The Mets Can Still Make The Playoffs With Three Key Steps To Make

BOSTON – What do the Mets need to do to reach the playoffs?

Please, stop your anger, and don’t say any more miracles.

Call me a Queens crazyman, but there’s a reason the players on this team make almost $400 million, and it’s way beyond the fact that the owner had it in his checking account.

There is talent on this Mets team.

The first thing we need to remember, and it’s not easy, is that they are the same team as the 2022 Mets.

You know, the one that won 101 games.

Yes, I know there is no Jacob deGrom.

But the truth is that he was only a part-time person anyway.

The next thing we need to recognize is that future Hall of Famers Justin Verlander (the actual deGrom replacement) and Max Scherzer are pitching back as expected of them.

Obviously, there’s something better about Verlander, who pitched eight innings on Wednesday, which basically counts as a complete game for starting pitchers these days.

Justin Verlander has looked better on the mound lately.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Scherzer still had his lights out last Sunday, and he seems to have rediscovered something about his slider.

Scherzer, for one, isn’t giving up.

“Their game was suspended in the fourth inning on Friday night against the Red Sox,” Scherzer said of the Mets’ prospects.

Scherzer also said, “We’ve played like shit.” “We have to play one day at a time. What else can you do? Keep the curtains down, and go one day at a time.

“When you’re playing good baseball, that’s how you play good baseball.”

For months we’ve been complaining about rotation, and now it’s the least of the Mets’ problems. To be fair, there are still a few for the 45-51 team.

They have a chance if some of these things happen:

1. Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil need to start hitting

Pete Alonso (20) celebrates with Jeff McNeil (1) after hitting an eighth inning home run against the Miami Marlins during the home opener at Citi Field on April 07, 2023.
Pete Alonso (20) celebrates with Jeff McNeil (1) after hitting an eighth inning home run against the Miami Marlins during the home opener at Citi Field on April 07, 2023.
Getty Images

It’s hard to know what has happened to these two homegrown stars.

Between the two, they’ve won the Triple Crown—Alonso leading the league in home runs and RBIs and McNeil topping the batting average.

Two of those titles (Alonso RBI, McNeil Batting Average) happened just last year, so we know he should still have it.

McNeil is suffering from an 80-point drop in his batting average (.246 to .326) from last year to this year.

And we don’t even need to see it to know that it’s the biggest flaw in the game.

Alonso has insisted he is healthy, though he has struggled since returning from the injured list with a wrist injury (he is at .140 since the beginning of June) in about a third of the time originally projected.

It just doesn’t happen.

Jeff McNeil's infield fly-ball rate goes up for the Mets in 2023.
The Mets will need Jeff McNeil to get things back on track.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

The Mets historically take three times longer, not a third the time.

Alonso said a second exam showed he was not as hurt, and he looked good in the home run derby, although he was knocked out early by Seattle’s hometown hero Julio Rodríguez.

It’s the closest I’ve come to a highlight these days for Alonso or McNeil.

2. Mark Vientos needs to start playing

The Mets called up Vientos before the Red Sox series, so that’s half the battle.

However, it would be nice to see him in the lineup.

Mark Vientos will return to the Mets later this week after a stint in AAA.
Mark Vientos returned to the Mets this weekend after a stint in AAA.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With right-hander Kutter Crawford throwing to the Red Sox on Friday, lefty Daniel Vogelbach and his sub .678 OPS were once again in the starting lineup.

Manager Buck Showalter said he would find some space for Vientos.

Let’s hope: Vientos, with 1,000 OPS in the minors, brings hope.

We would also like to see Ronnie Mauricio.

Since we know the Mets are anything but cheap and aren’t holding Mauricio in the minors due to service-time considerations, they shouldn’t think he’s ready.

But at this point (.553 vs. lefties) he has to be a better option against lefties than Brett Batty.

Francisco Alvarez Is The Best Thing To Happen To The Mets Season So Far; Keep coming kids.

3. Bullpen needs to get back on track

David Robertson will have to continue defeating Father Time, and maybe even drop some pointers on his allies.

Adam Ottavino (0) of the New York Mets walks to the dugout after the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on July 15, 2023 in New York City.
Adam Ottavino of the New York Mets walks to the dugout after the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on July 15, 2023.
Getty Images

Brooks Raleigh did what was expected, but the circle of belief is getting smaller.

We all love Adam Ottavino, but the new rules aren’t doing him any favors.

His inability to contain the runners off the long delivery becomes all the more apparent.

Ottavino said, “It’s always been like this – no different.” “I will take a few extra outs from him thinking that is for sure. This is difficult. You don’t want to mess with the quality of the pitches. … We weren’t excluding anybody before the rules. Now this is tough. I wish he hadn’t done that.”

Ottavino is a professional, so he will make the best of it.

Looks like the rest of them are finding their way.

Obviously, the injury to Edwin Diaz was life-threatening, but you’d still think that a team that’s spending nearly half a billion (including the Steve Cohen tax) would have even more bullpen.

Drew Smith has been pitching better since being stuck with the sticky stuff, then he exploded against the White Sox on Thursday.

That loss was a genuine delight—a loss by one of very few teams that was an even bigger disappointment than the Mets.

Fortunately, there is still time, and there should at least be enough talent to run.

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