May 29, 2020

Jesse Paguaga: Despite Win Streak, Mets Have Difficult Road Ahead

Led by Ike Davis and Jose Reyes, The New York Mets offense has come alive during their recent four-game winning streak, scoring 27 runs over that stretch. Whether or not that streak continues against better competition — the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks are two of the worst franchises in the National League — remains to be seen.

New York had suffered through a seven-game skid in mid-April that had few shining moments on both the hitting and pitching fronts, but their latest offensive surge helps in validating their early season success as more typical than fluke.

First baseman Ike Davis has been the catalyst for the Mets’ two separate runs at the beginning and end of April. With three home runs in three of the past four games, Davis has seemed to find the power stroke that has eluded him early in the season. Despite his lack of power early on, Davis has continued to show a knack for driving in runs, something he flashed glimpses of during his rookie campaign. His .375 batting average with runners in scoring position and 18 RBIs, both which rank him among the NL leaders, only enhance the case that Davis is indeed a major cog in the Mets’ lineup.

In the sixth spot, Davis is seeing a ton of fastballs behind the likes of David Wright, Carlos Beltran, and Jason Bay, and is making pitchers pay for their efforts. The towering lefty has been especially potent against right-handed pitchers with a .385 average, and while he is struggling overall against southpaws (.167 BA) he is surprisingly hitting .338 off of fastballs from lefties.

At the top of the order, Jose Reyes’ hot start has returned his name into the discussion among the upper echelon shortstops around baseball, but that also shows how weak the depth at the shortstop position is in the majors this year.

While Reyes will never be an on-base machine, the fact that his stolen base percentage is at its highest (.89%) since his 2004 campaign remains an encouraging sign for the offense, as well as his own personal health status. If the Mets continue to be a sub-.500 team, Reyes’ performance out of the gate will surely garner him suitors early on in trade season; and with the well-documented ownership problems in Queens only getting worse, general manager Sandy Alderson will be encouraged to listen to offers for the soon-to-be free agent

The return of Jason Bay, not just from injury but from his year-long slump, would be a boon for Terry Collins’ group with a tough next few weeks ahead. On top of away games against Washington and Philadelphia, where the Mets will face Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, they then head on a west coast road trip to face the Dodgers, the Rockies, and the Giants. On top of Lee and Halladay, the Mets’ will have to square off against the likes of Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, and Clayton Kershaw.

Bay, a perennial 30-homer, 100-RBI player before last year, has shown good pop in his bat since coming off the disabled list last week, and his development would ease the pressure off stalwart David Wright and the struggling Carlos Beltran.

With a tough schedule away from home ahead, the New York Mets are hoping their momentum in the fading moments of April bodes well for the month of May.

 

Jesse Paguaga is a featured columnist for Gotham Baseball. He is also a featured contributor for Baseball Digest. His work also appears on Bleacher Report, Gotham Hoops, Gotham Gridiron,and The Jerry Magwire Blog.

You can email Jesse here or you call follow him on Twitter @JPags77