It’s been awfully quiet in the Mets fan universe for the past week after the triumphant start to the season. Having lost two straight series and 5 of the past 7 games (as of Friday morning) has the fanbase feeling, well, like Mets fans. It has a familiar ring to it reminiscent of the first 4 years of the current regime. All of the pride and goodwill garnered during the first three weeks of April is slowing eroding, yet there’s a difference this year that suggests all is not lost.
In years past the Mets plugged holes with the likes of Omar Quintanilla or Rick Ankiel or Taylor Teagarden. The injury bug that’s hit the team is undoubtedly the worst in major league baseball yet until recently it didn’t factor into the outcomes of the games. Lose Jenrry Mejia, insert Jeurys Familia. Lose Travis d’Arnaud, insert Kevin Plawecki. Lose Josh Edgin, insert Jerry Blevins.
There are limits to how often you can go back to the well in this regard before the impact is felt. First was the David Wright for Eric Campbell move that has mercifully ended with Dilson Herrera’s promotion Thursday night. Campbell is a classic AAAA player who gets overexposed with too much playing time. This move allows him to return to that role while opening up a steady starting gig for the younger and potentially better Herrera. However, this move is a short-term fix with Wright expected to return in another week.
The challenge to Terry Collins has been doubled down with the additional loss of Blevins, now Montero, too. The ship is reeling and it’s his job to stabilitze things and continue propelling them forward. I still stand by my Manager of the Month accolade for Terry Collins whose team far exceeded even the loftiest expecations. The question is now whether or not he can regroup and get them to prosper once again.
The loss of Montero should not make much of an impact as both Steve Matz and Noah Syndergaard can be used in spot starting roles (sa could Carlos Torres or Matt Bowman or even Darin Gorski). The loss of Travis d’Arnaud right now looms larger than anything else the Mets have had to withstand. He was leading the team in RBIs at the time he broke his finger and while Kevin Plawecki may prove to be a capable major leaguer some day, right now he’s not providing the power nor driving in runs at the same rate. Since it is 6-8 week loss perhaps that production might have come better from Johnny Monell who is raking in AAA and showed this spring prodigious power. It also would have provided a lefty/righty option for when to try to suffer through some Anthony Recker ABs. With two power hitters missing from the lineup in Wright and d’Arnaud (plus the thus far invisible bat of Curtis Granderson and the slow start by Michael Cuddyer) it would have behooved the team to look for some more power. Herrera is a step in the right direction. Perhaps Monell could help, too.