Welcome back, Mets fans! Despite losing their third straight series against the St. Louis Cardinals last week, the Mets jumped back in sunny San Diego to take two out of three against the Padres. Although the waters have gotten a little rough at times, New York has entered May at 17-9, and can continue their early success into this month.
May can really be a make or break month for the Metsies. I’m sure the guys are licking their chops for the series in Cincinnati and a series at home against the hapless Miami Marlins, but other than that, this schedule sure is tough. Playing the Rockies and Diamondbacks at home will be better than going on the west coast, however, away series in Philadelphia, Milwaukee and a second visit to Atlanta will be a true test. I think the Mets are really going to need production from all of their guys to come out of this month alive.
Sadly, the rotation has not posessed the strength the Mets need it to be so far this year. Other than deGrom and Syndergaard, there is no stability. Wheeler and Matz have both shown flashes of greatness, but have been very inconsistent to say the least. Jason Vargas, an off-season pick up signed as the third starter in the rotation, got shellacked in his first start as a Met, going 3.2 innings while giving up nine hits and nine runs. And Matt Harvey, well who knows if he’ll ever be a starting pitcher again.
Coming into the season, we knew there would be a lot of question marks. Now is the time to see who can play ball and who can’t, and what the Mets can amount to this year. Here’s three guys I believe can make the biggest impact on this ballclub in May, and bring a winning season to New York in the long run of 2018.
Although the Mets outfield is a bit crowded with Nimmo, Cespedes, Bruce and Conforto, Juan Lagares provides some real depth for the Mets, helping them win a lot of ball games. In 38 at-bats, Lagares is rocking a .342 batting average, finding a way to get on base and use his speed. He did make a costly error last week in St. Louis, however; this guy is a Gold-Glove winning outfielder, and mistakes like that happen once in a blue moon. I think he can really bring everything together this year and prove to the Mets that he deserves to play.
At the beginning of the season, many would think that Cespedes, Bruce, and Conforto would be the everyday guys in the outfield. Last year was one of Jay Bruce’s first ever consistent seasons, and even though he’s a great hitter, it’ll be interesting to see if he can have success throughout the entire year. If he can’t, or even Conforto can’t, Lagares is the guy to use as a platoon. I say keep Nimmo’s great eye on the bench to come into games in the late innings and get on base.
After having a solid spring this year and the Mets anchor in the bullpen last year, Blevins has not displayed much in 2018 as a Met, posting a 7.94 ERA in only 5.2 innings. To be frank, I really don’t like how manager Mickey Callaway has used him so far. He may be the only lefty in the Mets ‘pen, but he’s only pitched one full inning all year, and that’s how you give guys confidence.
Not doubt about it, the Mets need to give Blevins a chance to get his mojo back. At 34-years-old, this guy still has stuff in the tank, and has posted ERAs under three in his last two seasons as a Met. I really think Callaway should consider making Blevins a solid sixth, seventh or eighth inning guy for the time being, and give him the opportunities he hasn’t gotten all year.
Starting the year off in Triple-A, Wheeler has chucked 22 innings for the Mets this year, posting a 4.09 ERA and a 2-1 record. He currently has the smallest ERA other than DeGrom and Syndergaard out of the Mets starting pitchers, and can really be a key contributor for the Mets this year.
This rotation is all about who can be consistent, and I think Wheeler has the best shot to do so. At 26-years-old, I still think Steven Matz has a bit of time before he becomes a prominent pitcher in the majors, and after coming off a injury, I don’t think Jason Vargas has another successful season left in him. It will be up to Wheeler to keep this rotation together, and give the Mets quality starts every time he gets on the bump.
This month sure will be fun to watch! I believe in our guys, and really think last month was not just a fluke. The New York Mets are for real, and have a chance in May to show the rest of the Major Leagues that they mean business.