By: Stache Staff

Mets Early Success Not Sustainable Without Change


Coming off of a successful 6-4 home stand that ended with back-to-back series wins over the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins, the Mets find themselves with a somewhat surprising 14-11 record 25 games into the 2014 campaign. As excited as I’m sure most Mets fans are, myself included, we all need to take a step back and look at the numbers first.

First let’s look at the reason why the Mets are winning so far: Their pitching. New York’s pitching staff ranks 5th in the National League with a 3.67 ERA and honestly, they’ve been even better than the numbers indicate. After a rocky start to the season, especially for the bullpen, both their starters and relievers have been incredibly effective. In fact, since April 14th, Mets pitchers have posted a 2.49 ERA (3rd in the NL), including a stretch where their starting pitchers went 11 consecutive games without surrendering a home run, the club’s longest streak since 1991.

Another positive here is that in the coming months, Mets fans will get acquainted with more of their young minor league pitching with the eventual call-ups of Noah Syndergaard and potentially Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom, assuming none of them are traded prior to the Super-Two deadline.

All that said, in all likelihood, Mets pitching, specifically the bullpen, will hit a snag at some point. When you have guys like Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth, and even Daisuke Matsuzaka, in your bullpen, not to mention the oft-used Scott Rice and Carlos Torres, you’re likely playing with fire. And that’s even to mention potential injuries, which the Mets are no stranger to, having already placed three of last season’s pitchers (Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner and Bobby Parnell) on the 60-day DL because of Tommy John Surgery over the past year.

Now we’ve reached the problem: Their hitting.

The Amazin’s are right there in both the division and Wild Card standings one month in, and that’s with their offense struggling. In fact, the word “struggling” may be an understatement. The Mets rank 14th in the National League in home runs, 9th in runs scored, 11th in on-base percentage, last in both batting average and slugging percentage and first in strikeouts. In their first 25 games, New York has gotten little-to-nothing from Ruben Tejada (.200/.316/.215), Curtis Granderson (.129/.242/.212), Travis d’Arnaud (.219/.306/.313) and even their pitchers, who are 0-for-41 at the plate this season.

Sandy Alderson, the front office and the coaching staff built this team with a specific, patient approach in mind. The Mets lead the National League in walks and have swung at the least amount of pitches out of the strike zone of any team, yet they’re still just ranked 11th in OBP. Not only are the Mets taking pitches that aren’t strikes, but they’re also taking ones that are, as they rank 12th in the NL in Z-Swing% (the percentage of pitches a batter swings at that are in the strike zone) and 90.5% of the strikes they’ve seen this year have been looking (11th in the NL).

If the Mets want to shock the world and be real contenders in the National League for the first time in six years, something is going to have to change offensively. Whether that’s players you depended on going into the season turning things around, a tweaked hitting philosophy by the team as a whole, acquiring new talent via trade or free agency, or perhaps all three, has yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure; if the Mets don’t improve their offense, and soon, we may wind up looking for these same answers next offseason.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he'd have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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