Happy New Year, everyone.
Many of the beat writer and bloggers are putting together articles on what the Mets need to do in 2015 to, at least, make it to the playoffs. It’s embarrassing, but that seems to be the extent of what our goals should be this year.
I think the Mets can get there, but it’s going to have to take some important changes within the makeup of this team and how they both operate and play the game.
Some thoughts and goals:
Win The Majority of Your Division Games
The lion share of games played come against teams in the NL East (Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington, and Miami). You can’t even get to .500 unless you get the job done here.
Stop Being Embarrassed By Washington
You can’t lose almost every game you play to the team you’re trying to catch in your own division. At best, you have to walk away here with 50% of the games in your win column.
Play to Your Strength - Pitching
Everybody in baseball know that the Mets are going to deliver quality starters from one to five… and frankly, the Mets shouldn’t rush to get rid of the next two starters that didn’t make the opening day rotation. Most of your games are going to won by quality starts, decent relief, and timely hitting. That’s the team you root for. My thoughts on the seven starters lead to the next area.
Have A Plan For When The Injuries Come
Let’s not be naive. There will be Mets injuries. And, there’s a good chance they will come from the same position they have in the past, starting pitching. That sixth and seventh starter (right now) on opening day project to be Rafael Montero and Dillon Gee and the team will still have to make room for Noah Syndergaard sometime later on this year. These are very positive problems and, with a little creativity, can produce a minimum of seven of your pitchers on your 25-man, all year.
Manage Matt Harvey Effectively
Harvey is a special guy. He’s capable of producing 15 wins even on a limited inning schedule. There’s been enough time and enough written about what he needs to do this year and it seems even he has bought into the plan that is better for his career. It doesn’t matter in 2015 if Harvey will stay a Met down the road. What matters first is he sets the table for the next four Mets starters. This rotation has the potential to never let their opponent come up for air, and this team will stall quickly without him at the helm of the ship.
Give David Wright Some Room To Bounce Back
David Wright is as special to this team in 2015 as Harvey is. He’s the Captain and the team just can’t get this job done without him being productive. Last year, he went 535-AB, .269/.320/.374/694, 8-HR, 63-RBI which was the lowest home run total in his major league career. Still, some people in baseball would kill for this stat line. I don’t think we will ever see again the 25+ home run/100+ RBI seasons he put together from 2005-2010, but he can do better than he did last season. He has to produce 15-HR/75-RBI, and probably with the new home field dimensions, could push that to 20 home runs. Start him off slowly in camp. Bury him deep inside the 2-7 slots in the lineup. You don’t have to keep this guy batting third out of some loyalty to him. He would be much more effective for the team in the 5 or 6 slot. But lastly, keep him healthy.
Build A Feared 2-7 Lineup
Juan Lagares will probably hit first, followed by Daniel Murphy. Then, you have to bat, in whatever particular order you work out, Michael Cuddyer, Lucas Duda, David Wright, Curtis Granderson, and Travis d’Arnaud. Six of these guys have the potential to hit 20 home runs each. It’s not Murder’s Row, but opponent pitching is going to have to find a couple of these guys to pitch to and not try and work around. You will win more baseball games with six 20+ home run hitters.
Make The Bullpen Electric
Come up with some nasty name here. Let these guys pound their chest and put fear into their opponents before they even throw a single pitch. This kind of rotation talent, followed by this kind of relief velocity, will win you more games.
Get Out Of The Gate Early
The 2015 Mets just can’t afford to start this season off going in the wrong direction. The fans will turn on them, the beat press will rip Terry Collins apart, and, once again, the season could be over at the all-star break. This is going to take pinpoint direction by TC. Sure, you can lose two games in a row. Even three, but never, never, never four.
Win The Series
I’ve said this for years… you win every series, you win your league by 10+ games. A series win is your mentality in this game and a series tie (if you are playing four games) is a ‘push’ and is to be tolerated at best. You’re not going to win every series, but this always should be your goal.
We need Granderson, d’Arnaud, Flores, Cuddyer and Duda to have a great season
I’m not getting greedy here. If the pitching goes well, and Wright returns to form, I just need two more of these guys to turn out a 25-30 home run, 75-90 runs batted in season. The others can hit .230 if they’d like. Murphy is going to hit .280 and Lagares probably will match him. This will create runners on base for the 3-7 hitters to get these guys home. My starters will average under three runs per seven innings thrown and my pen will shut down the opponent 90% of the time. This, my friends, is a playoff team.