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Wednesday, 21 August 2019 11:04

I'm Back Baby!

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On July 12 the Mets were 11 games under .500 at 40-51, 14 1/2 games out of 1st place and 8 teams to climb over for a wild card berth. Turns out it was their low watermark of the season. Five weeks later...they are 5 games OVER .500 at 65-60, nine games out of 1st place and ONE team in front of them for a wild card spot, two games behind. That's a 16-game swing!

They took care of the teams they NEEDED to put away… and now they are playing the meaningful games they wanted to play. The Mets had Citifield rocking like it hasn’t been since sometime in 2016, stealing two come from behind wins from the Nationals before finally seeing their winning streak come to an end in a way that has come to define the 2019 season. Then they headed to Atlanta to take on the 1st place Braves, and grabbed one of the three games before taking two of three from the lowly Royals in Kansas City. Now they are back home up against the Cleveland Indians who have had the same mid-season resurgence as the Mets.

 

Unlike a year ago, a horrible June didn’t completely bury the chances of a playoff berth. Just when everyone was discussing the best possible way to sell off the pieces, the Mets fortunes finally turned around.

But is it an illusion? Can the Mets sustain the winning ways?

The problem is that the Mets’ weaknesses are still weaknesses. And the most glaring is that Edwin Diaz-Robinson Cano trade has been a disaster. Cano is…was…a shell of himself offensively and was less of a shell of himself defensively. The fact that he is out long-term with an injury is not exactly hurting the team. In fact, it opened the door for Joe Panik who is a major upgrade defensively and, if he can get back to his baseball card offensively, will be a great find at second base. What does continue to hurt the team’s chances is Diaz. He has been absolutely brutal. Solving that problem is of the utmost priority if the Mets are really going to contend.

Their up the middle defense, even with the addition of Panik and the improvement of Amed Rosario at shortstop remains an issue as Wilson Ramos remains a liability behind the plate and Michael Conforto doesn’t seem comfortable in centerfield. Unfortunately, the Mets best offensive lineup has multiple players in positions that they are not exactly suited for. As long as the Mets continue to produce offensively, the defensive deficiencies will go unnoticed.

What really doesn’t go unnoticed are some of the managerial miscues made by Mickey Callaway. Last year it could be said that he was learning on the job, on the fly, especially coming from the American League. But he continues to make moves that are head-scratchers. The fact that the Mets hierarchy brought in Jim Riggleman to be his bench coach makes it even more incredible. Dumb and Dumber?

The injury bug continues to hit the Mets but it can’t be used as an excuse. Dare I say, “Look at the Yankees!”? No team has been hit worse with the injury bug to major players than the Yankees yet they are on target to win over 100 games this season without playing even .500 ball the rest of the way. But even the temporary loss of Jeff McNeil could very well hurt the momentum this team has built. As would be the case should the Mets be without J.D. Davis for any length of time.

So will the Mets score enough runs to not have to put Diaz into the game in save situations? Is that what the season comes down to? Will the team stay healthy? More importantly, will the team stay as hot as they have been since the All Star break? A team is never as bad as they are when they are at their worst, and never as good as they are when they are at their…well…you know.

Regardless, it has gotten exciting. It is exciting watching the energy from the young core of McNeil, Pete Alonso, Conforto, and Rosario. And it is exciting to see the starting staff of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz, along with newcomer Marcus Stroman, finally running on all cylinders.

What does it all mean? It means LFGM. Figure THAT out.

Read 1097 times Last modified on Thursday, 19 May 2022 22:08
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About New York Mets Mania

Alan Karmin is an award-winning journalist and author. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and spent most of his life growing up in the New Jersey suburbs. Alan's family were avid Brooklyn Dodgers fans and when the Dodgers moved west, the Mets became the team to root for. The Mets have always been a true focal point, Alan even wrote a term paper in high school to analyze what was wrong with the Mets. While at the University of Miami, Alan honed his craft covering the, gulp, Yankees during spring trainings in Fort Lauderdale for a local NBC affiliate, as well as the Associated Press and UPI. He broadcasted baseball games for the University of Miami, and spring training games for the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos. New York Mets Mania is a forum for Alan to write about his favorite team and for baseball fans to chime in and provide their thoughts and ideas about New York's Amazin' Mets.