What’s offensive about the Mets

The New York Mets had 16 hits, four doubles, 13 walks and 26 runners in scoring position on Sunday, and beat the Cardinals, which is the good news. The bad news is it took 18 innings to accumulate such gaudy offense numbers. And that they were 1-for-26 with runners on second and/or third, scored three runs and left town on the eve of a crucial three-game series with the first-place Nationals with a bullpen as overworked as Donald Trump’s apologist.

The Mets are a team in 2015 that’s fascinating to outsiders and frustrating to their fans, for whom that feeling has been dormant almost a decade since they were losing NL East leads on the last weekend of the season or staring at called third strikes in Game 7 of the NLCS.

The Mets are third in team ERA in the NL (don’t blame the bullpen; the starters are just fifth) and last in the league in runs scored with just 317, or eight less than the Phillies, who are doing the tanking thing so well 76ers GM Sam Hinkie is envious. Of course, the Phillies also have the advantage of playing two more games, both of which, no doubt, they’ve probably lost.

(The Mets are just 29th in runs scored in MLB, with 14 more than the Chicago White Sox. Whoever put that lineup together should heed Ken Harrelson’s words and be gone; the White Sox have a DH, invested $42 million in Melky Cabrera’s .646 OPS, $25 million more in Adam LaRoche’s .687 OPS and produced an offense worse than the Mets.)

Hall of Famer John Smoltz said last week the Mets’ young starters — Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and injured Zack Wheeler — are “way better” than the great Braves’ staffs he was a part of in the ’90s. Presumably that’s without the benefit of the extra six inches on the outside corner Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were accused of partitioning for their strike zones, which is now the domain, according to Bryce Harper, of Zack Greinke.

Smoltz may be right, or not. Anyone who’s followed the Mets long enough to know who Gary Gentry is — or Harvey or Wheeler — knows the risks. But the 2015 Mets — 29th in MLB in runs scored, 29th in OPS, 29th in slugging, thank God for the White Sox — are headed to a lot more days like Sunday. Outfielder Michael Cuddyer, the free-agent acquisition whose .680 OPS cost the team their first-round draft choice, is the latest Met to be hurt.

A few things to know about the 2015 Mets’ offense, or lack thereof:

  • Wilmer Flores and Lucas Duda are tied for the team lead in RBIs with 38. That’s just more than half of the 72 Paul Goldschmidt has to lead MLB. Flores and Duda are tied for 36th in the NL, and 88th in MLB. Stalin Castro, batting .244 with a .593 OPS, has more. Leadoff batter Ian Kinsler has more. Chris Carter, who’s batting .185, has more. Freddie Freeman, who hasn’t played in a month, has more.
  • Juan Lagares and Kevin Plawecki each left nine Mets on base Sunday, and Duda left seven, going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts. Earl Campbell left five on in three at-bats. Think your spouse ignores you now? Marry the Mets and advance to second.
  • Mets hitters have accumulated 5.2 offensive WAR this year; two players — Harper and Mike Trout — have accumulated more themselves, and Manny Machado (5.1) nearly has. Mets pitchers have accumulated 0.9 offensive WAR this year.
  • Curtis Granderson leads the Mets with a .429 slugging percentage. That ranks 33rd in the NL and 76th in MLB, and is 273 points less than MLB leader Harper.
  • The Mets have lost 13 games this year when they’ve given up three runs or less, nine games when they’ve given up two or less. They’ve lost four games by 1-0 — including back-to-back to the Nats — and a 2-0 game in 11 innings to the Cubs.
  • The Mets have been shut out 10 times this year, twice on consecutive days. The pitchers who started those shutouts: Gio Gonzalez (3.99 ERA), Doug Fister (4.30), Kyle Lohse (6.17), Carlos Martinez (2.51), Chris Heston (3.39), Drew Hutchison (5.19), Julio Teheran (4.53), Kyle Hendricks (3.44), Jon Lester (3.37 and Matt Cain (5.06). Not a lot of Cy Young candidates on that list.
  • The Mets have scored 1 run in 12 other losses, and have scored two runs or less in 36 games, more than a third. They’ve scored three runs or fewer in 53 of their 92 games, and 20 of their last 26 games.
  • The Mets were no-hit by Heston in his 13th career start, making the Mets 1-7 in no-hit games.
  • The Mets have scored 317 runs entering play Monday. The Toronto Blue Jays, who lead MLB with 498 runs, scored their 317th on June 9 — almost six weeks ago.
  • Greinke’s scoreless innings streak is at 43.2. He pitches against the Mets next. What are the odds he takes the streak over 50 next weekend?
  • Mets cleanup hitters have combined for a .671 OPS. Imagine Erick Aybar as your cleanup hitter. Mets fans can.
  • It’s almost enough to make other fans feel sorry for Mets fans. Almost.

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