The Mets have a very potent offense, no question, but most of the hitters are extremely streaky, especially the heart of the lineup and this is a concern for the fans and for Mets management.
Howard Johnson is the hitting coach and was spared the late night firing that Willie Randolph and Rick Peterson received in Anaheim last June.
Johnson is extremely popular with the players and is a father figure to David Wright, who fully credits Johnson with spending countless hours with him in the batting cages and during batting practice, both regular and extra as needed.
He is very nurturing and supportive, no doubt about that, but as fans we do have to wonder if his gentle method is what the Mets hitters need this season to put consecutive September disappointments past them.
Jerry Manuel relies on his coaches very heavily for advice on who is where in relation to their individual games and readiness, but Manuel is spending time with the players in the cage and batting practice, overseeing the work that Johnson is doing and how the players are responding to his guidance.
The Mets offense has been stranding a lot of runners and their ability to come through in big situations is suspect to say the least, which is both a mental effort to think about the situation at hand and a mechanical effort to execute.
Granted, you do have to give ample credit to the opposing pitchers and defense that are doing their part to keep our hitters off balance and denying them of big hits. Not enough has been done to utilize the lineup in the best way so far, so we should expect to see changes occurring to give everyone a chance to get their offense going in the right direction.
Johnson should be nervous about his job this season unless the offense turns things around and scores more runs in critical situations during the coming weeks.