The Mets climb back to relevance is fast becoming an intriguing story throughout baseball. You don’t want to miss this as it unfolds…
Today, the Mets are pummeling the Pittsburg Pirates. They’re putting up crooked numbers in the first and third innings. Noah Syndergaard is spinning that slider, but fans tuned in would usually have cause to wonder – when is the other shoe going to drop? Not for these Mets, though. It’s a new day and a new season. (Final Score Mets 13 Pirates 2 – Video Recap Below – Here’s your box score)
There are savages in Queens too.
Mickey Callaway‘s message to his players that we have a start somewhere is finally getting traction. How it happened remains one of those mysteries we only find in baseball.
We only know what the Mets record tells us. In the first half, the team was 40-50, surrounded by controversy and disappointment. Since the All-Star Break, the Mets are 15-6, and with the victory today they’ll be one game shy of the .500 mark, the traditional jumping-off point for teams to seriously make a run for the playoffs.
The most important characteristic of these NEW York Mets is what is not going well. Edwin Diaz continues to flop in his New York debut, and Jeurys Familia has to walk the other way when he sees Brodie Van Wagenen coming.
But here’s Seth Lugo earning the NL Relief Pitcher of the Month for July and Robert Gsellman overcoming early-season failure to fortify a significant kink in the Mets armor over the first half, an absent bullpen.
Robinson Cano perfected his first half disappearing act over the first half, despite being installed in the clean-up position in the Mets lineup. A left hamstring strain suffered today, likely to keep Cano out for several weeks, may yet turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the team.
Asdrubal Cabrera has cleared waivers and will become a free agent in the next few days is a possible replacement for Cano. The Giants might also change their mind, releasing Joe Panik, a native of Hopewell Junction, New York.
The Mets And The Next Man Up (Too)
But it’s still about the welcome surprises we are witnessing that has changed everything. Amed Rosario, overflowing with confidence thanks to mentoring received from Cano, is playing stellar defense at shortstop and his offensive numbers are now robust.
Jeff McNeil maintains his march to a batting title while Todd Frazier gives the Mets a veteran presence and versatility in the infield. Marcus Stroman adds a new dimension to the Mets culture as well as on the mound. And J.D. Davis continues his assault on NL pitching, including a two-run home run today (11) and two two-out RBI at-bats.
Put all this together, and you don’t even notice Pete Alonso‘s batting average slide since the All-Star break (given a day off today). Nor, the absence of Dominic Smith. Or the prolonged return of Brandon Nimmo. Good teams pick each other up when things go wrong. The Mets no longer lament their season, they’re grabbing it to own themselves.
The climb remains steep with five teams to leap over before the Mets qualify to play in October as a Wild Card team. But the pressure is off. The team has had a seven-game win streak, proving they are capable of making a complete turn through the rotation. Do it once, and you can do again.
The Mets are crushing the teams they are supposed to defeat, no small matter earlier in the season. Coming up are the Braves and Nationals, their biggest test of the season. The team’s schedule in August is no gimme. One game at a time, though. Easier said than done? Of course.
But unlike earlier in the season, this is not a wish built on hopes and dreams. These Mets require paying attention to from here on in. Not only are they relevant now, but they are also playing a winning brand of baseball.