The Washington Nationals completed a three game series sweep of the New York Mets this afternoon with an 8-2 victory over the Mets at Citi Field. During the game Mets announcer Gary Cohen posed a very good question: was this series proof that the Nationals will be great, the Mets are going to have an even rougher season than we anticipated, or does it mean absolutely nothing?
Can I take ‘none of the above’?
Coming into this year I assumed the Nationals were going to run away with the National League East, they are the best team in the division from top to bottom by a wide margin, I would even be so bold as to name them the NL’s World Series frontrunner entering the year. They did nothing to dissuade me from those predictions this week. However, their performance against what should be a mediocre team does not mean that the Nats should be penciled in for a Wild Card round bye.
The Mets, however, I assumed would be a better team than they were last year, but there were very few bright spots for the Mets in their first three games of the year. The bullpen, which was the biggest concern for the team coming into the season, was nothing short of a disaster. Every pitcher that has appeared in a game for the Mets has an ERA of 3 or above except one; Jose Valverde. Think about that for a minute; three games into the year and there’s only one guy who still has a 0.00 ERA regardless of how long he appeared. Both Mets relievers who appeared for less than one inning, John Lannan and Scott Rice, have identical ERAs: 54.00. To (literally) add injury to insult, the team lost closer Bobby Parnell to a partially torn MCL after one game.
Offensively, the team also struck out an astounding 39 times in the three games, only the Los Angeles Dodgers have stuck out more this year, K-ing 44 times in five games played, and posted a .179 team batting average.
Does all of this mean the Mets can not reach a win total in the mid to high seventies as most have predicted? Absolutely not. There’s going to be ebbs and flows to every year. Certainly there was a lot to be concerned about watching this Mets team, which is why this series can not just be dismissed, but getting swept by a team that is supposed to be much better than you is not the end of the world.
The schedule doesn’t get much easier going forward, so this team will to find a way to beat quality opponents, but for now, stay patient Mets fans.