Did we leave our bats in Chicago? Did we not take batting practice during the five day layoff? In the two and a half games in Kansas City the Mets are hitting a collective .165 with a pathetic .432 OPS and just one extra base hit. For the sake of comparison, the Mets hit .244 with a .712 OPS in the regular season. We’re not facing Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke in this series. This isn’t the team that trotted out the lineup anchored by John Mayberry, Jr. and Eric Campbell. This is the team that roared past the National League’s top pitchers to get to the World Series. So, why, on the biggest stage, have our bats gone to sleep?
Kansas City has two lights out relievers in Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis. Beyond those two, anybody else who takes the mound for the Royals is hittable. The Mets have seen plenty of Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto from their days in Cincinnati. Granted Volquez mysteriously gained five mph on his fastball at age 32 and may be getting help from his catcher rubbing pine tar on the ball, but still, he’s no Cy Young candidate. And while Cueto has been one, he has not been lights out this year, at least not before Wednesday night when the hapless Mets’ offense could only muster one run, largely due to a questionable call at first base.
When you get a chance to face Ryan Madsen and Chris Young with men on base, you have to take advantage. David Wright’s two strikeouts with men on base in game one were absolute killers – perhaps as instrumental in our losing as the outfield debacle that led to the first pitch inside-the-park homerun or Jeurys Familia’s gut punch of a blown save.
We’ve had a few miscues in the field. Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom were not their usual dominating selves and our unhittable closer gave up a backbreaking home run. But make no mistake – it’s our bats, more than anything else that are costing us this series so far.
Thus far, Yoenis Cespedes, seemingly immortal a month ago, is 1 for 10. Travis d’Arnaud is 1 for 9. The Michaels, Conforto and Cuddyer are a combined 0 for 8. Wilmer Flores is 0 for 7. Daniel Murphy, who had the lowest strikeout rate of any hitter in the major leagues this season, has uncharacteristically whiffed four times in nine at bats. David Wright has mustered two singles, but not when we needed them most. Our big contributions thus far have come from Lucas Duda (four singles), Curtis Granderson (three walks and a homerun), Juan Lagares (two singles) and Murphy (two singles and two walks). The rest of the guys are looking at strikes, swinging at junk and hitting a lot of pop ups and weak grounders.
Our pitchers look gassed and frustrated trying to get these pesky hitters out. The arms carried us to this point – now it’s time for the bats to step up. Friday’s game at Citi Field will afford another chance for this moribund lineup against the hard throwing righty, Yordano Ventura. The 24-year-old Dominican has been struggling of late, and the Mets need to come out swinging. We need Duda and Cespedes to launch a few bombs into the Pepsi porch. You can’t rope-a-dope this Royals team. They are built to win 3-2 ball games. We need to knock their teeth out and early. More than a win on Friday, we need a knock out, a decisive big run blowout that delivers a clear message. We’re here for a reason, we’re a damn good team and this is our house.