With football weather, comes some football scores.
That’s probably what baseball is all about this season. The first two weeks have seen some huge offensive numbers, as well as some putrid bullpen performances.
And that team in Queens has been the microcosm of it all. A 9-6 win today over the Minnesota Vikin..I mean Twins – they missed the extra point, a day after losing 14-8 (Yes, the Mets had a safety.) And many of these runs have come off helpless bullpen folk, who are having problems in the cold weather this time of year.
Sure, the Mets are now 7-4 and looking good after two weeks. Pete Alonso looks like an All-Star, as does Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil. Robinson Cano is off to his traditional slow start, but that will turn around.
Even more important is that they are hitting as a team, moving runners along as well as hitting home runs. Tonight, the fifth inning was the killer for the Twins with 10 batters coming to the plate and the Mets scoring six on two hits. Yes, they had six walks and a hit batter – bless you Brandon Nimmo – off a couple of Twins pitchers, who couldn’t hit the side of a barn.
“I don’t think we put one take sign on,” said manager Mickey Callaway. “Just a good job of being patient and score some runs there.”
Getting Chili Davis may to be the hitting coach have been the coup of the off-season. He has changed the Mets approach with the batters trying not to do too much to drive in runs.
When the bases are loaded, we saw tonight a walk was as good as a hit.
“We were more than happy taking the walks,” Michael Conforto said.
Speaking of him, it was Conforto who came up with the bases loaded in the seventh (Take a guess how?) and he was down 0-2 and fought back to hit a ball right up the middle to plate a couple of runs. The rightfielder, didn’t do too much, instead he took what was given to him and shortened his swing.
Thankfully he did, because the Mets needed those tack-on. A 9-1 lead was not safe in the eighth, as Jeurys Familia gave up four runs – three of them charged to Noah Syndergaard – and Edwin Diaz was guilty for one in the ninth.
“He may have gotten tired,” Callaway said of his starter, but make no mistake Familia is paid to shut down situations like tonight and he couldn’t do it. With better pitching, Syndergaard would have had a better line.
But this is the story of the Mets so far. They sure can score runs with 32 in the five game homestand, but winning only two games.
Sure, it’s early, but when does the bullpen become a concern? And is there anything you can do about it. Craig Kimbrel is still out there, but even if you sign the former Red Sox closer, and get him ready quickly, it still fills one hole. Outside of Diaz, every reliever has struggled so far, which has been very nerve racking.
Now, the Mets need to get better on the road with important series in Atlanta and Philadelphia. Both teams are playing like the Mets, good, but not great and there are holes in their games that can be exploited.
And like the Mets, they are both 7-4.
It may not be a season crusher if the Mets play poorly over the next seven games, but it will hurt and remember one team is the NL East Champion, while the other thinks it should be this season.
So the Mets sure can use that offense in Atlanta and Philly, but they need to leave this bullpen behind and hope their relievers start to realize football weather doesn’t mean football scores.