It was a messed up, embarrassing moment, no doubt, but batting out of order is the least of this team's concerns right now.
In addition to mishandling the lineup card Wednesday afternoon, the Mets lost their eighth game in nine tries, plus lost their series to the Reds, who entered it with just eight wins. Worse, Mickey Callaway's beleaguered and banged up squad scored just three runs during the 24 innings played in Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, which is notorious for being a big-time hitters park.
It's hard to believe the Mets were once 11-1, but that is a fading memory at this point. It's a shame, too, because this season started with a feeling of potential greatness. It felt like last year might actually have been a hiccup wedged between postseason play. Instead, five weeks in to the season, I'm looking at a fourth-place team.
To make matters worse, just in case you were hoping for a heel turn back toward winning, remember that Todd Frazier is now on the disabled list with Anthony Swarzak, Jacob deGrom is dealing with an elbow issue and expected to come off the DL to pitch on Sunday, Noah Syndergaard has called his performance 'mediocre,' Jason Vargas has a 13.86 ERA, Michael Conforto has zero punch to his swing, Amed Rosario has been a non-factor since Opening Day, Jay Bruce is on paternity leave, the bullpen is out of sync, and Yoenis Cespedes has leg trouble again.
Man, oh, man! What happened to our salt and pepper shakers?
I know 'it's early,' there are still 127 games to play and, 'anything can happen.' Again, I point to 2015, when the Mets started 15-5 and dropped below .500 by late June before acquiring Cespedes, catching fire and getting to the World Series. Of course, I can also point to last year when, on this date, the Mets were 16-16 and I was trying to convince myself things could turn around. Little did I know that in fewer than two months, half the team would be injured, several veterans would soon be traded for pitching prospects, and the team would lose 92 games.
Sandy Alderson is probably taking the long view, as usual, but I'd be shocked to learn he is happy with how things have played out to date, especially as it pertains to his top offseason acquisitions.
The good news is that Adrian Gonzalez is on pace to hit 24 home runs, Zack Wheeler just tossed one of the best games of his life, I hear the pitchers are thrilled to have Devin Mesoraco behind the plate, and we're finally going to get to see Luis Guillorme, who is the best defense infielder this team has seen since the late 90s.
Unfortunately, the above is not enough...
Alderson can promote minor leaguers and hustle to trade for reinforcements, but this team is going no place without meaningful contributions from Cespedes, Bruce, Conforto, Syndergaard, and the entire bullpen.
Because, let's be honest, even if the Mets did not flub Wednesday's batting order, given how they've been hitting, what are the chances Cabrera (batting second) was going to reach base and be driven in to give the Mets an early lead? More than that, is the bullpen pitching in a way that gives you confidence it could have protected that lead?
I'm sure all of baseball is having a grand-old time this morning mocking the Mets and their coaching staff for Tuesday's lineup snafu. However, you and I know that the lineup's problem isn't where guys are hitting, it's who is hitting... or, I should say, who isn't hitting. And, until the team's top hitters return to hitting, winning will continue to be a challenge.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!