Monday, May 06, 2024

Belaboring A Point

In the last five games, Francisco Lindor has put up a slash line of .278/.278/.611 with a homer and 8 RBI.

The Mets went 1-4 in those games, and the 1 was a direct result of Lindor's walk off hit against the Cubs.

It goes to show how hard it is to carry a team like the 2024 Mets. It's a point that I'm probably going to belabor from now until they're eliminated, but the margin of error for this team is razor thin. Even in a stretch where Lindor is hot, that only gets them so far, especially if a normally dependable bullpen goes south. And with the general state of the starting pitching not going deep into games, the bullpen will go south.

Now, if Edwin Diaz is one of those folks that goes south, as he did on Sunday against Randy Arozarena with a strike to go to salvage the last game of the Rays series, then all bets are off and you might as well pick a WNBA team to follow this summer if you don't already. If 2019 Edwin Diaz has kidnapped 2022 Edwin Diaz and tied him up in a closet with his fingertips inches away from his utility belt, then we have no hope anyway.

I will say that to expect 2022 Edwin to magically pick up where he left off at the 2023 WBC is a little unfair when you factor in an entire season off, and the inconsistent work he's gotten in 2024 because there just aren't enough save opportunities or even important hold opportunities to go around. So while I think there's reason for concern, it's not time to push the panic button just yet on him. But this team isn't built to survive a slumping bullpen. Most teams aren't, but certainly not a team that's slightly above league average in runs per game.


I will say that the start on Saturday by Christian Scott is a buoy to my hopes. The first three batters of his major league career produced one run and no outs. Scott responded by retiring 20 of his next 23. It could be equal parts composure and not having the most raucous home crowd rattling you (it was 50/50 at best in St. Petersburg), but the Trop is still a major league stadium, and he had never pitched in one before . To do what he did takes a certain something or somethings that not everyone has right away.

The first thing that struck me was the number 45 and the Zack Wheeler type delivery. It made me sad, but as long as Jeff Wilpon is nowhere near this team, maybe we could do right by this 45 one day.

The second thing that struck me was that he had a plan. Adam Wainwright (yeah, THAT Adam Wainwright) laid it out perfectly when he announced the game on FOX. Scott was filling up the strike zone and Wainwright said that he needed to start throwing the sweeper out of the zone. It took Scott until the second time through the order to start doing that. Executing a plan is easy when you have the stuff to be able to do it, but not many pitchers have the composure to put their stuff to the best possible use in their first major league start. This kid did it.

Speking of composure, there wsa a point late in hsi start where a call went against him ... a check swing or something ... and Scott giggled. Some pitchers would hve been flustered. But nothing seems to phase this kid. Incredible for his first major league start. We'll see what happens to him when he has to pitch in Philly or Dodger Stadium or Atlanta, but his mental make up is encouraging.

There's also the matter of how he can actually help the team, which is simple if he keeps pitching into the 7th inning consistently. There will be bumps in the road, for sure. Doc Halladay pitched a one-hitter in his first ever start, and HE went down to the minors to fix himself. So there's going to be that Terry Collins/Jacob deGrom moment coming, whether it be on camera or not. But he seems to have that "ice in his veins" trait that will get him through those moments.

So far so good for Christian Scott. But so far not so good for the Mets, who dropped four gut punch games in the span of a week while only winning one such game. Not a good ratio for a team that lives on the fringes. Thankfully, there is plenty of time to deliver more gut punches than they take. We'll see.