State of the Mets: May (2024)

State of the New York Mets
March Record: 0-3
April Record: 15-11
May Record: 9-19
Record entering June: 24-33
Games Behind in NL East: 15.5
Games Behind NL Wild Card: 4.5

The New York Mets' performance in May can best be described by Murphy's law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Even with the team trying to evaluate their current core of players, the Mets' biggest priority is to make the playoffs. Establishing themselves as a contender would do wonders for the future, as it not only would make Queens an attractive destination for the league's best players, but also could convince Pete Alonso, the team's heart and soul, to spend the rest of his career with them.

April was respectable enough for the Mets, as they had a winning record and were a half-game back of the last Wild Card spot in the National League. Not everyone was producing, but with a combination of hot streaks and the return of key contributors, they could keep up with the Joneses in May.

But instead, everything came crashing down. The only series the Mets won in May was a two-game set in St. Louis that had the series finale rescheduled for August. They can win another if they can beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on either Saturday or Sunday, but that would amount to just their second series win since April 22.

The losses piled up throughout the month. Out of the team's nine victories, five of them prevented series sweeps. They couldn't avoid that fate against the Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Guardians, and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets played 19 games from May 10 to May 29 and won just four of them. Each defeat was more demoralizing than the last, and even the wins would rarely come easy.

When the dust settled, the already unrealistic scenario of winning the NL East became a pipe dream, as the team trails the Philadelphia Phillies by 15.5 games. More importantly, the Mets are 4.5 games out of the third Wild Card; this doesn't seem like a huge deficit, but it certainly is when they trail seven other teams competing for the same spot.

Things have gotten so dire that MLB Network analyst Mark DeRosa declared that the Mets should blow everything up and start from scratch, which even includes letting Alonso go.

Mark DeRosa on MLB Network right now:

“it’s just not it…..start over…..I don’t think (Mets should) re-sign (Pete) Alonso”

DeRosa believes Mets should blow things up after this long, horrific stretch

— Pat Ragazzo (@ragazzoreport) May 30, 2024

Even Alonso hasn't been the X-factor the team needs him to be. In May, he slashed .234/.293/.439 with just four long balls. He does have an above-average 121 wRC+ on the year so far, but Alonso has only 12 home runs to put himself on a pace far below his usual standards; a .309 on-base percentage isn't doing him any favors either. The month almost became worse when he got plunked on the right hand, but after a surprise pinch-hitting appearance on Thursday, he appears to be fine.

Other Mets weren't so fortunate in avoiding injury. Rotation ace Kodai Senga suffered a setback in his rehab and might not be back for another month. Superstar closer Edwin Diaz landed on the 15-day injured list, while Brooks Raley may have pitched his last game as a Met after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Francisco Alvarez, the team's budding catcher, is progressing well from thumb surgery and may be back soon, but top prospect Jett Williams is dealing with persistent wrist soreness and may need surgery of his own.

The remaining key pieces in the lineup haven't been playing to the back of their baseball cards. Franchise shortstop Francisco Lindor leads the Mets with 1.9 fWAR, but a .229/.297/.403 slash line and 105 wRC+ is not even close to what is expected of him. Brandon Nimmo is second on the team with 1.3 fWAR and has a .350 on-base percentage, but he's only batting .214 and narrowly avoided an injury scare early in the month. Brett Baty has struggled so badly lately that he was sent down to the minors. J.D. Martinez, the team's prized DH acquisition during the offseason, is still a solid hitter with a .465 slugging percentage and a 128 wRC+, but he's struck out in 31% of his plate appearances. Finally, Jeff McNeil has been a massive disappointment, as he's only hitting .224/.296/.321 with an 85 wRC+ and -0.1 fWAR.

Francisco Lindor on the Mets' team meeting:

— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 30, 2024

The starting rotation is still difficult to depend on, save for Sean Manaea; he had 17 strikeouts against just four walks in May while allowing just three homers this year. But Luis Severino has dealt with control issues lately, walking 16 batters in 29 innings during the month. Jose Quintana had an ERA over 7 during the month and a 5.06 ERA on the year. Jose Butto walked nine batters in three starts during the month and was demoted to Triple-A. Christian Scott made his MLB debut and looked rather impressive in five starts, but was surprisingly sent down to Triple-A as well. Finally, Adrian Houser performed so poorly as a starter that he was moved to the bullpen, although he has lowered his ERA to 7.01 after two decent relief appearances.

Speaking of the bullpen, what was once a surprising advantage for the Mets in April has transformed into a crippling weakness in May; persistent late-game collapses was a major trend during the team's free-fall. Before landing on the IL, Edwin Diaz had five save opportunities during the month and converted just one of them, allowing nine runs and three homers in 9.1 innings. Jake Diekman and Josh Walker are the only two left-handed relievers available due to Raley's season-ending injury. Adam Ottavino had a 0.93 ERA in April, but the wheels completely fell off in May as he allowed 11 runs in 10.2 innings. Reed Garrett began to run out of steam due to overuse; with a 0.72 ERA before May 22, that number has since ballooned to 3.10. As for Jorge Lopez? He's not even on the team anymore.

It's not an exaggeration to say that everything went wrong for the Mets in May, and they are now staring at a lost season. Of course, nothing is impossible as the Amazins' have routinely shown throughout their history, but in a season with so much implications toward the future, this is the bleakest outlook for the team since Steve Cohen purchased them.

If the Mets still want to make the playoffs, they need a miracle.

State of the Mets: May (2024)
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