Three weeks into the season, the most stunning statistic so far is this: Across Major League Baseball, the combined batting average of all 30 teams entering Wednesday’s games was .235. If that sounds bad, it should: 52 years ago, in 1968, the 20 big-league clubs hit a combined .237.
You may recall: 1968 has been known forever as the “Year of the Pitcher.” Denny McLain won 31. Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA. Don Drysdale set a record by stringing together 58 ²/₃ scoreless innings. Luis Tiant had a 1.60 ERA and an absurd 0.871 WHIP and was barely noticed. Carl Yastrzemski won a batting title hitting .301.
And baseball lost its mind.
It lowered the mound. Whispers about introducing a designated hitter rule became shouts. The sport declared it would never go hungry again, and mostly it hasn’t, but in this odd baseball year the pitchers started way ahead of the hitters and so far they’ve stayed that way. It feels like offensive-minded teams will thrive this year.
The Mets were supposed to be one of them, and there were supposed to be a lot of nights that looked like Wednesday night, when they piled up 11 runs on the Nationals, when they had a couple of innings of…