The Mets had a promising beginning to the previous ten-game road trip they embarked on by starting the trip with two straight victories over the Miami Marlins. The offense then went anemic after facing Jose Fernandez in the final game, and it carried into the doubleheader in Pittsburgh. The team then seemed to put it all together in the final game against the Pirates as they fought back from being swept, and then took the first two games from the Brewers in their four game series. The final two games against the Brewers however can be described as sloppy at best as they lost in disappointing fashion.
Now the Mets return home with the same questions that they had faced before hitting the road almost two weeks ago. But this time around they are staring at a five game deficit in the standings and there seems to be no immediate answer on how to fix the offensive woes. The Mets recently acquired utility player Kelly Johnson, and while he has filled in nicely going 4-9 in his first three games with the Mets there still is a big hole in the lineup. Michael Conforto has not continued taking that next step many had anticipated him taking after his torrid April, and the lineup is suffering without Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, and David Wright. D’Arnaud is expected back next week, and he could certainly provide some offensive help. But I still think the Mets need one more bat to help drag themselves out of this offensive rut that they are in.
Who knows if Sandy Alderson is planning on acquiring a bat at the deadline with no certain timetable regarding Wright and Duda’s return from injuries. There will certainly be options to be had on the trade market, but it is a question if the Mets are willing to deplete more of the farm system to acquire another impact bat, such as the Yoenis Cespedes acquisition last July. Or will they become players in the Yulieski Gourriel sweepstakes, as the Cuban superstar has been declared an MLB free agent as of today and could fill a hole at third base immediately for the Mets. Gourriel would need a couple of weeks in the minors to get up to speed, but he wouldn’t cost the Mets prospects.
But lets get back to the current state of affairs. The Mets start an eight-game homestand on Tuesday that provides favorable matchups. The Mets will start off with three games against a struggling Pirates team that has lost twelve of their last sixteen games, and Pirates number one starter Gerritt Cole will have his turn in the rotation against the Mets skipped due to an injury. The Mets will then play the league worst Atlanta Braves at home for a three game weekend series, and then follow that series up with two games against the Kansas City Royals.
The Mets will need to take advantage of the next week of games at home or risk falling further behind the Nationals. I’m not panicking yet as they have plenty of games to still play against the Nationals, but if the Mets don’t handle their business before squaring off with their division rival, those games may not mean much. The Mets pitching will keep them in every game they play, and the offense needs a coming out party this week or else things will get rather gloomy in New York.