Twenty-six games into the season, we find the New York Mets in the midst of a three-game losing streak, only after winning the previous eight games in a row.
Is this roller-coaster ride something the fans will be experiencing all season?
Unless something is altered, the answer is yes.
If you were to ask a Met fan or baseball expert what he thought the biggest problem was for the Mets this year, you would most likely hear that the offense is the biggest problem.
But how can that be? I mean, they won eight games in a row. Your offense must be pretty good to win eight games in a row.
Wrong. Even during the Mets' eight-game winning streak, they only averaged five runs per game. Five runs per game seems like a decent number, but not when you put into account the fact that they walloped the Dodgers' horrible bullpen during the end of the winning streak to increase their offensive numbers.
The reason the Mets have 90 percent of their wins this year is because of their pitching staff. The starters do indeed have some holes toward the end of the rotation, but Oliver Perez (6 IP, 2 ER last night vs. Cincy) showed he is gaining his control, while John Maine threw an impressive six innings while only giving up two runs against the Dodgers this past Wednesday.
Their bullpen has also been phenomenal. They were able to carry the Mets to a 20-inning victory while only giving up one run.
The true problem is this Mets offense. Jose Reyes looks like he's still in spring training, Jason Bay looks completely lost, and David Wright is striking out way too much (30 SO in 26 games).
Mets manager Jerry Manuel has tried to shuffle the lineup in order to produce more offense, but now that the winning streak is over, it looks like he may need to make another move.
Move Reyes back to the lead-off spot?
Bat Wright second?
No. None of those moves would solve anything. Reyes is doing fine in the third spot. He has seven RBI in 10 games batting third. Wright has good speed, but he strikes out too much.
The real solution would be to move Rod Barajas to the cleanup spot. Yes, Rod Barajas!
Barajas has the second fewest strikeouts amongst Mets starters (10 in 20 games). He leads the team in home runs (six). He is third on the team in RBI (13). He has the second highest slugging percentage (.500). Not to mention, the majority of his outs come from flying out, which would benefit in many sacrifice flies if he were to bat with a man on third base.
Barajas is the right candidate for the cleanup spot. Bay isn't doing anything there. The Mets have nothing to lose, only gain.
Putting Barajas in the fourth spot of the lineup would not only give the Mets a power threat in the beginning of the order, but putting him there also assures the Mets that either Jeff Francoeur or Ike Davis would be batting eighth, giving off the illusion or reality (depending on their contributions) that the Mets have a deep and dangerous batting order.