NEW YORK – One week after Opening Day, and with the first homestand now in the books, here are five observations about the 2-4 New York Mets:
1. Strikeout record in jeopardy. The Mets set a franchise record for strikeouts a season ago with 1,384. This year, they may set the single-season MLB record.
Mets batters already have struck out 61 times, with Eric Young Jr. (nine) and Curtis Granderson (eight) leading the way. The team strikeout total is the most in franchise history for the first six games of a season, surpassing the 2012 team’s 52 Ks in that span.
The MLB record for a season was set by the Houston Astros in 2013 with 1,535 – which averages to 9.48 per game. So far this year, Mets batters average 10.17 Ks per game.
2. Mets will need kids in relief. Sandy Alderson has said the Mets are sticking internally for now as the bullpen tries to stay afloat without Bobby Parnell, who will undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. Although the relief corps looked marginally better over the weekend, it still has an NL-worst 6.75 ERA.
The Mets will keep Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom in the Triple-A rotation for now, but those prospects clearly will be needed to help in Queens in relief at some point sooner than later.
3. Ike and Duda drama. The Mets never should have let Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both get to Opening Day still with the organization. Now, the first-base “competition” is going to be a persistent question mark. There should be some alleviation next weekend, when the Mets play an interleague series against the Angels in Anaheim and have the use of the DH. After that, the drama should resume.
The Mets also are grooming prospect Kevin Plawecki for a catching role, but he is less than a week into his Double-A career, so he still has a ways to go before reaching the majors.
5. Sandy spotlight intensifying. Say what you want about Terry Collins, but educated fans know where the fault will lie if the Mets end up with a sixth straight losing season in 2014. Alderson has now had four offseasons to fix things.
Yes, the rotation beginning next season should be very strong with Matt Harvey returning and Noah Syndergaard looking like a future star. But, for now, the Mets’ success is dependent upon Alderson’s ability to identify cost-effective talent. His track record in selecting the right free agents has been rather weak.