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Mets Bases Loaded Struggles Continue To Hurt

On each side of the diamond, the Mets issues with the bases loaded are contributing to this season’s struggles.

In the top of the 5th inning of Tuesday night’s eventual 7-6 loss to the Cleveland Guardians, the Mets mounted a rally. Given their recent offensive struggles, this information alone is somewhat newsworthy. They began the inning down 3-0. However, a one-out solo home run, followed by a series of series of hits and a walk narrowed the score to 3-2. Suddenly, they found themselves with the bases loaded and still only one out, and the lineup’s third-place hitter, Brandon Nimmo, stepping to the plate. Four pitches later, Nimmo struck out, swinging over a splitter that dipped out of the strike zone. The inning was not over though, and J.D. Martinez came up next. Martinez has been one of the more reliable Mets hitters in recent days and has earned his cleanup spot in the lineup. Like Nimmo before him, Martinez struck out on four pitches, the last one a slider that broke below the strike zone, and Martinez’s bat. That was that, rally over.

One night earlier, a similar situation occurred, this time in the top of the 6th inning. This time the Guardians were leading 3-1 when the Mets loaded the bases with 2 outs. Struggling youngster Brett Baty came up with an opportunity to tie the game, or even put the Mets ahead, or at the very least to keep the inning going. He did none of those things. His strike out took just three pitches. The Mets went on to lose by that same 3-1 score.

It would be incredibly short-sighted to pinpoint the 2024 Mets difficulties on one specific problem. The challenges the Mets have faced this year are multi-faceted. The offense has been underperforming all season long, and the pitchers who have been carrying the Mets toward mediocrity are already starting to wear down. As has been noted before, the Mets have given up more walks than any other team in the game, given up more stolen bases than any other team, and have not been scoring enough runs to make up for it.

So, their problems with the bags full are not THE reason for their sub-.500 record, they’re just A reason. The Mets have had 48 at-bats with the bases clogged so far this year. They have just 8 hits to show for it. Their .167 average in those situations are among the worst in game. They also have 18 strikeouts with the bases loaded, the second most in all of baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks have the highest OPS with the based full so far, at 1.067. The Mets based loaded OPS? A lowly .486. (In case you’re curious, the White Sox are in last in the category with a putrid .175.). Perhaps most alarming for the Mets is that quintet of Nimmo, Baty, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Francisco Lindor, all key players in the Mets lineup, are just 1-26 with 9 Ks. A Nimmo single is the lone outlier. In fact, of the Mets 8 hits, only two are extra-base hits, a double and a home run, both by Tyrone Taylor. He’s had 4 AB’s with the 3 runners on base. His other two ended in strikeouts.

It’s not just the offense that’s struggled in this situation. At first glance, Mets pitchers seem to do pretty well under this pressure. They lead the majors with 18 strikeouts with the bases loaded, and their 0.93 WHIP and .170 batting average against are in the top 1/3 of all teams. However, the wildness that’s plagued Mets pitchers all season have been especially problematic when they don’t have a base on which to put the batter. They are second in the majors with 8 bases loaded walks. The only team worse is the Pittsburgh Pirates with 9, and 6 of those came in one inning! Additionally, the Mets are tied for second with 2 hit batsmen with the bases loaded. Two might not sound like much, yet in a situation like that it’s two too many. Interestingly, the Mets pitching issues with the bases full are spread pretty evenly throughout the staff. Eight different pitchers have walked a run home, and only Joey Lucchesi have given up more than one hit.

The season is drawing closer to the Memorial Day checkpoint. It’s been a rough start for the Mets, although there is still time to turn it around. They’ll have to make a number of adjustments in order to achieve significant improvement. Fixing their bases loaded shortcomings would be a great place to start.

Shai Kushner
Shai Kushnerhttps://mlbreport.com/
Shai Kushner, is a seasoned sports journalist and versatile professional deeply embedded in the world of baseball. Since 2014, Shai has been a trusted voice covering the New York Mets for BaseballDigest.com and GothamBaseball.com. Before his journalism career, he served as a video engineer for the Mets Baseball Operations department.


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