MLBits: Scuffling Mets, Royals Rebuild Stalled, Spin Rates Climbing, Roberto Clemente Day, J-Rod Pads His ROTY Case, More

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MLBits: Scuffling Mets, Royals Rebuild Stalled, Spin Rates Climbing, Roberto Clemente Day, J-Rod Pads His ROTY Case, More

Chicago Cubs

The Mets have picked the wrong time to start losing games to bad teams, and after getting swept by the Cubs this week, they’re hanging onto the NL East lead by the skin of their teeth …

Scuffling Mets Swept By Cubs

After being swept by the Cubs at Citi Field this week, the Mets’ lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East is down to just a half-game. The sweep marked the first time New York has been swept in a three-game series this season, and it included losses in which Chris Bassitt and Jacob deGrom took the ball for Buck Showalter’s Metropolitans.

The Mets are 6-7 in September and have just one win against a team with a .500 or better record, picking the worst time of the season to fall into a slump.

“We are in a situation where we all want to get it done, desperately,” Francisco Lindor said, per The Athletic. “We just haven’t come through. I come up with people on base, I hit into a double play. I come up with people on base, I strike out. I come up with people on base, I get one single. The consistency that was there early in the year, I’m not seeing the past couple of days. That’s just baseball.”

New York opens a series with the Pirates tonight, so they’ll have a prime opportunity to bust out of their slump. Atlanta meanwhile has a weekend tilt with the red-hot Philadelphia Phillies, giving the Mets faithful hope that New York can pad its lead in the NL East a bit this weekend.

MLB Spin Rates Nearing Pre-Enforcement Numbers

When MLB made an effort to strictly enforce a pre-existing rule about using foreign substances to doctor the ball, specifically concerning the use of ‘Spider Tack,’ we saw a drastic dip in spin from pitchers across the game, helping balance the playing field.

The enforcement methods like the inspection of hats, belts, gloves, and hands when pitchers come off the field still exist, but we’re seeing spin numbers across baseball creep back to their previous norms.

As Eno Sarris writes in his recent story at The Athletic, spin is returning to levels only seen previous to the MLB crackdown:

But it looks like pitchers have found something clear and wipeable that gives them more of a boost than sunscreen and rosin, because spin rate is back up in baseball. Almost back to where it was before enforcement started.

More from Sarris on the rising spin rates across baseball and what MLB might do about it:

What’s Stalling the Royals’ Rebuild?

Despite the best efforts of rookie infielder Bobby Witt Jr. this season, the Kansas City Royals find themselves in a spot far below their expectations for the point in their rebuild which they’re presently at.

Witt Jr. has put together a Rookie of the Year caliber season. But that’s about it for the Royals, who are in the cellar of baseball’s most lackluster division, the AL Central. As a White Sox fan and close AL Central observer because of such, I’ve got a pretty good handle on the Royals from an organizational standpoint. I said before the season that Kansas City would be more of a thorn in Chicago’s rear than the Guardians or Twins would long-term. I was wrong on multiple levels.

But why has Kansas City’s rebuild failed to this point? Andy McCullough of The Athletic opines that the arms they invested in at the onset of the rebuild are a leading culprit. In 2018 the Royals took four collegiate pitchers — Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, and Kris Bubic — in the top 40 picks of the 2018 draft.

All four reached the majors within three years, but none have come close to the lofty expectations the Royals had for them. Brady Singer has been the best of the bunch this season, and that’s simply because he’s the only one with an ERA under 5.00.

McCullough takes you deeper into the Royals conundrum with some help from Rustin Dodd and Alec Lewis:

Odds and Ends

  • Julio Rodríguez continues to bolster his case for the American League Rookie of the Year by becoming the third true rookie to record a 25-25 season. While J-Rod’s case is pretty strong, Bobby Witt Jr., Adley Rutschman, and Steven Kwan have also built pretty impressive resumes, making that one of the more intriguing award races to watch.
  • Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina made start No. 325 as battery mates on Wednesday afternoon when the Cardinals hosted the Milwaukee Brewers. Wainwright and Molina have done so more than any other duo in baseball history.
  • Might we see two Triple Crowns this season? Paul Goldschmidt (NL) and Aaron Judge (AL) are both flirting with the possibility, with just weeks remaining in the regular season.
  • Major League Baseball will celebrate the life and legacy of Roberto Clemente league-wide today. Clemente played 18 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates and collected 3,000 hits, among a myriad of other impressive achievements both on and off the field.
  • Every home run from Wednesday is right here for your viewing pleasure!
  • You probably remember the story of Drew Robinson that Jeff Passan penned in February 2021. Robinson is traveling the country this month to inspire people as part of his efforts to bring awareness to Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.


Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.