Although the season is only 60 games old, the New York Mets‘ inability to get big hits in crucial situations has already firmly entrenched itself as one of the more frustrating storylines of the first half. Although New York is middle of the pack in runs scored, that number belies how the team is actually doing offensively.
The Mets are an incredible 9-for-61 with the bases loaded this season for a paltry .148 average. Even more incredible is that there are three teams with a lower average, but New York shouldn’t be taking solace in that. The 61 bases loaded opportunities lead the major leagues, but time and again the Mets have failed to put an opponent away or to bust a game open when the opportunity presented itself. New York also leads the majors with 17 strikeouts with the bases loaded, another dubious distinction.
Perhaps even more of an indictment for the Mets lineup is that the culprits aren’t the usual suspects. Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores, who have been splitting time at shortstop, are the only two players on the roster with more than one hit with the bases loaded this year (they both have two). The Mets’ Nos. 2 through 6 hitters, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Chris Young and Lucas Duda, are a combined 1-for-19 with the sacks full this season.
As the bases loaded stat alludes to, New York’s problem hasn’t been getting the men on base — it’s been driving them in when they get on. According to teamrankings.com, New York is also second in the league for most runners left on base per game. The Mets currently stand at 7.67 runners per game, only a fraction better than Boston’s league-worst 7.80.
Despite the offseason additions of Granderson and Young that were supposed to bolster the offense, neither player has gotten on track and both possess sub-.220 batting averages. Rookie catcher Travis d’Arnaud, also expected to provide some pop out of the lower third of the lineup, has struggled mightily and is sporting an ugly .557 OPS. Duda has been up and down this season since being named the everyday starter at first base and even the normally reliable Wright and Murphy have had their share of troubles with men on base.
While New York’s pitching hasn’t been as solid as many had hoped, it has still kept the team in most games. The Mets are an unsightly 8-18 in one-run games, a direct indictment on the offense, or lack thereof. With the starting rotation holding down the fort and the bullpen slowly rounding into shape, it’s up to the Mets’ offense to carry their weight or the post-All-Star break period in Flushing could look eerily similar to those of the last few seasons.