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:
It’s almost enough to make other fans feel sorry for Mets fans. Almost.