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.