By Brad Kallet
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May is in the books. The Mets, at 23-27, are down but far from out. They have one more game before the calendar turns to June, against the Brewers on Wednesday evening at Citi Field, but we won’t wait to hand out our monthly studs and duds.
Reminder: Players who spent most, if not all, of the month on the disabled list — insert joke here — are not included.
Neil Walker, 2B: Walker was one of the streakiest players on the club in 2016, and it’s been more of the same through the early part of 2017. After hitting just .195 in April, Walker has helped keep the Mets alive in a Cespedes-less May. He’s hit .333 this month with four homers, nine doubles, 18 RBIs and 19 runs. He’s stepped it up in Yoenis’ absence, but if history is any indicator, he’ll fall back down to earth in June.
Jacob deGrom, SP: On a staff that supposedly had five potential aces on the roster on Opening Day, exactly one has actually pitched like one in May: deGrom. Always under the radar, the right-hander played stopper on multiple occasions and was a constant in a rotation that’s been a disaster all season long. With a 3-0 record this month, the 28-year-old was admittedly a bit shaky early in May, but he’s been spectacular in his last two starts: DeGrom threw seven shutout innings against the Angels on May 19 and allowed one earned run in 8 1/3 dominant innings in his next outing. He struck out at least nine batters on three different occasions and will take the ball Wednesday against Milwaukee. There’s no one who manager Terry Collins would rather give the ball to.
Paul Sewald, RP: What a godsend he’s been for one of the most ineffective bullpens we’ve seen in a long, long time. The 27-year-old rookie, who only made two appearances in April, has been as dependable as they come in May. The right-hander has pitched to a 1.50 ERA in 12 appearances, allowing just three earned runs on 16 hits — no homers — in 18 innings. He’s also impressed with his command and ability to miss bats, racking up 22 strikeouts to just three walks.
Also Productive: Michael Conforto (.316, 7 HR, 20 RBI, .427 OBP), Zack Wheeler (2-0, 2.74 ERA), Jerry Blevins (2.16 ERA, 4 HLDS, 12 SO/3 BB)
Jay Bruce, RF: After a very strong April (.292 with seven home runs), Bruce has had a rough go of it in May. He has still produced, belting five long balls and actually driving in more runs than he did the previous month (19 to 16), but the dependability has not been there — aside from Tuesday night’s 12th-inning heroics. The slugger has hit just .214 with a .288 OBP — compared to a .370 OBP in April — and he’s struck out nine more times.
Matt Harvey, SP: Harvey has looked better in his last two starts, beating the Padres and Pirates to go above .500 for the season (4-3), but May was largely a nightmare for the former All-Star. Off the field, there were the suspension and ensuing public humiliation, and on it, there were these numbers: 17 earned runs in 26 2/3 innings (5.74 ERA), six home runs allowed and just 23 strikeouts to a whopping 18 walks. He didn’t strike out more than six in a game in any of his five starts, illustrating how much trouble he had putting hitters away. Let’s hope his last two starts of May, rather than his first two, are indicative of what we can expect in June.
Neil Ramirez, RHP: He’s only made five appearances for the Mets dating back to May 20, but he still cracks the list for having been that bad. Ramirez kicked off his career in New York by allowing three runs in the ninth inning against the Angels without recording an out, and in 2 1/3 innings over five appearances, he has pitched to an 11.57 ERA with a blown save. He tossed his second scoreless inning of his brief Mets career Saturday, so maybe he’s settling down a bit. Considering his April ERA with the Giants was 8.71, though — San Francisco lost all nine games he pitched in before designating him for assignment — it’s more than likely just a matter of time before he gets sent down.
Also Struggling: Jose Reyes (.216, .280 OBP), Robert Gsellman (6.65 ERA, 31 H in 23 IP), Josh Smoker (1-1, 7.04 ERA, 9 H — including 2 HR — in 7 2/3 IP)
Brad Kallet is the managing editor of TENNIS.com and a frequent contributor to WFAN.com. Follow him on Twitter @brad_kallet