New York Mets: Maintaining a balance between good hitting and pitching

Last week against the Colorado Rockies, the New York Mets had a golden opportunity to surpass the Atlanta Braves in the National League East after the Braves got swept by both the Miami Marlins and the San Francisco Giants. But, in typical fashion, the Mets let it swing by them after being spanked by the Rockies for three games.

Of course, the Rockies have a solid hitting squad, but their game on May 3 made it apparent that the Mets’ batters can show up just as they have for the past few series, however, their pitchers do not seem to show up.

The Mets’ batters have been surprisingly stellar since the season began thanks to hitters like Daniel Murphy, David Wright, and Juan Lagares. In May alone, the Mets have notched 23 RBIs, the fifth most in the National League. The Mets also have the third highest average in the National League with runners in scoring position at .258.

On the other side of the coin, the Mets’ pitchers have not performed as well. As a matter of fact, despite the Mets’ high numbers in hitting, the Mets’ pitching offsets it with an average ERA of 4.01, the fourth-worst in the National League. Among the most consistent pitchers on the Mets’ starting rotation is Dillon Gee who, with an ERA of 2.51, managed to throw six scoreless innings on May 4 to avoid the sweep against the Rockies, and Jon Niese who, despite a 2 – 2 record, maintains a 1.82 ERA. With their other starters, Bartolo Colon and Jenrry Mejia have ERAs of 5.36 and 5.23 respectively, and Zack Wheeler’s ERA sits at 4.35.

It seems like the Mets’ pitchers can go from pitching a gem in one inning to pitching horribly in the next. Take Mejia: He pitched well for the first four innings, but after that he collapsed and the Mets’ comfortable 6 – 0 lead went down the drain, eventually becoming a two-run deficit against Colorado.

Even after the Rockies took the lead, the Mets’ squad took the lead back at 9 – 8 and it seemed like it was destiny. All Mets closing pitcher Kyle Farnsworth had to do was seal the deal. He gave up a two run homer to a bench warmer for the Rockies’ walk off win.

In the first two games against the Rockies, Colon and Wheeler gave up 13 runs between them. If the Mets want to continue their hunt, they cannot afford this inconsistency with their pitchers. That is not to say that Colon, Mejia, and Wheeler cannot pitch a good game. Colon impressed with his first start against the Atlanta Braves. Mejia finished April with a 3 – 0 record along with a 3.49 ERA. Wheeler also only gave up one run and two hits in today’s game against the Marlins.

I would not hit the panic button for the Mets just yet as there are still many games left to be played, but if the Mets’ pitchers keep giving up 5+ runs per game, then I cannot expect the Mets’ batters to make up for it every time lest they end up with a sad .500 season. And with the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals in the vicinity, the Mets’ batters and pitchers need to work together like cogs in a machine.