitching and defense, a good offense can save the day when those other facets of the game aren’t going well, or if the team is plain unlucky.