With the AAA well running dry and the division lead no more than a fading memory, the Mets needed help. Badly. On July 23, they made history as only the second team in the modern era (and the first that was actually trying to win games) to field a lineup with the number 4 and 5 spots occupied by sub-.180 batters. These are guys who shouldn’t even be on the bench in the majors, yet for the Mets, they were starters. The next day, Michael Cuddyer, who had been injured for the past month, finally went on the DL, opening a spot for, um, someone? When a trade failed to materialize, that someone became 2014 1st round draft pick Michael Conforto, the first position player in Mets history to be called up the year after being drafted and the 1,000th Mets player. With that bit of trivia out of the way, it was time for some new talent from outside the organization. Which was next on the agenda for that busy day…
Lefty LOOGys, Righty Bats
Ignoring the shortstop position, the Mets were in the market for two types of players coming into the 2015 season: right-handed corner outfielders and left-handed relief pitchers. The former came together quickly in the form of Michael Cuddyer and John Mayberry Jr., but the latter was looking a bit shaky as spring training entered its final week. Then, in the span of an afternoon, the Mets turned Matt den Dekker and Cory Mazzoni into lefties Jerry Blevins and Alex Torres. All three made the Opening Day roster, but early results are mixed. Gilmartin’s ability to get Freddie Freeman out though could be a big point in his favor.
Them’s the breaks
It didn’t take long for the season to start wearing down this team. While Daniel Murphy made it into the Opening Day lineup despite a spring training hamstring injury (which seemed to still be bothering him weeks later), a hamstring injury would put David Wright on the DL just a few games into the season. Eric Campbell should have been there to replace Wright, but the Mets were playing with a short bench and opted for Anthony Recker at third for one inning until Campbell could be recalled. Daniel Muno was then called up to make his major league debut as the backup to backup-turned-starter Campbell (and, inexplicably, as the ineffective DH in one game against the Yankees) before sanity took over and Daniel Murphy moved to third to make room for Dilson Herrera’s return. When fractures sent Jerry Blevins and Travis d’Arnaud to the DL, Kevin Plawecki and Hansel Robles were called up as replacements. Jack Leathersich also got a brief look in the pen before Johnny Monell was called up to back up the bench as the reserve roles remained in flux. And then the starting rotation got in on the action with Dillon Gee going on the DL with a groin injury, opening a door for Noah Syndergaard. In years past, the team might have tried to go day-to-day with a minor injury to a starter, but the combination of top MLB-ready pitching talent in AAA and a dwindling division lead made this a no-brainer.