For the 10th and 11th time this season, the New York Mets suffered a postponement during this roller coaster start to 2021. Despite all this, they sit 3.5 games up in the NL East after they won their one and only game against the Atlanta Braves. This 3.5-game lead has the Mets tied for the biggest division lead in baseball next to the Chicago White Sox.
And boy, was this win an emphatic one. A 13-2 win over three-time defending NL East champs Atlanta gave a surge of hope to a recovering team riddled with injuries.
Pitching Shines Again
In his return from the IL, Taijuan Walker shined, pitching a great five innings, allowing just three baserunners and striking out eight. Ultimately, Walker ended the night with a 1.84 ERA, good for sixth in the MLB among starters. With this in mind, it’s hard to not see the potential of the Mets rotation when stars Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco come back. After Walker came out, Miguel Castro, Sean Reid-Foley, and Jacob Barnes came in to finish the job in a blowout. All in all, the Mets have the second-best team ERA in the MLB, and their bullpen has been a big reason why. The improvements made by new ownership have certainly made a massive impact. After all, Reid-Foley, Walker, and Barnes were all offseason acquisitions.
Are the Mets Starting to Hit?
After scoring 12 runs in their last six games, the Mets offense exploded for 13 runs. For the first time this year, the Mets hit five home runs– James McCann, Jonathan Villar, Brandon Drury, Billy McKinney, and Francisco Lindor all went deep. McCann and Lindor specifically stuck out, as they are two offseason acquisitions who have struggled early on. McCann finished 4-5 with two singles and a double to go along with his homer, while Lindor added a bunt single. Mets manager Luis Rojas hopes for this game to be a turning point on the season for Lindor, who signed a mega-deal in the offseason and hasn’t lived up to it. Rojas noted that this was Lindor’s first XBH this year that went to the gap instead of down the line. Let’s all hope the $341M man turns it around and becomes the player he knows he is.
As for the others, Villar continues to prove how great of an offseason acquisition he was. After just missing out on a grand slam in the 2nd inning, Villar roped a ball to center field for his fifth HR of the year. That is the second-most on the team, behind Pete Alonso. Moving on, Drury and McKinney continue to be a part of the “Replace-Mets” as the Mets continue to deal with a depleted roster. The Mets traded for McKinney earlier this week, and he has already made an impact. His great plays in the outfield along with decent ABs show that he is doing a great job in the absence of a slew of OFs.
Returns from Injury
As early as this week, the Mets could be receiving some regulars back. 1B Pete Alonso, CF Kevin Pillar, and RP Seth Lugo are all on their way back from injury. Alonso has been out due to a sprain on his right wrist, an injury dating back to the Cardinals series. Similarly, Lugo will make his return after surgery on his elbow in February. Lugo is arguably the best reliever on the Mets not named Edwin Diaz. The surprise here is Pillar. Less than two weeks after being hit in the face, Pillar will likely return against the Arizona Diamondbacks. His return will be massive for a team so slim at outfield right now. LGM!