The New York Mets bounced back well from their sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals. The Mets won a pair during their three game home series with the Cincinnati Reds to get into the win column, including a pinch hit, walk off grand slam from Ike Davis on Saturday. On the other side of the coin, the team also announced that closer Bobby Parnell will not be able to rehab his elbow injury and will be having Tommy John surgery.
Parnell’s loss is a particularly big blow for a team because he was by far the strongest member of a weak bullpen.The team will currently be depending on discarded veterans like Kyle Farnsworth to pitch important innings this season. New York is doing their best to keep up with the Atlanta Braves’ injury list. The Braves lost yet another pitcher to Tommy John surgery when reliever Cory Gearrin injured his elbow. The two teams will meet up in the Mets’ first road series of the year, beginning on Tuesday.
As expected, the Mets’ offense has limped through the first week of the season. They just do not have enough bats, and have scored only 21 runs in their first six games. Their only hope for achieving even an average offense comes from seeing Travis d’Arnaud blossom into an above average hitter from behind the plate, and hoping David Wright and Curtis Granderson have big years. Getting Chris Young back to play against left-handed pitching will be a boon to the team as well.
The rotation has looked solid, though unspectacular through their first turn. Something to look out for as the season moves on is how many innings the starters can eat up. Zack Wheeler is going to be a great pitcher alongside the injured Matt Harvey for a long time, but he still has to learn to keep his pitch counts low. Dillon Gee is the only starter to make it past six innings pitched so far. With the state of the bullpen, the Mets could see a lot of quality starts ruined if their relievers are forced to go for three or more innings every night.
One pleasant surprise for the team thus far has been the performance of Jose Valverde. The Mets closer by default, Valverde has looked strong in three outings. The former all-star is coming off of a gut wrenching 2012 playoff implosion, followed by a rough 2013 season. So far, Valverde has saved one game and struck out six of the 13 batters he has faced. If the Mets can squeeze a solid season out of him they should consider it a miracle.
The National League East division has one big front runner in Washington, and everyone else will be scrambling to follow them. With the state of the division, the Mets could still compete for one of the two wild card slots. They are a team that is going to be stretched thin by the long season, with little depth in the rotation, bullpen, or offense. While they have caught some breaks via injuries to a division foe, they need a lot more things to go there way unless they set themselves up better by acquiring a player like Stephen Drew to repair a weakness at shortstop, or another player via trade.
Commentary by Brian Moore