Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the Mets are starting a 24-year old rookie catcher and a 21-year old rookie second baseman, and though we’ve been discussing the pros and cons of Wilmer Flores for years now, he’s still a 23-year old kid who’d played a grand total of 105 games prior to this season. For all of the talk about the team’s young pitching staff of the future, the infield isn’t exactly populated with seasoned vets.
On Tuesday, it was Kevin Plawecki who delivered the key hit when he scorched a two-run double down the leftfield line that gave the Mets a 3-0 lead, and Wednesday it was Dilson Herrera playing hero, driving in the game’s first run with a RBI single in the second (past both a diving Jimmy Paredes and a diving Everth Cabrera) and then hitting his first homerun on the season with a two-run shot in the sixth. The secret to Herrera’s night, apparently, was to hit the ball anywhere Adam Jones couldn’t catch it.
On the night, Herrera went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs, which you’d probably think would both be firsts for a kid two months past his 21st birthday, but you’d be wrong. Already in his 24 game Major League career he’s had one prior three hit game and a three RBI night as well. So instead of firsts for Herrera the team will settle with their first series win since sweeping Atlanta to finish off their 11-game winning streak. If you’re counting that was 13 days since the team won a series, and I refuse to look up how many errors, botched double plays, and balls thrown in the dirt to first base.
Last night also marked the first time the team has hit multiple homeruns since they hit three against the Yankees on April 25. It also just so happened to be the first game the team scored five runs since that Yankees game. The secret to motivating the Mets, then, is starting former All Stars and top five finishers in the Cy Young and let the bats come alive. Against the Yankees it was C.C. Sabathia, and last night they faced Ubaldo Jimenez (Herrera’s homer came off of Brad Brach).
I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating that even when David Wright returns or presumably when the bats really start clicking this isn’t a team that will hit for power. As the season slowly progresses, the Mets slip farther and farther down the leaderboards in homeruns (tied for 24th in the Majors with 19) and ISO (24th at .125) while their total of 95 for wRC+ is tied with the Red Sox for 22nd. Other than Lucas Duda, there’s no one single person in the lineup that terrifies an opposing pitcher. Maybe Wright when he returns. He’s not the same hitter he was in the mid aughts, obviously, but he still has some pop.
So, after an off day, the team travels to Philadelphia for three before running the NL Central gauntlet with series against the Cubs, Brewers, world-destroying Cardinals, and Pirates. That’s a 20 day stretch without an off day capped off with a three-game series against Philly. Ugh. The end of May will be interesting.