Going into Friday night’s game against the Miami Marlins, the New York Mets were hoping that the reigning National League Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom could lead the team out of their rut. With losses in their last two against the Washington Nationals, the team had fallen two games below .500 (20-22).
While that record is not necessarily awful at this time of year, Mets fans know all too well how a couple of losses in a row can snowball into something much worse. So, they needed Jacob deGrom to work his magic and make sure the Mets beat arguably the worst team in baseball.
Miami entered the game having scored just four runs in their last five games. Last weekend, the Mets dominated the Marlins in two of three games of a homestand (third was postponed), outscoring them 15-3.
So, surely deGrom could get the team back on the winning side of the scoreboard once again. But instead, the Marlins lit him up like a Christmas tree, with nine hits and seven runs (six earned) in five innings as the Mets lost 8-6. The Marlins had gone scoreless in their last 27 innings and were on a seven-game losing streak.
“Tonight’s on me. I did a terrible job out there,” deGrom said after the game, via ESPN. “I let it get out of hand.”
The loss makes it three in a row for the Mets but to make it worse, it’s the third in a row to a team with a losing record (previous two were to the Nationals).
While deGrom does deserve blame for Friday night’s loss, it isn’t all on him. The defense was not very good and made several mistakes that they shouldn’t have. The offense did produce six runs on the night but only had one through the first six (scored five between the 7th and 8th).
Since no one played particularly well, we must ask a rather delicate question: is it time to let manager Mickey Callaway go?
He is in the midst of just his second season as the manager of the Mets and his second as an MLB manager. Before getting the job with the Mets, he had been the pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians. While you would hope the learning curve wouldn’t be too bad in Year Two, it may be a little unreasonable to expect him to have the job down pat.
However, Mets fans and the organization have not been known for their patience. Still, if you look at the team and keep in mind how they did last season and where expectations were coming into this season, they aren’t doing so bad that the manager needs to be fired.
This season, after 43 games, the team is 20-23. Last season, they were 24-19. Yes, that is a better record, but it isn’t a drastically different one. It certainly isn’t (or shouldn’t be) enough of one to call for Callaway’s job.
Nonetheless, the pitching staff is not helping his case. As a unit, last season, they combined for a 4.07 ERA (4.29 before the All-Star break). With roughly a quarter of the season done, they are not performing close to that level (4.52). But, to be fair, the staff got off to a horrible start in April (5.42; 28th). So far, in May, they are a top-five staff (3.02).
Offensively, they are off to a better start in 2019. Last season they hit .234 as a team; so far this season they are hitting .248 (18th). That still isn’t great, but it is better.
When the season began, the Mets were one of those teams that some thought had potential to do well this season. That was evident in their World Series odds on April 1 (+1900), good but not great. Roughly a month and a half later, their odds are up to +2500 and they are further and further away from the World Series horse race.
If oddsmakers thought they were a terrible team without hope of redemption, their odds would have fallen faster and further. But this team has potential. The organization just needs to give Mickey Callaway a chance to figure out the job and do it.
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