National League teams are at a distinct disadvantage when they have to play in American League parks; they have to use a designated hitter, and most NL teams don’t have a big-time power hitting just sitting around in reserve. So they have to use a bench player as the extra hitter, as opposed to the AL team, which uses a regular. But for the first time in a long time, the Mets are actually set up all right to use a DH. Good timing, what with the World Series set to begin with as many as four games that call for a designated hitter.
In four of the Mets first five games in AL parks this season, Michael Cuddyer was the DH. That’s okay, but because of that, a role player had to start — John Mayberry twice, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Darrell Ceciliani once each. In the other game, Danny Muno was the DH. It is questionable whether those players even belong in the major leagues, let alone in a starting lineup. No wonder the Mets went 1-4 in those games.
The remaining five games came after the trade deadline. They used five different designated hitters — Daniel Murphy, Juan Uribe, Curtis Granderson, Cuddyer and Yoenis Cespedes. Replacing them in the field were the likes of Kelly Johnson, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares. Even though they only went 2-3 in those games, that is a far better cast of characters than earlier in the season.
Those same names will likely be in the mix to DH for the Mets in the World Series. Adding any of those bats will only strengthen the Mets lineup.
It is still ridiculous that they two leagues play by different rules. But this is where we are, and the Mets are in pretty good shape.