If you’re a New York Mets fan and are just happy that manager Buck Showalter has cured the clubhouse and the team is in “playoff contention”, then don’t read this article. Hoping a team can pull it out and be proactive in making that happen are two different things entirely.
The Mets are 2.5 games up on the Atlanta Braves in the division. If they lose the division lead to the Braves, bad things could follow in the playoffs. The matchup will be harder and that loss of something you’ve held on to all season long would be bad. Jacob deGrom coming back healthy could stave that off.
The Mets have an issue with production near the bottom of the lineup. Between DH and catcher, the production has been awful, to say the least. We all can see Francisco Alvarez being called up soon, but will Showalter insert him as the DH when he’s not catching if he’s the next best hitter in the lineup? I’ll say he won’t. He will continue with J.D. Davis instead.
Edwin Diaz has been great. Don’t make a habit of bringing him in the eighth inning to not pitch in the ninth. There is no wisdom in this move. It’s classic Buck overthinking it.
Shortening pitch counts and putting more pressure on the bullpen in games that look like wins are an issue. You can’t save starters’ arms all year at the expense of a mediocre bullpen hoping to get to Diaz.
Showalter has one of the best hitters in baseball with Jeff McNeil, and he has no idea where to bat him? He’s batting fifth and eighth, how about leadoff? Nimmo is batting .271 compared to McNeil’s .300. Nimmo has a .358 on-base percentage, and McNeil is at .362. Nimmo has 66 strikeouts to McNeil’s 41. Nimmo is 0-2 in steals. McNeil has two steals and hasn’t been caught. There is no good reason. If the answer is more home runs to me, that’s not good enough. Nimmo has five more homers. Big deal.
The pressure is on Buck starting now. The Mets play the Padres and then the Yankees. Everything in the first half was honeymoon talk. Now the real season begins, and let’s see what happens. The Mets have a lot of improving to do if they want to go far in the playoffs.