The Mets catching situation is a big problem.
In the bottom of the ninth on Sunday, New York was able to get a potential rally going. Losing 3-2 with two outs, Wilmer Flores drew a walk. After Jose Reyes came on to pinch run for Wilmer, Adrian González then smacked a single to opposite field, which advanced Reyes to second. Then came up catcher Tomas Nido, who Mickey Callaway couldn't pitch hit for because he had already used his bench, one player of which hit for Lobaton.
Three pitches. Three strikes. Ballgame. Mets lose again.
We knew better than to rest our hopes on Nido. Since Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki went down with injuries, Mets fans have come to expect little-to-no offensive production from the catching platoon of Jose Lobaton and the aforementioned Nido. They’ve gone a combined 10-for-69 at the plate, and have produced only 4 RBIs on the season. Neither of them have an OPS over .500, while they each own a WAR stat that’s in the negatives. Their ineptitude at the plate, combined with the pitchers spot and a struggling Amed Rosario, has helped make the Mets 7-8-9 positions in the order a guaranteed two to three outs.
But the catching woes extend beyond their scarcity of hitting. There is a genuine lack of familiarity with the pitching staff, and that loss of defensive leadership behind the plate has affected game management and pitch selection.
Since Plawecki and TDA have been on the DL, the Mets have gone a putrid 7-14, and the pitching staff has watched their ERA balloon from 2.47 to 4.19 on the season. Anyone not named Jacob deGrom has looked uncomfortable on the mound during that stretch. Simply put, Lobaton and Nido are overwhelmed and inexperienced with our rotation. There’s a reason one has been a career journeyman and the other is in AA ball. From not knowing what pitch to call with two strikes to failing to visit the mound when a pitcher needs calming, neither has emerged as the true leader we saw in Plawecki or d'Arnaud, who weren't perfect, but were far better than this.
Sunday’s loss capped off a pathetic six-game losing streak at Citi. It was an ugly home stretch for a plethora of reasons: The deGrom injury scare, the Harvey DFA saga, the lack of offensive production. But before this homestand, there has been one constant factor in the team’s recent downfall, and that’s been the lack of production and leadership from the catcher’s position. And while we know d’Arnaud is out for the year, the front office has failed in trying to ride out Lobaton and Nido while we await Plawecki’s return. The Mets need to erase the past week of baseball and get back to their early April form. That starts with addressing the catcher’s position immediately.
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