The 2022 New York Mets have already surpassed expectations.
Not many expected the Mets to win more than 85 games. And like the cross-town Yankees, they have done it without being at full strength and, obviously, with holes in their roster.
They have done it without super human Jacob deGrom for more than half the season. They have had most of the talented starting rotation out for at least some period of time – Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco, Tylor Magill, and, most notably, Max Scherzer. The bullpen has been pieced together and, for the most part, survived significant bumps of ineffectiveness. And who could have imagined the emergence of Edwin Diaz to cult hero from being the beign of the fans’ frustration?
The off season acquisitions of Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha, and even Eduardo Escobar have proven to be valuable pickups by GM Billy Eppler.
Scherzer, when on the mound, has been as advertised, dominating in just about every start he has made.
I have always loved Marte since he first came up with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is a super athlete and does do many things well…and he plays hard. He has had some issues with minor injuries, but has been a real spark in the lineup and has also played a great right field after making the adjustment to the corner spot.
Canha has played much better than fans realize. He also is a hard-nosed player, and has, believe it or not, the highest on base percentage (OBP) on the team.
Escobar, while frustrating for a time during the middle of the season, has been Gold Glove caliber in the field, and has been clutch in some big situations. He is finally coming on offensively down the stretch.
On the other side of it, while Diaz has been almost perfect out of the bullpen, the rest of the relief corps has been unreliable at best. Adam Ottavino has had a resurgence and has been the most reliable. But anyone thinking Seth Lugo is still the Seth Lugo of 2016 and 2017 has been largely disappointed and frustrated. It’s like playing a game of Russian Roulette with the pen. But, then, most of Major League Baseball deals with the very same issue.
And there are the trade acquisitions – they have not exactly made anyone forget about Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and, of course, Yoenis Cespedes. Let’s just leave it at that.
New York Mets fans are still disappointed.
But the Mets are in first place. In September. They are in a pennant race. Unless there is a complete and utter collapse, they WILL be in the post season. Just like that other team in the Bronx.
In 1969 the Mets chased the Cubs all season long, finally overtook them, and won the team’s first World Series title. The fans loved it. Inn 1986 the Mets totally dominated during the season enroute to the team’s second and last World Series title. The fans loved that team, I think, even more.
Sometimes it’s better to be the hunter rather than the hunted. The Mets have been in first place since April. However they get to the post season, however the Yankees get to the postseason, it looks like the two are on a collision course to the next Subway Series.