NY Sports Day
Anthony Rushing

Rushing: Give These Mets Credit For Taking Care Of Business

 

These Mets look ready for prime time.

Yes, the 2019 New York Mets. The same team which couldn’t get out of their own way for most of the first half to this season.

You’ve heard of those Mets, right? That team from Queens, with all the self-inflicted issues ranging from ownership to the front office and trickling down to the dugout. Yes, those Mets.

The Mets, the team with the first-year general managerwhose previous job was as a player agent. And the team with the second-year manager who almost didn’t make it out of May because he looked more overwhelmed than he did last season.

Yep. Those Mets.

Because despite all the headaches the Mets subjectedtheir fans to, they’ve finally found a way to start winning ballgames.

Since the All-Star break, the Mets are 19-6. They’ve won 13 of their last 14 games and are riding high on a six-game winning streak. Their four-game series sweep of the Miami Marlins at Citi Field has re-energized the fan base.

A big win over the Marlins, coupled with ex-Met Jason Vargas and the Phillies losing to the Diamondbacks, has now positioned the Mets to within a half game of the second Wild Card spot in the National League.

Wild Card? That means playoffs.

Playoffs? That would mean, meaningful baseball will be played in Queens for the rest of August and, quite possibly, September.

That’s the type of business Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen had in mind for ownership when they hired him last winter. Fans, suddenly, have a reason again to believe.

When Van Wagenen decided not to move Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler at the trade deadline, after acquiring Marcus Stroman from Toronto, the logical next step was to make a run at the playoffs. With every win since, the laughter at such a notion has faded.

They had help along the way.

In their last 16 games, the Mets are 14-2. All those games were against teams with losing records. But before we write this off as a team which can’t be taken seriously, take this into consideration:

Since July 23, the Mets have leap-frogged five teams in the NL Wild Card standings. Two of those teams, St. Louis and San Francisco, are currently on five-game and four-game losing streaks respectively.

This hot streak the Mets are on was against teams either on their level or below it. But winning teamsbeat the opponents they’re supposed to. Every team has breaks in their schedules which are favorable to them. The games, however, still must be played and won.

The Mets are winning because it’s all beginning to come together. Their starting pitching, the bullpen, and the hitting have all stepped up.

Pete Alonso is swinging his way towards the National League Rookie of the Year award, but now he has help. Jeff McNeil is a hitting machine and Michael Confortohas his home run swing going. Wilson Ramos has elevated his play with the bat and is one of the game’s best offensive catchers.

But the strength of the Mets was always supposed to be it’s starting pitching. It took awhile but the pitching has come together.

Syndergaard, Wheeler, with Jacob deGrom and Stroman, are going to give opponents plenty to think about. Steven Matz is arguably the best fifth starter in baseball. This is now the formidable rotation everyone’s been waiting to see.

The Mets still have their work cut out for them. The soft part of the schedule, the favorable part, is done.What’s on deck is a home weekend series against the NL Wild Card leaders, the Washington Nationals. Next week, the Mets will head to Atlanta and face the NL East division-leading Braves.

Two weeks ago, the thought of these games meaning anything in August for the Mets was a fading dream. Sixteen games, with a 14-2 record, later – it’s okay again for fans to dream again.

For all the losing on and off the field the Mets endured in the first half of the season, winning cures all.

Credit them for taking care of the business necessary to make these upcoming games meaningful for themselves and their fans.


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