2021 NY Mets: Pitching Shines, Bats Continue to Struggle

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The 2021 NY Mets have had an inconsistent start to the season. After starting the season 7-4, the team has lost six of their last eight games. They currently sit at 9-10 on the season and are a half-game behind the Phillies and Braves in the NL East. The Mets have tons of talent on their roster, but not everything has clicked yet.

2021 NY Mets: Early Returns

Offense in Shambles

Coming into the season, there were high hopes for the Mets’ lineup, however, the team has scored the fewest runs in the majors thus far. Only three everyday players have come out of the gates swinging. Brandon Nimmo has been strong, hitting .345/.457/.466 (163 OPS+) and leading the NL in on-base percentage. J.D. Davis has been the other hot bat in the lineup, hitting a strong .371/.463/.600 (199 OPS+) with two homers and six RBIs. While Davis missed time due to a wrist injury and has struggled defensively, he is a key part of the team’s lineup. Pete Alonso is also off to a solid start, batting .250/.333/.500 (132 OPS+), though he has also struck out 24 times in 68 at-bats.

Outside of Nimmo and Davis, the Mets’ offense has been atrocious. Off-season acquisitions James McCann and Francisco Lindor both have an OPS below .600. Lindor, who inked a record-breaking extension last month, started hearing boos from the Citi Field faithful in the team’s most recent series. Dom Smith has also gotten off to a dreadful start, hitting just .203/.224/.328 (54 OPS+) with 19 strikeouts in 64 at-bats. Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil have both looked better lately, but their OPS still only sits at .668 and .635, respectively.

Perhaps the most concerning issue for the 2021 NY Mets is their situational hitting. As a team, they are hitting a horrendous .187 (26-for-139) with runners in scoring position, which is easily the worst number in the majors. Some of the team’s struggles may be attributed to their .295 BABiP, while others are clamoring for the team to fire hitting coach, Chilli Davis. It’s hard to envision the Mets’ offense getting much worse, but the team desperately needs something to wake up the bats.

Pitching Impresses

While the Mets’ offense has been putrid, their pitching has been fantastic. Mets pitchers held the potent Red Sox lineup to just three runs in two games in their most recent series, but the Mets’ lineup could only muster up one run in suffering a sweep. The team boasts a 3.04 ERA, which ranks third in the majors.

The Mets’ rotation has once again been led by Jacob deGrom, who has an astounding 0.51 ERA/0.80 FIP and 59 strikeouts in 35 innings (15.2 K/9). Despite his rip-roaring start, deGrom is just 2-2 on the season. To further illustrate how bad the Mets’ offense has been, deGrom has allowed just two runs all season, but the team has somehow lost three of his five starts. deGrom has also shined at the plate, hitting a strong .462 to start the year. Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker have also impressed, with ERAs at 2.25 and 2.14 respectively. The rotation’s ERA of 2.64 is second-best in MLB.

After allowing five runs on Opening Day, the Mets’ bullpen has settled into a nice groove. They own a solid 3.83 ERA, which ranks 10th in the majors. Edwin Diaz has once again dazzled, pitching to a 2.00 ERA/1.98 FIP with 11 strikeouts and two saves.

Off-season acquisitions Trevor May and Aaron Loup have both proven to be huge pick-ups, having allowed just a combined two earned runs in 11.2 innings. Miguel Castro and Jeurys Familia have improved significantly from last year, allowing just three earned runs in 15.2 innings. Castro has been particularly impressive, having struck out 15 batters in eight innings (15.8 K/9) and owning a minuscule 0.34 FIP. The pitching staff will only improve once Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Carrasco, and Seth Lugo return from their injuries.

It’s Still Early, but Rojas and Davis Should be on the Hot Seat

Fans may be freaking out right now over the 2021 NY Mets’ slow start, but the team has only played 19 games. If the team can get their offense going, they will be hard to stop. For now, there needs to be some sort of shake-up to get the team going. Don’t be too surprised if the team fires Chilli Davis and Luis Rojas. This is too talented of a team to struggle all year, and while Davis and Rojas aren’t in the lineup every day, they could be part of the reason why the team has struggled.

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Mathias is a graduate student at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. He is currently studying Broadcast and Digital Journalism on the Sports Media and Communications track. He graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2021, where he studied journalism and served as the Sports Editor and Opinions Editor for the school's newspaper, The Signal. He joined Overtime Heroics as a writer in June of 2019 and became an editor in December of 2020 before taking over the MLB department in June of 2021. Mathias is also a former varsity swimmer and is the youngest of five kids.