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The Mets Have Been A Disappointment, But Can They Turn It Around?

Last year the Mets were one of the best teams in baseball all season long. They finished the 2022 campaign with 101 wins and 61 losses, which was tied for the league’s third-best record. Unfortunately, New York finished the year on a disappointing note. After a back-and-forth battle for first place in the NL East, the Mets lost the division crown to the Atlanta Braves in the final weeks of the season. This led New York to enter the 2022 postseason as the first-seeded wild card, where they lost the series to the San Diego Padres two games to one.


Fast-forward to the halfway point of the 2023 MLB season and New York has still been unable to achieve the same success that they had for the majority of the season prior. After the first 81 games, the Mets owned a record of 36-45, placing them nine games under .500, 17.5 games back of first place, and nine games back of a wild card spot.


Who’s To Blame?


In 2022, the Mets' offense finished with the second-highest batting average in the league at .259, with only the Toronto Blue Jays above them. New York is currently tied for 19th with a batting average of .243 this year. While the offense hasn't been as productive so far this season, I wouldn’t blame the Mets’ struggles on the bats. The pitching is the clear issue as to why this team isn’t meeting its expectations.


Max Scherzer had a solid first season in the blue and orange. Unfortunately, the 38-year-old failed to perform in his one playoff appearance for his new team. Scherzer allowed seven earned runs across 4.2 innings pitched in Game One of the 2022 Wild Card Series vs. Padres. So far in 2023, the struggles are continuing for the three-time Cy Young winner. Despite the 8-2 record, Scherzer is sporting a 4.03 ERA along with a 1.20 WHIP so far this season.


New York’s newest addition and defending AL Cy Young award winner, Justin Verlander is also off to a rocky start in his first season as a Met. Verlander is currently 3-4 with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Mets are paying Scherzer and Verlander 40+ million dollars each which makes up 25% of the 2023 payroll. After the first half of the season, the return on investment in regard to these two “aces” is non-existent.


Last but not least, the bullpen is probably the number one issue on this Mets team so far this year. New York did make an effort to improve the pen in the offseason with the additions of Brooks Raley and David Robertson, who both are playing well. Although, Adam Ottavino, who had a great season last year, has not been the same player halfway through the 2023 campaign. Ottavino’s ERA is currently a 3.72 which is almost double what he finished with in 2022.


Let’s not forget that New York’s bullpen also took a major hit before the season even started when Edwin Díaz suffered a lengthy knee injury while participating in the World Baseball Classic. Then you have players like Drew Smith and Dominic Leone who make up some of the lesser-known relievers in the pen who are just not capable of getting the job done. The Mets have blown 13 leads in June and finished the month with a record of 7-19.


Are The Tides Turning?


Pitching will be the key for the Mets in the second half. Deservingly so, there’s been a lot of debate about whether or not this team would be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, but if you ask me I believe that New York just might have to see things through for better or worse. We’ve already seen the Mets make a couple of trades by sending Eduardo Escobar to the Angels and acquiring an extra bullpen arm in Trevor Gott from the Mariners.


As I’ve previously stated, the number one concern is relievers, so I would like to continue seeing the Mets add to the pen at the deadline. New York is still awaiting the debut of José Quintana, who’s coming off a strong year with the Cardinals. Improving on the back end of the starting rotation could be a possibility, even with Quintana, since Carlos Carrasco is wildly inconsistent and the fifth spot has been a revolving door all season long.


It’s early but the Mets are in the middle of a six-game winning streak as they continue to make up some ground. The starting rotation has a combined ERA of 1.64 during that stretch. New York has improved to 26-4, the best in the NL when they get at least six innings from one of their starters, so it goes to show what good pitching can do. The Mets are currently sitting 6.5 GB of the Phillies in the NL Wild Card standings as the All-Star break approaches.

 

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