Apparently, the slowly progressing spring weather isn’t doing enough to thaw out the frozen bats that belong to the New York Mets.
A two-game series against the Boston Red Sox turned into an offensive disaster as the Mets were limited to just one run in 18 innings — spoiling solid starts from David Peterson and Jacob deGrom along with strong outings from the bullpen.
The Mets have now scored 57 runs in 19 games this season, an average of three runs per game that ranks dead-last in the majors as a lineup that looked so imposing on paper heading into the season cannot get going in 2021.
At this point, it’s left Mets manager Luis Rojas baffled.
“I don’t know, the approach was just off,” he said after the Mets let down Jacob deGrom yet again on Wednesday night following a 1-0 loss. “Late on fastballs, chasing breaking balls, taking pitches in the zone, we were off, and it was consistent. A lot of hitters were in between. We have to clean it up, do a better job.”
To put it simply, they look lost.
On Tuesday, they faced a pitcher in Garrett Richards who entered the day with a 6.48 ERA and 12 strikeouts over four starts. Against the Mets, he struck out 10 while allowing just a single run in seven innings of work.
On Wednesday, Nick Pivetta — who owns a 5.25 career ERA and is a pitcher the Mets saw consistently when he played for the Philadelphia Phillies — allowed just one hit over five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.
Not exactly Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez taking the mound, but the flailing Mets certainly made Richards and Pivetta look like them.
Pete Alonso struck out five times in a row, including a golden sombrero on Tuesday night. Francisco Lindor is batting a measly .203 this season, including a current stretch where he’s 7-for-his-last-38 (.184) where he experienced the restless nature of New York fans for the first time as he was serenaded with boos this week.
“It’s interesting and it’s funny and it sucks,” Lindor said of being booed. “It doesn’t feel right, for sure. Interesting, because this is the first time that it’s happened in my career, and funny because I’m getting booed and people think I’m gonna go home and think about why I’m getting booed.
“I get it. They’re booing because there are no results. That’s it. They expect results, I expect results and I get it. It’s part of the job.”
Jeff McNeil with his .313 career batting average is batting just .204 and has yet to have a multi-hit game this season. James McCann is batting .167 over his last eight games. Dominic Smith, who was a top-10 offensive player in the National League last year, is batting .203 and has just five hits in his last 10 games.
“We’re slowing things down, but we’re not translating that into the game,” Rojas said. “We have nothing but trust in our hitters because we know we can hit. You expect that to happen soon but it’s something that we need to turn around right now.”
This undoubtedly will start to warm the coals under the hot seat of hitting coach Chili Davis, who would logically be perceived as the fall guy in such a situation. But if this is just a matter of everyone being cold at the same time for an extended spell, then this team should be scorching when everyone wakes up.
“Our guys have been pretty successful hitters in the past. Whether it’s situational, whether it’s building something in an inning, they’ve done it all,” Rojas said. “But watching guys now, we have to remind ourselves that hitting always isn’t going to be an aggressive approach. We just have to pick which way we’re going aggressive so we can go the other way.”
The excuse of “it’s early” can only be used for so long because, at the end of the day, every game does count — especially in what will be a closely-contested NL East. A three-game tilt against the Phillies in Philadelphia awaits the Mets, beginning Friday