“We are where we are based on what appears to be meager offense, poor bullpen and solid starting pitching,” Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday before playing the Yankees.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
The way I understand it, Alderson’s dream team will come to fruition because of a dominant, consistent, home-grown starting rotation, a financially-flexible, strike-out bullpen and disciplined, selective hitting with above-average power.
This is not new. The Giants, Cardinals, A’s and Rays consistently win with a similar approach. Their pitching and farm systems are the backbones of their success, all while they shuffle hitters in, out and around two or three mainstays.
This year, the Mets starting pitching has been good… not great. It will be better with Matt Harvey in 2015, and whenever they add Noah Syndergaard. However, their bullpen has been totally inconsistent and, while their defense and base running have been mostly good, their hitting is a total mess…
Alderson also acknowledged that his bullpen now lacks a definitive closer.
“It can’t be addressed externally at this point,” Alderson added. “We have to do it internally.”
Jenrry Mejia was bumped from the starting rotation and pitched in relief on Monday. Triple-A RHP Jacob deGrom will be promoted and added to the bullpen Tuesday. This is a good start, it will help. However, while the bullpen is a concern, I can see Alderson’s goal coming in to focus on the pitcher’s mound. I like where it’s going. It’s the offense that is a bigger concern, despite last night’s explosion in the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.
“Offensively, while the batting average has been relatively low, we’ve actually scored runs at a higher rate than you would expect,” Alderson said. “We haven’t hit for much power. We have scored runs in roughly the middle of the pack. So that gives me some optimism that if the batting average comes up somewhat, if we start to show a little power, those run-production numbers — which really are the ones that count — will also improve.”
That’s fine, Sandy. But, the last time I checked, you can’t score runs if you never get past second base.
In four seasons as GM, Alderson has only ever had a collection of light-weight bats. I give them credit for making good contact, despite often hitting behind in the count. However, the lineup is seemingly incapable of multiple extra-base hits in an inning. So, even if their hits start falling, as Alderson predicts, they’ll need two or three more singles to drive the run in. This is evident by the bus loads of people they’ve been leaving on base this past week, last night excluded.
The Mets were 16-12 and talk of 90 wins started creeping in to the story stream. Now, they’re 18-19. Personally, I never believed they were a 90-win team. I still don’t. They are better than a 74-win team, though. And, I’m desperately waiting for Alderson to do something proactive with his batting order. He’s close, things are starting to focus on this roster. It’s getting to be time seriously support the pitching and keep pushing toward the bigger goal, as opposed to more of the same, slapping singles and slipping back toward another sub-par season.