If I had to pinpoint the No. 1 biggest issue for the New York Mets right now, it would be their hitting, and more specifically their timely hitting. All season long they have had issues with getting that hit when they need it most. With them failing to come through in important spots, it has caused them to fall behind in games, which ultimately has led to losses.
I am putting them on full blast after their performance tonight against the Washington Nationals. This is the biggest series of the season thus far and their bats have yet to show up. Tonight they had multiple opportunities to tie and even take the lead in the game and failed to do so every time. In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Mets had the bases loaded with one out trailing 2-1.
They seemed poised to break the game open after a few hits, an error committed by the Nationals and a hit by pitch. But no, they couldn’t even get a sacrifice fly, Wilmer Flores comes up and grounds into a fielder’s choice and the Nationals get the lead out at the plate. Then Kirk Nieuwenhuis comes up as a pinch hitter and strikes out to end the inning. The Nationals would tack on another run on a solo home run by Asdrubal Cabrera in the top of the eighth inning.
To make matters worse for the Mets, in the bottom of the ninth inning, Travis d’Arnaud leads off with a solo home run to cut the lead to 3-2. Matt den Dekker followed with a single, then my guy Juan Lagares was up in a bunting situation and failed to get the bunt down. He would pop up to the pitcher, I mean, come on now, what does it take? You have to convert in crucial situations like that. I don’t care who you are. That is flat a ridiculous that he didn’t get the bunt down.
Later in the inning the Mets would have runners at second and third with one out. You would think the Mets had Nationals closer Rafael Soriano right where they wanted him. Well guess what, you would be wrong. Eric Campbell comes up and hits a soft ground ball to the shortstop with the infield playing in and for some reason den Dekker broke for the plate and was obviously thrown out. That was just a bone-headed base-running error there. You can’t be going anywhere, especially with a ball hit right to a guy on a drawn in infield.
The next guy up was Curtis Granderson and instead of taking a few pitches to feel out the erratic Soriano, he swings at the first pitch and hits a come backer to the mound which ended the game. I understand why guys swing at the first pitch, but not in that spot. Granderson is a veteran and he knows better. He needed to work the count there because Soriano was bound to make a mistake. He was getting hit all inning, but that was the best Granderson could do: a chopper back to the mound.
Tonight their failure to produce was at an all-time high. This has been the issue all season long. It’s not one or two guys; it has been the whole entire team and it has cost them ball games all year. If they want to be a winning ball club, they must hit in tough situations, and we have not seen them do so.
Since the All-Star break, the Mets have scored the third fewest runs in the NL and have the second-lowest team batting average in that period. The pitching is there and will continue to be there. I hate to say it but the position players are failing them. They either need to shape up or ship out. Moves need to be made this offseason to get a big bat or two in this lineup to protect their stellar pitching. Until that happens, the Mets will continue to suffer from this very problem.