In a perfect Mets season, Jacob deGrom would start every game. It would also be perfect if the Mets played clean baseball every day. Perfect if Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis, Francisco Lindor, and the entire lineup hit with more consistency and leaving less on base.
Perfect if the Mets bullpen was consistent as they await the return of Seth Lugo, but the Mets season of their first 17 games has not been consistent. No team stands to be perfect and will have its ups and downs, though Sunday, the Oakland A’s snapped an early season 13-game winning streak.
With an off day Monday, the Mets are a game on top of their division as they begin a two game series at Citi Field with the Red Sox Tuesday night. And please, forgive me, if I say it’s too early to be concerned about the standings.
You get a better indication about where things could be headed when the schedule hits Memorial Day.
Regardless, winning games in April is as important as it is in late August and September. Consistency is important and the Mets got a taste of that by taking two of three against the Nationals.
Two shutout wins and another pitching gem from Jacob deGrom. Timely hitting, and Sunday home run balls from Alonso and Davis. The bullpen was consistent and Edwin Diaz displayed command of his fastball and slider.
About his team taking two of three from the Nationals in their 4-0 Sunday win at Citi Field, manager Luis Rojas said “ It is gratifying when you see it work the way it did today.”
The lineup Rojas put on the field worked. Depth off the bench from Albert Almora Jr. and Jonathan Villar. Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith get a day of rest. Davis batting in the cleanup spot and Alonso second.
And no errors on the field. Six of those errors cost the Mets in three games in Chicago that enabled the Cubs to sweep.
The Mets offseason plan was adding depth and that worked when they acquired Villar and Almora Jr. In a perfect world the consistency and playing clean baseball should always be like it was Sunday.
Villar got the start over a struggling McNeil. He finished a perfect relay from the outfield that nailed Victor Robles attempting to leg a hit into a triple in the third inning. Almora Jr’s catch of a leap and crash into the wall saved two runs for the Mets and starter Taijuan Walker.
Batting second for the first time this season, Alonso got two walks and his home run ball is getting constant with number five.
Rojas inserts Davis at cleanup and with good numbers against Washington starter Patrick Corbin. Davis went 3-for-4 and hit his fourth career home run off Corbin.
It all worked to perfection for the manager. And for Davis, those three errors at Wrigley Field are a distant memory. Baseball is played everyday. You go out there and try to play consistent baseball.
“I didn’t get down on myself,” Davis said. “Kind of bothers me when I make a mistake and when my teammates have to pay for it. I know we are all going to make physical and mental errors. “
Davis said that the first error was a chopper and he took a step back and had to get rid of it. The last error he froze and tried to get his feet situated in the right position.
But the confidence led to more consistency in the Nationals series after talking constantly with Lindor and working with infield and third base coach Gary Disarcina.
For sure, Rojas will keep Davis in the lineup. His bat is consistent and whether he stays in the cleanup spot over Alonso will be determined because analytics is changing the perplexity of a lineup and the Mets are no exception.
“It was more of a situation because Corbin was on the mound,” Davis said to me about his cleanup role. I might be hitting sixth tomorrow. It all balances left to right.”
But consistency is important. The Mets believe they are getting to that point where consistent wins will make a difference in their division that may be the best in baseball with the Braves, Phillies, Nationals, and the competitive Marlins.
“You really look at it, a matter of time,” Davis said. “Still trying to figure out this division. It’s a matter of time putting all the basics together. Not everybody is hitting their full stride yet. When you see guys making good plays it becomes contagious.”.
It means playing clean baseball to be consistent. Hitting and pitching are contagious as is making plays on the field.
The Mets showed signs of that consistency. Now if they can put it all together they will be that team to beat in the NL East, and they can’t expect Jacob deGrom to take the ball every fifth day and throw a gem.
We will see where this goes Tuesday night at Citi Field against the Red Sox.
Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso