Mets rebounding to form
Written By: Jared Diamond
June 22, 2015
After a glorious month of April in which the Mets had an 11 game winning streak and a 15-8 record, we all thought 2015 could mark the beginning of a Mets Dynasty. However, as expected, the Mets have returned to their losing ways, as they have lost five in a row and are in risk of dropping below .500. 2015 has been an absolute rollercoaster in the standings for the Amazin’s, and not necessarily because of the club itself. Outside of April the team has sucked, but luckily for the team, the division has followed trend.
The NL East has been the worst division in baseball.
The Phillies, are arguably the most miserable team in baseball; the Marlins, once a heavy favorite for second place, have underperformed but are now looming on the horizon; the Braves, have about lived up to expectations, and hold an even .500 winning percentage but are getting better everyday; the Nationals, once a heavy favorite to be world champions have had a mediocre season and hold a record, of just four games over .500. The average pessimistic Mets fan would say that the club missed out on their opportunity to capitalize on the Nats’ early rough patch, and should be up by at least five games. And it may be too late, the Nationals have kicked it into high gear, fresh off of a no-hitter from their ace Max Scherzer, and winners of three in a row. BUT right now the surging Nationals only lead the struggling Mets by a mere game and a half! The problem for the Mets is that the ever improving Braves (who just swept the Mets) and Marlins are right there with them, and the Nationals seems to be at a point where they will not be looking back at their NL East opponents. It is clear that winning the NL East will be tough for the Metropolitans. Then how about the wild card, right? That seems to be daunting too. Right now the wild card is a tough race between six qualified teams. Let's face it, the Cardinals will not be slowing down and the Pirates and Cubs seem to have a definite edge on the Mets for the wild card, evident by match ups between the two clubs and their current records.
The best shot for the Mets to make the postseason (and to make it past the brutal one game wild card game) is to win the NL East. “But how can a team like the New York Mets pull of a divisional title?,” one might ask. The Mets do have their assets. You don’t have to be a baseball fanatic to know the Mets have great starting pitching. How would you like to face Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz in the postseason (Matz is currently posting an era of 2.11 in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League)? Starting pitching is not by any means where the Mets need help. The Mets offense (and defense) however is worse than atrocious. They are 13th in the National League in runs and last in hits, yet somehow were in first place just days ago. The Mets record when they score over five runs a game is among the best in the league. Over the last five games losses, the Mets have scored just six runs total... the club is at a breaking point now and must either somehow add offense... or give up on a season halfway through when only a game and a half out of first place.
But what pieces can the Mets add to improve the offense (which clearly sucks), defense (which has also been horrible), and bullpen (which needs help although the closer Familia may be the team’s most valuable player)? There is no definite solution to solving the Mets mess, overhauling the team in the middle of a season would be nearly impossible.
Only speculations and questions arise when attempting to steer the season back in the right direction. Could first round pick, left fielder, Michael Conforto who is tearing up Double A this season make an impact at the Major League Level? Could middle infielder Matt Reynolds who is having a pretty good year at AAA Las Vegas provide offensive and defensive stability? What can the Mets get in return for Jon Niese and Dillon Gee? Is Ben Zobrist’s defensive flexibility worth pursuing? Would the Padres be willing to trade Justin Upton? What would it take to get Aroldis Chapman? All of these questions are impossible to answer, but in order to turn the corner on the club's skid the Mets need to be creative and try their luck.
Injuries have plagued the team tremendously, but a contender should have the flexibility to bounce back without some of their top stars. David Wright has only played eight games this year and was off to a hot start, but there is no realistic timetable on his return; Daniel Murphy, inarguably the best contact hitter on the club was in the middle of a hot stretch when he injured his quad, but he should come back by the weekend, hopefully with a hot hand; d’Arnaud, an irreplaceable bat, was out for months with a broken forearm bone and is now on the 15 Day DL yet injured again with “elbow tightness”; a promising left handed reliever Jerry Blevins fractured his left forearm on a comebacker in April and won’t be back for months; and lastly, Zack Wheeler won’t be back until around this time next year after having Tommy John surgery. Phewwwww…. Certainly the team would be different with full health but since the Mets are in a position of contention right now, so NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT. This is the year we have all been waiting for, it's time to go for it all. Even just slight improvements to the offense, defense, and bullpen, have the potential to light a fire and get the Mets back into their hot April form.