The Mets won two of three games during their season-opening series against the Nationals this past weekend in Washington D.C. Here are three good and three not-so-good takeaways from the previous three games...
1) The offense is no one-trick pony
The Mets are no longer waiting on home runs and 'hunting strikes,' a hitting approach pushed the past few years by Sandy Alderson and his hitting coaches Dave Hudgens and Kevin Long. Instead, manager Mickey Callaway and new hitting coach Chili Davis worked this past spring to get their roster to focus more on hitting behind runners, ways to oppose the shift, making good contact, and putting the ball in play.
As a result, the Mets scored 11 runs this past weekend without hitting a home run. In fact, six of their seven run-producing hits were sent to the opposite field on Saturday. Yesterday, they used five singles to produce three runs in the eighth inning to tie the game.
More important, down both games this past weekend, the team fought back in both instances.
"We're a resilient bunch and we fight to the very end," Pete Alonso later said, according to Newsday.
2) Brodie is right -- Mets have depth
Jeff McNeil started at third base Thursday and in left field on Saturday. He pinch hit Sunday ending a 4-for-11 series, during which he nearly hit for the cycle.
In his place at third during the weekend, J.D. Davis slipped once, but made multiple, terrific plays in the field. And, though he was just 2-for-10 overall, one of those hits drove in the go-ahead RBI in Saturday's win.
Keon Broxton started Sunday in center field, went 2-for-2, and had two stolen bases.
"Everybody's contributing, and we feel like that will continue to happen," Callaway later added.
3) Alonso looks prepared and unfazed
Rookie 1B Pete Alonso looked like a veteran hitter and first baseman during his 14 at-bats. During the first big-league series of his career, he sprayed three doubles to all fields, scored a run, drove in three, and heads to Miami tonight batting .500.
Obviously, he's not hitting .500 this season with 162 RBI. And pitchers will eventually adjust to him, at which point he'll need to adjust back. However, 6-for-12 is a lot better than 0-for-12 and it should give him confidence to build from this performance as we move through April.
"He knows he belongs," Callaway said Sunday. "He's playing with everything he's got."
1) Risky choices by Callaway
In the season's first game, Callaway chose at least two risky paths, specifically pulling Jacob deGrom for Seth Lugo, and swapping Broxton for Michael Conforto. Thankfully, both worked out, as did using Dominic Smith for defense in place of Alonso.
Sunday against Patrick Corbin, Callaway again chose to start Davis over McNeil, who was on the bench despite getting four hits the day before. Callaway said he sat McNeil because Corbin is a left-handed pitcher. McNeil hit .281 against lefties last season.
Thankfully like Opening Day, it worked out, though Davis again had just one hit in five at-bats.
Lugo tossed 41 pitches and was unavailable Sunday. In total, Callaway used seven different relievers in two games this past weekend with no off-day between Sunday's and Monday's games.
2) The bullpen was up and down
In the series opener, Lugo, Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz looked like an unstoppable juggernaut drawing praise for Van Wagenen, and the belief that each game could be shut down by the seventh inning. However, during the final two games, the bullpen let six runs cross the plate.
Lugo allowed one hit and walked two batters Saturday, during which Familia also walked a batter and gave up a hit. Justin Wilson looked strong Saturday, but then let up a walk-off home run Sunday to Trea Turner.
3) The rotation isn't perfect
Jacob deGrom looked amazing in game one. However, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler each allowed four runs, and repeatedly found themselves pitching in and out of trouble.
Wheeler and Syndergaard, as well as deGrom, are more than allowed to have a bad start or two. The point is, while it's fun to imagine, the Mets are not going to get six innings of brilliant pitching every night. There will be bumps in the road, as there is every season and on every team, which is probably why the Mets are reportedly keeping tabs on free-agent pitcher Dallas Keuchel.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!