Steve Cohen will address the media prior to the game against the Brewers Wednesday evening at Citi Field and don’t expect the dismissal of manager Buck Showalter, GM Billy Eppler, or changes to the coaching staff. Though, no secret, the Mets owner is quietly watching and is not the late George Steinbrenner.
In another day and age, Steinbrenner would have fired the manager, and coaching staff. The response of an impetuous owner not happy about a multi-million-dollar team and that was Steinbrenner.
Cohen, we have learned, does not play that way. We will learn more Wednesday about this dismal state of a Mets team that has not lived up to expectations, but don’t expect a tirade or drastic changes.
So what did the Mets do Tuesday evening at Citi Field? They won a ballgame, 7-2. They played to expectations and handled the Milwaukee Brewers without a struggle. The Mets pitched, hit, and sent 35,295 fans home with a happy recap.
Was it the imminent presence of the owner that sparked a multi home run game from Brandon Nimmo, a season-high-tying three home runs, Francisco Lindor with a home run and a couple of defensive gems, not to mention, a rare two-run homer run from DH Daniel Vogelbach?
Or David Peterson? The lefthander tossed six shutout innings and a career-high 110 pitches, this his first major league start since May 15. And the bullpen closed the door, though Jeff Brigham gave up two runs in the 8th.
When a Mets pitcher goes six innings; they are 22-3, and 14-40 when less. That also offers enough evidence about a pitching rotation that was projected to be the best in baseball with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander leading the staff, but with an ERA of 4.62, which is ranked 25th.
As they say, this is baseball. The Mets Tuesday night resembled what they were supposed to be, highest payroll and a team backing up what is said on the back of their baseball cards. Perhaps the beginning of a run before the All-Star break, but we have to wait another day because this has been a season of not building on momentum.
Regardless, Cohen will address his reason for what has gone wrong. Why the Mets are the third worst team in the National League. NL East Division title is not happening, and being one of three NL wild card teams means winning a majority of their series. Currently, the Mets are 8½ games behind five other teams.
For one night the Mets can believe. For one night their fans were pleased. Wednesday will determine if the owner is content about his $375 million investment in 2023.
Don’t blame the manager, Showalter doesn’t pitch or hit, though his honeymoon is over after the 101 win season of last year. He has the support of his owner and GM. Prior to their win, Showalter replied that a successful season is reaching the playoffs.
“We keep looking for something that’s going to allow us to gain some traction and some footing,” he said after the Mets evened their series with Brewers. “And really, it’s going to take putting some extended good things together. But it’s in our hands. I mean, there’s nine innings every night.”
He said, “Twenty-seven outs that you hope to play better than they do.” The Mets played better Tuesday night. They got the 27-outs they needed, third win in 10 games, sixth in their last 22.
You sense no changes will be made. Eppler held court with the media. He said, Showalter and his coaches will continue to get the support, that they are the proper personnel to put this team in the right direction. No hints though, of the Mets ridding salaries and being in that uncomfortable position of selling players before the trade deadline.
Time will tell until the All-Star break to see where this goes. A possible run and nice winning streak could narrow the gap a bit. The Mets will tell you how the Phillies last season changed direction and made their run to a NL pennant.
Again, though, their wild card chances as of now are slim. The inconsistency and everything on the back of the cards has put the Mets in a very difficult position.
“I constructed the roster,” Eppler said. “Ultimately, this is the club we have right now. I think we expect them to be able to do more, and I think they expect it of themselves.”
Said Nimmo “We know we have all the pieces. It’s just putting them together. Obviously, Billy put this team together for a reason. He believes in it and we believe in it as well. But we just need to put the pieces together this season. This is a great start.”
And important to realize what Nimmo said, “But by no means is this like all things are fixed.”
Lindor hit his 200th career home run, and is second on the team with 55 RBIs, yet has not played up to his and the team’s expectations. He said, “This win doesn’t guarantee us a playoff spot. We’re far from it. We’ve just got to stay on the positive side.”
Cohen will speak and don’t expect changes. The only change this owner is looking for is another win and many more. Cohen wants to win and that is how things can be fixed.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso