|The last time the Mets were in the World Series was in 2000 when they were defeated by the Yankees in the Subway Series. Since 2000 the Mets fans have suffered. In fact, their only playoff appearance since 2000 was in 2006. In the 2006 playoffs they beat the Dodgers but then lost to the Cardinals. Thus 2006 marked the last time the Yankees and Mets both made the playoffs. Can 2015 be the year when both teams make the playoffs again?
The Washington Nationals were heavy pre-season favorites to win the NL East this year. However, the Nationals got off to a slow start and at the end of April trailed the Mets by as many as eight games. But going into the All-Star break the Nationals won 14 of 20 games and pulled ahead of the Mets by two games.
General Manager Sandy Alderson, like all Mets fans, realized the Mets with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, John Niese, Steven Matz and the ageless Bartolo Colon sported one of the best starting rotations. Unfortunately, they also had one of the worst offenses. Fielding constant criticism from Mets fans for not upgrading the offense, Alderson went into trade action eight days before the trading deadline. First he acquired by way of trade with Atlanta Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. Uribe a 15 year veteran can play second base, third base, or shortstop. He was batting .285 in 46 games with Atlanta. Johnson is a 10 year veteran who can play second base, third base and left field. This year in 62 games with Atlanta he was batting .275 with 9 home runs. Both these players are winning veterans. At the same time he promoted outfielder Michael Conforto to the parent club.
However, the New York Mets were still missing the big bat. Then just minutes before baseball’s non-waivers trade deadline the Mets silenced their critics with the acquisition from the Detroit Tigers of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes,is a power-hitting strong-armed outfielder. At the time of the trade Cespedes had hit 18 home runs driving in 61 runs for the Tigers with a career high .506 slugging percentage..Cespedes hit a career-high 26 home runs in just 135 games in 2013 for the Athletics. The combination of great starting pitching with strong closing pitching (Familia, Parnell and newly acquired Tyler Clippard) and a resurgence in hitting with the help of the newcomers has led the Mets to an 8-2 record over their last 10 games and a comfortable 4.5 game lead over the sagging Nationals (4-6 over their last 10 games).
Hats off also to the Mets manager Terry Collins. Every day the Mets seem to have a different starting lineup. Murphy can play second, third and first. Johnson and Uribe can play either second or third. Adding Tejeda and Flores to the mix, Collins can go with any of these players in the infield, He also has the same flexibility in the outfield with Granderson, Conforto, Cuddyer, Cespedes, Lagares and Johnson. Allowing all these players to rotate keeps them from becoming rusty and at the same time keeps them well-rested. This allows him to either go with the strongest offensive or the strongest defensive players depending on the score and inning of the game. He also is using his two catchers’ d’Arnaud and Plawecki effectively by rotating them. Since all these players are active it also supplies him with capable pinch-hitters. Every player on the 25-man roster is being used and contributing to the resurgence of the Mets. Clearly, the expected return of David Wright will reignite the offense further.
Of course loyal Mets fans always expect the worst to happen. Be optimistic Mets fans the talent is there for the Mets to win the NL East and maybe due to their phenomenal pitching make it to the World Series.
Going into the weekend series of Aug. 14-16, The Mets, sporting a seven game winning streak, are home against the tough Pirates. Let’s see how the rest of the season plays out.