Home Run Apples and Warning Track Outs

First off, my apologies for the hiatus. Real life and work had been quite busy. I’ll leave it at that.

This left little time for reading and writing about the Mets. Consider me back with vengeance. Although if the nice weather holds up, don’t count on weekend material.

As the Mets gear up for a tough road trip, I’m going to begin a like/dislike series I will call “Home Run Apples and Warning Track Outs.”

“Home Run Apples” are my likes of the past week. Deductive reasoning makes “Warning Track Outs” my dislikes of the past week. Here goes:

Home Run Apples:

  • Jeff Francouer’s newfound ability to take pitches. Frenchy must have worked on his pitch recognition in the offseason. While he still swings at the occasional first pitch breaking ball, he manages to take pitches more often than before. This has allowed him to draw a few more walks. More importantly, this gives him more fastballs later in the count that he is smoking for basehits. After six games, Francoeur has a nice batting average and OBP. If he can keep this up, we won’t look to him as a stikeout rally killer, but a disciplined hitter capable of getting on base when his team needs it. The rest of the Mets should take a page from Jeff’s book. That near-comeback against an imploding Marlin bullpen can happen more often if our guys take more pitches and get the starters out of the games earlier than the 7th inning.
  • The performance of the Met Bullpen. I know it’s early, but at least one of the question marks going into this season is functioning at a winning level. I believe the ‘pen had 11 straight scoreless innings when K-Rod took the mound on Sunday. This won’t last if we keep getting 5 or 6 innings out of our starters. It’s too early to tell how this bullpen will hold up over the course of a season with that type of workload. Probability is not good. But at least some aspect of our team is performing up to par.

Warning Track Outs:

  • The invisible offense. You can’t win games if you’re only putting up 1 or 2 runs. Sorry, we just don’t have the starting pitching right now to keep us close. Hopefully this turns itself around soon. Draw some walks fellas, make things happen on the basepaths. The return of Jose Reyes can make this a possibility.
  • The starters. Santana’s Bloody Sunday aside, the pitching has been mediocre, but not totally terrible. They need to go deeper into games than the fifth inning. It’s taking too much work to get outs. Focus and trust your stuff. Neise had a solid effort his first game, but it was the work of a number 4 or 5 starter. I trust he will emerge as one of the stronger pieces behind Santana, but when the other three guys are also pitching like number 5 starters, the bullpen gets overworked and we lose close games down the stretch. Not that “the stretch” matters when you start a season 2-4, but still, let’s log some more innings and keep the games close. The offense will show up eventually… right?
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