Wednesday, October 4 2023
Brett Baty and Eduardo Escobar

Here are five things to watch when the Mets and Athletics play a three-game series in Oakland starting on Friday…

I argued before the season that Baty should be the regular third baseman out of the gate, and nothing has happened over the first 13 games to change my opinion.

Escobar has been scuffling badly, slashing a paltry .103/.143/.205 in 43 plate appearances, while often having at-bats that aren’t very competitive.

On Wednesday, Escobar laid down a sacrifice bunt late in the game to set things up for light-hitting Tomas Nido. That was either a lack of confidence from the dugout (if they called the bunt) or from Escobar (if he did it on his own).

Meanwhile, Baty has been crushing the ball for Triple-A Syracuse, hitting .333 with three homers, a .455 OBP, and 1.196 OPS.

If things continue to trend in the direction they’ve been going for both Escobar and Baty, it seems close to certain that Baty will be up by the time the Mets return home on April 25.

How the Mets are handling Alvarez is downright bizarre.

He has played only two games since being called up as he’s basically been relegated to a bit player, while Nido — a defense-first backup who has been close to an automatic out — starts behind the plate most days.

Alvarez did not look great at the plate the last time he started (on Tuesday against the San Diego Padres), but that’s not surprising since he’s adjusting to his first real taste of the majors while barely being allowed to play.

The only way the Mets are going to see what they have in Alvarez offensively and defensively — and the only way he’ll develop — is if he plays regularly. If they’re not going to give him that chance now, he should be sent back to the minors.

The alarm bells were ringing about Scherzer after his first two starts of the season, though they shouldn’t have been.

In those starts, Scherzer was touched up in the sixth inning both times after being mostly dominant before that. Maybe it was him adjusting to the pitch clock, or something else.

Either way, Scherzer bounced back against the Padres, firing five scoreless innings while allowing just one hit and striking out six.

New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer delivers a pitch during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Citi FieldNew York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer delivers a pitch during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field

New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer delivers a pitch during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the talk after that game was about Scherzer not going long enough and about his fastball velocity. But his velocity against San Diego in what was his third start of 2023 was nearly identical to what it was in his third start of the 2022 season.

Against the Athletics, Scherzer — who said after his most recent start that he was never broken and simply had to work on some things — should be able to continue trending in the right direction.

While Scherzer is not a concern, Carrasco is.

Over his first two starts, Carrasco has allowed 11 runs in 8.2 innings, failing to escape the fourth inning both times.

His velocity has been down, he’s been working behind in the count, and he’s been getting hit very hard.

Making this more of a concern is the way Carrasco’s last six weeks of the 2022 season went, when he had an ERA near 5.00 and failed to provide much length pretty much every time he took the ball.

If Carrasco can’t right the ship against the A’s, his rotation spot could be in jeopardy when Justin Verlander returns — which could be at the start of the Mets’ next homestand.

The A’s are very, very bad

The Athletics entered play on Thursday with a record of 3-9, but that doesn’t adequately tell the tale of how bad they’ve been.

The 44 runs the A’s scored over their first 12 games were tied with the Kansas City Royals for the third-fewest in baseball.

The 93 runs the A’s allowed over their first 12 games were by far the most in baseball — 16 runs clear of the Chicago White Sox, who had allowed the second-most runs.

Add that up and you get a -49 run differential for Oakland — the worst in the majors.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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