(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
The Mets’ 2015 season has been an absolute thrill ride so far, kind of like that ride their minor-league team in Brooklyn is named after.
Steven Matz’s electric debut was the latest electric moment of the season. It was a thrill for the fact that he did it with his arm, as he dominated the Cincinnati Reds for 7 2.3 innings, allowing just two runs on 5 hits, and his bat, notching three hits and 4 RBIs, he most for any Met in his debut.
This is in the midst of Noah Syndergaard still being the hot, new thing in town and impressing with each outing. Syndergaard made his debut in mid-May, and his record is 3-4, but like with all their pitchers, it is not indicative. He has proven to be a power pitcher with 53 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings, and allowed just 21 earned runs on 54 hits.
The Mets’ season began with the thrill of that 11-game winning streak in April and the excitement around the return of Matt Harvey and how Jacob deGrom would be after his Rookie of the Year season.
Harvey has had his ups and downs, but at just about the halfway point of the season, he is 7-5 with an superb 3.08 ERA. He has 96 strikeouts in 99 innings and has allowed just 34 runs on 84 hits in 99 1/3 innings.
DeGrom has been unbelievable for the Mets, continuing to dominate and making his case to be the ace of the staff. He has a very impressive 2.15 ERA and an 8-5 record this season.
The Mets were 13-3 on April 23rd, the culmination of the 11-game winning streak and they have struggled since then. The Mets lost two of three to the Yankees that weekend. They followed that up by losing two of three to the Marlins in Miami and then three of four to the Nationals at home, which included two 1-0 defeats.
In mid-May, the Mets traveled to Wrigley Field, and got swept by the Cubs. They returned to Citi Field on Friday, May 15th and lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 7-0. They showed their customary resiliency by clobbering the Brewers the next day 14-0 and winning two of three. St. Louis came into Citi Field next, and the Mets opened the series by winning a 14-inning classic, and after losing the next two games, DeGrom shut out the Cardinals to gain them a split.
They then got into a stretch where they would win one, lose one, yet they were still over .500, at 31-27 when the San Francisco Giants came in on June 9th. Chris Heston no-hit the Mets in the opener of that series, and the Giants lit up Matt Harvey the next night on their way to an 8-5 win. The Mets responded by winning the finale of the series on a Michael Cuddyer walk-off hit.
The Atlanta Braves, who have exceeded expectations, were in next, and they split the first two games. In the finale, on Sunday, June 14th, Dillon Gee made what would be his last start for the Mets and he staked the Braves to an 8-3 edge. In a game they likely would have lost the past few years, the Mets stormed back and won 10-8. They followed that up with a classic against the Blue Jays, as they came back in the 11th inning to win 4-3 on a Wilmer Flores walk-off hit. Matt Harvey dominated the Jays the next night, and the Mets improved to 36-30.
The biggest gut-check of the Mets’ season followed as they hit the road, and lost seven in a row, including two to the Blue Jays, a sweep in Atlanta, and the first two of a series to the Brewers in Milwaukee that left the Meta at 36-37.
In what could be looked at as a turning point, on June 25th, DeGrom went 8 innings and the Mets beat the Brewers 2-0. They followed this up with a sweep of the Reds, which featured a gem form Syndergaard and the Matz debut on Sunday.
It has been compelling to watch and they have become the story of New York because of it. While they keep bringing up one young stud pitcher after another, the Yankees have become rather dull, as the main themes has been whether Masahiro Tanaka can avoid Tommy John surgery and the records Alex Rodriguez continues to set and how legitimate they are.
The Mets are in the thick of the race for the National League East and should stay in the race until the end because of the transformation from the “old guard” of Dillon Gee and Jon Niese to Harvey, DeGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz is complete.
A big test is coming up, starting with the series with the Cubs that began Tuesday night at Citi Field, and continues on Friday when the Mets hit the West Coast to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.
Mets Manager Terry Collins said on Tuesday of the test that west coast trip will be, “The one thing that’s gonna be mentioned today in our scout meetings after BP’s over, you can’t look ahead. We know what we’re facing. Certainly, Cubs tonight, they’re in a race, you go on the road, anytime you go on the west coast is not easy, plus you got the Dodgers, we got Kershaw, Greinke, we got Cain, Hudson, and Heston, who no-hit us (referring to the Giants pitchers the Mets will face). It’s the big leagues, and that’s what it’s supposed to be. If you’re gonna win, you gotta play good teams, you’ve got to beat the good teams and we’ve gotta play very, very well. We have not played well on the road, and when we come out of the break, we’ve got the Cardinals and Nationals, so you look we’ve got 12 road games against teams in first place, or second place, the Giants are right there. We know you can’t look past tonight, can’t worry about Clayton Kershaw Friday night, we better worry about Kyle Hendricks tonight.”