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Francisco Lindor Miguel Castro Marcus Stroman TREATED ART

Francisco Lindor Miguel Castro Marcus Stroman TREATED ART

The first wave of panic for Mets fans came after they lost on Opening Day to the Philadelphia Phillies as the bullpen melted down. The second wave of panic came after they wasted a Jacob deGrom gem against the Miami Marlins to fall to 2-3.

The third wave of panic? It’s happening now, with the Mets at 7-7 and tied for first place but coming off an at-times ugly sweep by the Cubs in Chicago.

As we all know, no team that has started the season 7-7 and in a tie for first place has ever made the playoffs. We’re kidding, but you knew that.

While it’s understandable for people to have a certain level of concern over how the Mets have played early on, it’s important to remember that their start to the season has been anything but ordinary.

What is about to come next is not an excuse, but reality…

The Mets’ first three games of the season were wiped out because of a COVID-19 outbreak with the Washington Nationals. Soon after, they dealt with four weather postponements in the span of six days, only to encounter frigid temperatures in Colorado and Chicago when they finally got to play uninterrupted.

Apr 22, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) celebrates with catcher James McCann (33) after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the fourth inning at Wrigley Field.Apr 22, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) celebrates with catcher James McCann (33) after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the fourth inning at Wrigley Field.

Apr 22, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) celebrates with catcher James McCann (33) after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the fourth inning at Wrigley Field.

Yes, the Mets should still be hitting better than they are right now.

But it’s fair to give them a bit of leeway when it comes to how their first 14 games have gone and the stops and starts they’ve had to deal with.

And when you look at how the Mets have performed overall and realize that the offense will absolutely come around — perhaps as early as this weekend against the Nationals at Citi Field — it’s easy to see that now is not the time to panic.

The Mets are fine, and will be a good team. Here’s why…

THE STARTING PITCHING HAS BEEN GOOD

Jacob deGrom is again pitching like he’s from another planet and belongs in a higher league, and Marcus Stroman has pitched at an ace level so far.

Beyond deGrom and Stroman, Taijuan Walker has been quite good (though he struggled with his command on a cold night in Chicago) and David Peterson rebounded from his rough first start to toss perhaps his best game as a big leaguer last week against the Phillies at Citi Field.

Apr 14, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher David Peterson (23) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citi Field.Apr 14, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher David Peterson (23) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citi Field.

Apr 14, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher David Peterson (23) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citi Field.

Like Walker, Peterson hit a bit of a speed bump in Chicago, but a lot of that was due to the defense behind him.

Then there’s Joey Lucchesi, whose only two starts have come in Colorado and Chicago. It’s kind of hard to judge him given the above, but it’s also possible that he’ll be replaced by Carlos Carrasco within the next week to 10 days. And once Carrasco is back, the Mets’ rotation — which could get Noah Syndergaard back in a bit over a month — will be on another level.

THE BULLPEN HAS BEEN GOOD (REALLY)

Although the first taste of the bullpen this season was sour, here’s the reality…

  • Edwin Diaz has a 2.57 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with 9 strikeouts in 7.0 innings over seven appearances

  • Trevor May hasn’t allowed a run since his first appearance of the season — a span of five appearances

  • Miguel Castro (3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) has been an at-times dominant late-inning option, with nine strikeouts in six appearances.

  • Aaron Loup‘s ERA is literally 0.00, and he has a 0.60 WHIP

  • Jeurys Familia hasn’t allowed a run in four appearances since his first appearance of the season

The Mets will also likely be getting Drew Smith back soon, and Seth Lugo could return at some point in May.

THE OFFENSE IS TOO GOOD TO BE THIS BAD

It seems the Mets’ offense has been thrown off the most by all the stops and starts and the weird scheduling.

And if you look at the Mets’ offensive rankings, you’ll see that they’re at or near the bottom of the league in nearly every key category.

They have scored 45 runs in 14 games, which is an almost impossibly anemic 3.21 runs per game.

They have hit just 10 home runs, which is similarly ridiculous given what their lineup looks like on a daily basis.

Apr 18, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) hits a double in the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsApr 18, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) hits a double in the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 18, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) hits a double in the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Alonso has been showing serious signs of life, Brandon Nimmo has been terrific, and J.D. Davis and Luis Guillorme have been hitting well.

So unless you think Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Francisco Lindor, and Dominic Smith are going to be bad offensive players this season, something is going to give soon. And the Mets will score runs in droves. They’ll hit with runners in scoring position, too.

WHAT ABOUT THE DEFENSE?

Wednesday night was incredibly ugly, but aside from that — and some other adventures with Davis — the defense has been fine.

It will be an adventure at times in left field for Smith, but he has held his own so far. And Nimmo has been fine in center field.

Defense, aside from at shortstop and behind the plate, will likely not be a strength for the Mets this season, but they should be able to get by — especially if they go defense over offense at third base.

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