Going into Tuesday night’s game against the Nationals, the New York Mets had a record of 76-68 and they were 0.5 games ahead of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot. The team is giving its fans what they crave: Meaningful games in September. Despite injuries to David Wright, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker and Matt Harvey, the Mets are right in the thick of things and have received important contributions from several young players.
The Mets’ pitching staff has been decimated by injuries. The only two starting pitchers who have remained healthy are 43-year-old Bartolo Colon and 24-year-old Noah Syndergaard. The two are tied for the team lead with 13 wins. Colon uses his pinpoint control to induce weak contact and Syndergaard averages 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings with his nasty fastball/slider combination. The Mets have also gotten quality starts from rookies Robert Gsellman (2-1 record) and Seth Lugo (4-2). Both pitchers have spent most of the year in the Minors, but have contributed in important spots down the stretch.
Despite this, at times the offense continues to struggle. Manager Terry Collins has lived and died by the long ball all season. However, Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera have provided a great spark at the top of the lineup. Reyes has played in 44 games and has 52 hits. Cabrera has 19 home runs and 24 doubles in 454 at-bats. If these two “table-setters” continue to get on base, it will make things much easier for power hitters like Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce. The Mets are currently 27th out of 30 teams in runs scored, but New York will move up on that list if their bats stay hot.
Over the past three weeks, the Mets have shown heart, desire and have played with a sense of urgency for the first time all year. If starters Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz can come back quickly and pitch well, the Mets will have one of the deepest, most talented rotations in the Majors and could challenge for the National League pennant in the postseason.
For more from Monte Perez, follow The Sports Whisperer on Twitter @Montetjwitter11.
Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Scott Clark / ESPN Images