Meet the Mets. Greet the Mets. Step right up and greet the new Mets. The New York Mets are on a roll.
On Tuesday night, they beat their division rival the Atlanta Braves for their ninth consecutive win, improving to 11-3; the best record in the National League, tied for the best record in the majors, and matching their best start in franchise history.
The only other time the Mets went 11-3 to start the season was in 1986 when the Mets won the World Series. This has been a long time coming for the organization. The team has not had a winning record since 2008 and not made a playoff appearance since 2006, when they lost in game seven of the National League Championship Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.
After four years of rebuilding, following two disaster seasons, the Mets look like playoff contenders. What’s even more surprising is the Mets have accomplished all this despite injuries to top players. Star third baseman David Wright went on the 15-day disabled list after he strained his right hamstring sliding into second base against the Philadelphia Phillies last Tuesday.
Catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who leads the team and all NL catchers in extra base hits and RBI’s with 11, suffered a broken bone in his hand after being hit by a pitch by Miami Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos Sunday afternoon.
Lefty reliever Jerry Blevins, who had not allowed a batter to reach base so far in the season, suffered a broken left forearm in the top half of the inning after being struck by a comebacker by second baseman Dee Gordon (Blevins still recorded the out).
So what is the cause behind this resurgence? Both the offense and pitching have been stellar. The offense ranks third in the National League in both runs scored and RBIs, fourth in on base percentage, fifth in batting average, and sixth in OPS. Right fielder Curtis Granderson leads all of baseball in walks, first baseman Lucas Duda is tied for third in doubles with seven, one behind Dodgers first baseman Adrien Gonzalez and Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
The team is third in the National League in runs scored with 64, third in RBIs with 62, fourth in on base percentage with .329, and fifth in batting average with .252.
The pitching has been equally fantastic. Ace Matt Harvey and wily veteran Bartolo Colon lead the team in wins and are tied for the league lead with three.
Harvey is tied for seventh in strikeouts with 24, while only walking one batter. The reigning National League Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom is eighth in the majors with an ERA at .93, Colon is ninth in WHIP with .80.
The entire pitching staff is second in strikeout to walk ratio, fanning 118 batters and walking just 27. The bullpen has been able to shut the door as well, after closer Jenrry Mejia was suspended for half the season for performance enhancing drugs, Jeurys Familia has stepped in and filled the role magnificently. Familia is tied for the league lead with six saves so far this season.
Unlike previous seasons when the Mets would rely on journeyman placeholders like catcher Taylor Teagarden, infielder Omar Quintanilla, starting pitcher Shaun Marcum, and reliever Frank Francisco, the depth the Mets have built up over the past four years is finally coming through.
They called up top hitting prospect catcher Kevin Plawecki to replace Travis d’Arnaud, young flamethrower Hansel Robles to take Blevins’ spot in the bullpen. That’s not even mentioning the big organizational depth the Mets have at starting pitcher like top pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz waiting in the wings in AAA Las Vegas.
The Mets are finally back and they’re ready to take back New York.