It was supposed to be a weekend where the Mets proved themselves to be championship contenders.
Instead, it was a weekend where reality set in that the Mets have an awful lot of work to do to be championship contenders.
It started on Friday when the Mets found themselves down 4-0. Julio Urias had shut down the Mets bats through six innings after the Mets put out a putrid lineup that consisted of Albert Almora, Kevin Pillar, and Brandon Drury. Key regulars Dom Smith, Jeff McNeil, and Michael Conforto sat to start the night, making Urias’ task much easier. The lineup construction was just the beginning of the Mets’ mistakes.
Sure, it was nice to see the Mets fight back in the 7th inning on Friday after Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts made a series of questionable decisions with his bullpen usage. Dom Smith and Jeff McNeil both had RBI hits, and the Mets scored the tying run via a passed ball later in the inning. They went on to lose the game 6-5 in 10 innings. Even though the team kept it close and scored five runs, their offense still left a lot to be desired.
Dom Smith’s RBI hit came on weak contact, and McNeil’s single fell in front of Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger, who got a bad read off the bat and couldn’t get to it. While those hits were clutch and got the job done, it was clear that the Mets bats were still not where they should be.
Saturday proved that even more. Again, the Mets kept the Dodgers close, thanks to Taijuan Walker throwing an absolute gem carrying a no-hitter through 7.1 innings. Still, only this time, with Dodgers ace Walker Buehler on the mound, the Mets bats were non-existent. A Michael Conforto solo blast was their only run of the game. They’d lose 2-1 in extra innings.
Then Sunday’s finale came, and every issue and problem the Mets have had over the last month or so came back to haunt them. Their starting pitching hasn’t been as good recently, and on Sunday, Mets starter Carlos Carrasco got lit up, giving up 6 runs in the first two innings. It was clear from the get-go that Carrasco was not going to be effective, and with Max Scherzer on the mound for the Dodgers, anyone could see how that game was going to go.
Some shoddy Dodger defense in the middle innings gave the Mets some hope, but the Dodgers broke the game wide open in the 6th inning and wound up winning the game by a score of 14-4. It was the perfect ending for two teams who are going in opposite directions.
Heading into the Dodger series, the Mets gave their fans some hope. A three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals put the team within a half-game of the NL East lead, and the Met fans showed up this weekend to support their team.
If only the ones that really mattered had shown up as well.
The Mets bats were nonexistent. Sure, they had 17 hits in three games, which isn’t so bad when you look at that number. That’s almost six hits a game. Not great, but certainly not outrageously bad either. However, 14 of those hits were singles. The Mets had just three extra-base hits all weekend, two by Michael Conforto and one by Pete Alonso. Conforto had a double on Friday and a homer on Saturday. Alonso hit a double on Sunday night. That’s it. Everything else was singles. Just 17.6 % of the Mets hits were extra-base hits. It’s not going to get it done in this era of baseball.
In contrast, the Dodgers had 16 extra-base hits in the three games against the Mets. The Dodgers had 29 hits in the series. Their percentage of hits there were extra-base hits was 55%. Far better than the Mets 17%.
Extra base hits usually mean hard contact. There are few times when you get an extra-base hit on a ball that is not hit hard. It means that the Mets did not make hard contact all series, and that lack of hard contact has been a major problem for them all season long.
There’s another problem that has existed with this team all year long that reared its head over the weekend. And that is hitting with Runners in Scoring Position (RISP). In that category, the Mets are epically bad. They had just two hits in the entire series with RISP and zero extra-base hits in that category. They were just 2 for 29 (.068) with RISP in the series. They finished the series 0 for their last 24 in that category. The Dodgers, meanwhile, capitalized on their opportunities. They went 9 for 25 (.360) in the series in that category.
The Mets had to capitalize on the opportunities they were presented, and they failed miserably.
It’s not just one or two players not performing on the offense; it’s an epic failure from everyone on the team.
On Friday and Saturday, Met fans were celebrating the team’s fight and heart. Yet, if Cody Bellinger doesn’t misplay Jeff McNeil’s fly ball in the 7th inning on Friday, none of that happens. The misplay cost the Dodgers two runs and arguably three as Pete Alonso scored on a passed ball with two outs. That’s not to mean the runs shouldn’t count, but nine times out of ten, the Mets are not anywhere near that game, and the whole fan base looks at that game differently.
You can go deeper and deeper into the stats, and it would all equate to the same thing. The Dodgers are a far superior team than the Mets.
The Mets have a ton of work to do if they want to get anywhere near where the Dodgers are. There’s no better evidence of that than this weekend.
Featured Image: Corey Sipkin/NY Post