Joel Sherman

Joel Sherman


Time will tell if this is a bad Mets start or something worse

You are a Mets fan, so by history you have not only learned to expect the other shoe to drop, you already feel kicked by the first shoe. 

You are a Mets fan, so you instinctively see bad and expect worse — kind of like a tornado is forecasted and you brace for it to blow while carrying a typhoon. 

You are a Mets fan, so optimism on your scale is the lowest level of pessimism. 

So I assume the last thing you might want right now at 0-4 is to be told that every team in the majors last year had — at minimum — at least one four-game losing streak. Twenty-five of the 30 teams had at least a five-game losing streak. And the eventual World Series champion Rangers and NL champion Diamondbacks had, respectively, eight- and nine-game losing streaks and not early in the season. Both were on the verge of collapse and lost belief in August, yet were playing for a title in October. 

Does that do anything for you, Mets fans just beyond April Fool’s Day? 


Starling Marte and the Mets have struggled to an 0-4 start to the season. John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

How about this — the last time the Mets lost four games to open a season also was the last time they lost five games to open a season. They were led by a first-time manager who came to the position from the Yankees’ coaching staff. Willie Randolph’s 2005 Mets followed 0-5 with 6-0 and ultimately finished 83-79, which would have — if such a thing existed two decades ago — tied the Mets with the Marlins for the third wild card, but actually pushed the Mets into the tournament because they had won the season series. 

So can Carlos Mendoza, who considered hiring Randolph as his bench coach, offer the same kind of revival in his first year removed from being Aaron Boone’s consigliere? 

Still nothing, Mets fans? 

Mets outfielder Harrison Bader (44) reacts after striking out against the Detroit Tigers. John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Is it because what makes this all taste so much more sour than even usual is that the Mets’ poor start coincides with the strong breakout to the season by the Yankees? 

The Yankees were 5-0 through Monday and attempting to win their opening six games in a season for the first time since 1992, so long ago it was Buck Showalter’s first year as a major league manager. Those Yankees finished 10 games under .500, by the way. 

So do you see it, Mets fans? Do you appreciate just how long a season is? How distorting any singular week can be? 

I am not here to vouch that all will be fine with these Mets. I have no idea from the information provided thus far. For we have pixels, not a picture. 

Am I worried about Jeff McNeil and Luis Severino? Yes, because their sketchy starts to 2024 are a continuum of poor performance last season. 

But so is further growth in every way from Francisco Alvarez also a handoff from 2023. So is Sean Manaea carrying an uplifting second half with the 2023 Giants into an overpowering first start Monday night. 

Am I concerned about Kodai Senga’s health? Yes, because it is a shoulder capsule and the history of injuries to that body part is particularly worrisome for a pitcher and the Mets have slow-played his rehab in a way to scream what they will not say out loud about their level of concern. When will he be back (I’d be surprised now before mid-June) and at what level of velocity and effectiveness? And that the first man up to replace him, Tylor Megill, also is already down with his own shoulder ailment hardly falls into the great category. 

But Edwin Diaz looks like 2022 Edwin Diaz, which was the most overpowering reliever in the sport. And Starling Marte looks like, at minimum, a close replica to his 2022 self, which was hard to expect after a discouraging spring. 

Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo weren’t hitting, but does even the most standing under a ladder holding a black cat Mets fan think they won’t? And J.D. Martinez can, by rule, be on the roster as soon as this Sunday and probably will be no later than the following weekend when there will still be 24 weeks left on the schedule. 

Conversely, Jorge Lopez, Yohan Ramirez and Michael Tonkin are not Lindor and Nimmo. There is no benefit of the doubt that they just won’t be Phil Bickford, Jeff Brigham and Dominic Leone by other names. 

You can see what you want, Mets fans. The good. The bad. A mix of both. You can believe that 0-4 has been revealing or illusory. But what it probably is most is not enough to know — like it wasn’t for the 1992 Yankees or 2005 Mets. Every team will have 0-4 at some point this year — probably worse. The good ones will overcome. The bad ones won’t. Heck, the 1998 Yankees began 0-3 and 1-4 and does anyone remember how that ended? 

Edwin Diaz is one of the few bright spots for the Mets to open the season. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

I’m positive I am not watching the 1998 Yankees in the 2024 Mets. I’m far less certain if I am watching a bad start or a bad team.