The Mets mistimed losing games to bad teams, and after being swept by the Cubs this week, they’re holding onto the NL East lead with the skin of their teeth…
Brawling Mets swept by Cubs
After the Mets were defeated by the Cubs at Citi Field this week, the Mets’ lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East is down to just a half game. The sweep marked the first time New York was defeated in a three-game streak this season, and it included losses that saw Chris Bassitt and Jacob deGrom take over the ball for Buck Showalters Metropolitans.
The Mets are 6-7 in September and have just one win against a team with a .500 record or better, picking the worst time of the season to go into a slump.
“We’re in a situation where we’re all dying to make it,” Francisco Lindor said, according to The Athletic. “We just didn’t get through. I come with people on the base, I hit in a double game. I come with people on the base, I hit. I come with people on the base, I get a single. In the last few days, I no longer see the consistency that was there at the beginning of the year. It’s just baseball.”
New York opens a series with the Pirates tonight, so they have the best opportunity to come out of their crisis. Atlanta, meanwhile, has a weekend with the red-hot Philadelphia Phillies, giving the Mets hope that New York can stretch their lead in the NL East a bit this weekend.
MLB spin rates are approaching pre-enforcement numbers
As MLB struggled to strictly enforce a pre-existing rule on the use of foreign matter to handle the ball, particularly regarding the use of “spider tack,” we saw a dramatic drop in pitcher spin throughout the game, which helped to level the playing field.
Enforcement methods such as inspecting hats, belts, gloves and hands when pitchers leave the field still exist, but we are seeing baseball spin numbers revert to their former norms.
As Eno Sarris writes in his recent history the athleteSpin returns to levels seen only before the MLB crackdown:
But it looks like pitchers have found something clear and wipeable that gives them more of a boost than sunscreen and rosin because baseball’s spin rate is up again. Almost back to where it was before enforcement started.
More from Sarris on baseball’s rising spin rates and what MLB could do about it:
What’s holding up the royals’ rebuilding?
Despite the best efforts of rookie infielder Bobby Witt Jr. this season, the Kansas City Royals are at a point well below their expectations for the point of their rebuild they are at right now.
Witt Jr. put together a Rookie of the Year season. But that’s it for the Royals, who find themselves in the basement of baseball’s most lackluster division, the AL Central. As a White Sox fan, and for that reason a close observer of AL Central, I have a pretty good handle on the Royals from an organizational perspective. I said before the season that Kansas City would be more of a thorn in Chicago’s side in the long run than either the Guardians or the Twins. I was wrong on several levels.
But why has Kansas City’s rebuilding failed to this point? Andy McCullough from the athlete says the weapons they invested in early in the rebuild are a major culprit. In 2018, the Royals picked four college pitchers — Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar and Kris Bubic — in the top 40 of the 2018 draft.
All four reached the majors within three years, but none came close to the royals’ high expectations. Brady Singer has been the best of the group this season, and that’s simply because he’s the only one with an ERA below 5.00.
McCullough takes you deeper into the royal mystery with a little help from Rustin Dodd and Alec Lewis:
bits and pieces
- Julio Rodríguez continues to solidify his position as American League Rookie of the Year by becoming the third true rookie to record a 25-25 season. While J-Rod’s case is pretty strong, Bobby Witt Jr., Adleyrutschman, and Steven Kwan have also built pretty impressive resumes, making this one of the more intriguing prize races.
- Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina started as battery mates with race number 325 Wednesday afternoon as the Cardinals hosted the Milwaukee Brewers. Wainwright and Molina have done this more than any other duo in baseball history.
- Could we see two Triple Crowns this season? Paul Goldschmidt (NL) and Aaron Judge (AL) are both flirting with the possibility of only a few weeks left in the regular season.
- Major League Baseball celebrates the life and legacy of Roberto Clemente leaguewide today. Clemente played 18 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates and racked up 3,000 hits, among countless other impressive accomplishments on and off the field.
- Every home run starting Wednesday is right here for your viewing pleasure!
- You probably remember the Drew Robinson story written by Jeff Passan in February 2021. Robinson is traveling across the country this month to inspire people as part of his efforts to raise awareness for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.