Place strategy

Second-placed New York Mets don’t take advantage of their ‘soft’ schedule

Seeing the New York Mets in second place isn’t something fans are used to seeing. Well, it finally happened. The Atlanta Braves caught the Mets on a day they shouldn’t have.

The Mets opened a series against a very poor Miami Marlins team while the Braves had to travel to play against a strong American League club, the Seattle Mariners. It should have been a win for the Mets and there was a good chance the Braves would lose. Instead, the reverse happened.

Why are the Mets suddenly second?

The Mets aren’t full right now and we’re seeing the results of that. Without Starling Marte in right field, it’s Tyler Naquin’s turn to take over. The Mets have a shallow depth of field behind the front three. Jeff McNeil is the better option but the club have even worse players behind him to take over at second base while Luis Guillorme is out.

David Peterson has been good this year, but had an evening off Friday against the Marlins. Unfortunately, the same goes for most of the offense. The Mets only managed to score three runs and that won’t be an effective strategy even against what many consider baseball’s softest clubs.

A starting lineup with Naquin batting fifth and the struggling duo of Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf batting seventh while going no-hitter Friday in two at bats apiece won’t work very often. It’s the depth of the Mets roster that has become a major issue. Vogelbach and Ruf are limited to DH duties or possibly first base — an unnecessary position for them to play given how often Pete Alonso starts.

Beyond them we have minor leaguer Deven Marrero and pinch runner Terrance Gore. Three or four years ago, who would have thought that a Mets team in a pennant race would desperately need Guillorme back?

Something many of us loved about the Mets at the start of the year was the variety of potential starting lineups. This is no longer an option as many of these roles are much more individualized. The struggles of Dominic Smith, JD Davis and even Robinson Cano are to blame. But we can also point to a ball club carrying two DH and an exclusive Pinch Runner player.

Unfortunately, the Mets can’t do much more than finally promote Mark Vientos and see if he can provide them with a spark. However, with him on the roster, it just gives them another DH. They have plenty.

By tomorrow, the Mets could be back in first place. This is a team that has consistently won two out of three against every team they have faced. A loss to open their series against Miami is not a cause for panic, but we are fooling ourselves if there is no fear that it is starting to become a habit.

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