The Yankees beat the Mets on two swings of the bat on Saturday — a three-run home run and a solo shot, which accounted for all of the Yankees runs in a 4-3 win. It shows just how important home runs are, and why the Mets need to improve in that area.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis did hit a solo homer, but to score the other two runs the Mets had to string together hits, walks, ground outs and errors. It’s so much easier to just hit a home run to get runs across.
Right now the Mets have only three players in their regular lineup who are threats to hit a home run every time up — David Wright, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis.
In contrast, the Yankees have one in almost every slot. Of course they lead baseball in homers with 108.
In all of baseball only five teams have hit fewer home runs than the Mets 56. Three of them (Padres, Twins, Royals) are among the worst teams in the game.
Now certainly a team can win without hitting home runs — the first place Dodgers and the Wild Card-leading Giants are the other teams with fewer homers than the Mets, and the Mets themselves are six games over .500 — but it just makes scoring runs that much more difficult. And when a team needs a a run to tie or win a game, would they rather do it with one swing or with a series of hits?
Obviously a home run is preferable. It is unlikely that help will be on the way this season, unless Jason Bay’s latest concussion scrambles his brain enough to figure out how to hit with power again. I expect that getting a slugger would be the first order of business in the off-season. In the meantime, the Mets will continue to scrape together runs and hope that the starting pitching remains solid in order for those few runs to hold up.