It’s time for the New York Mets to hit the panic button. The Mets just got swept by the team they’ve been chasing all season. The Washington Nationals just handled the Mets with relative ease. After splitting a 4-game series with the terribly bad Atlanta Braves, the Mets then followed up that pathetic performance with a no show in Washington. The Nationals outscored the Mets 25-8 in the three game series. The offense was horrendous, the managing was questionable at best, and the pitching wasn’t the same dominant force we’re used to seeing. Noah Syndergaard got roughed up in game one of the series and Matt Harvey followed that up with a shortened start because of rain. Logan Verrett pitched the final game of the series and performed admirably, but once again, the Mets offense was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t until James Loney’s home run in the 9th inning of game three that the Mets were able to snap a 23-inning scoreless streak.
The Mets offensive issues have been well documented. They signed Jose Reyes to a minor league deal with the hope that he can eventually have a positive impact on the team. Hopefully they’re not holding their breaths. Reyes hasn’t played in the majors in over a year and even when he did, he wasn’t the same player that he was in the past. There have been rumors that the Mets may go outside the organization to bring in someone that can give this offense a shot in the arm. The problem is that the Mets don’t have the firepower in the farm system the way they did last year when they landed Yoenis Cespedes. Players like Yunel Escobar and Jonathan Lucroy are the guys being talked about to come help this offense. While both Escobar and Lucroy are nice players, neither one of them are going to come in here and fix the problem.
While the offense has been the biggest issue, there are other issues that can’t be ignored. First of all, their starters aren’t completely healthy. Both Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard are dealing with bone spurs in their elbows. While Syndergaard has said he can pitch threw it, the same may not be true for Matz who may require surgery. To go along with the elbow issues of both Matz and Syndergaard, the Mets ace, Matt Harvey, has been hardly that this year. Harvey has really struggled and has seen his record fall to 4-10 after the loss in Washington. Harvey and manager Terry Collins have stood by their decision to let Matt pitch through it, but he clearly isn’t the ace that we’re used to seeing. Then we get to Terry Collins. He has made some questionable decisions this year both in games and in the clubhouse. He is clearly frustrated with everything that’s going on. Collins’ questionable decisions include allowing Harvey to stay in some games too long and allowing him to keep starting games despite being mediocre at best. He also seemed to be fixated with the idea that Kevin Plawecki was going to hit at some point. While Travis d’Arnaud was out, Plawecki saw way too much time behind the plate. Mets’ backup catcher Rene Rivera has been praised for his ability to handle the staff and play strong defense behind the plate. But while d’Arnaud was out, Collins kept putting Plawecki behind the plate for “offense.” Well, he wasn’t getting that offense and a change should have been made. He also refused to put Juan Lagares in more games despite the fact that he makes them a better team defensively and Michael Conforto was struggling mightily. So mightily in fact that they had to send him down to Triple-A Las Vegas. Of course Lagares then got hurt and landed on the DL and now can’t play everyday with Conforto being sent down. As bad as the Mets have been, some of the blame can be placed on the fact that they’re missing two big bats in the middle of their lineup. Both David Wright and Lucas Duda were being counted on to be key parts of this offense and they have both missed significant time due to injury. Travis d’Arnuad made a trip to the DL and Yoenis Cespedes has been dealing with nagging injuries as well. They’ve definitely been bitten by the injury bug.
Just about everything is going wrong with the Mets right now and it may seem like the sky is falling. That’s probably because it is. The Nationals had been struggling, losing 8 of their last 9 heading into the series with the Mets and the Mets failed to capitalize. This is a team with World Series aspirations and it seems more likely that they’ll miss the playoffs than make it to the World Series. If the Mets want to stay in the hunt, they need to make a move. They need to make BIG move and they need to make it fast. While I don’t think Terry Collins will be fired, I also wouldn’t be surprised if the idea is tossed around. You can’t put all the blame on Terry for this season’s struggles, but when a finger needs to be pointed, it’s usually pointed at the manager. The Mets need to acquire talent and they need to do it now. Jose Reyes is not going to save this team. They need a big bat if they really want to contend this year. It just doesn’t seem like they’re in the market for a difference maker. They seem to be more in the market for a crutch to help them limp their way through the season. Hopefully a change is coming soon because a World Series appearance is definitely not in the cards for this team. A playoff appearance should be considered a success at this point.
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