End of May with a baseball season that has reached the quarter poll and percentages are in the Mets favor with the largest division lead in franchise history. Monday night at Citi Field they won a season high fourth straight ballgame over the Nationals 13-5.
And those percentages favor the Mets winning their first division title since 2006. Since the wild card era first place teams on Memorial Day have won their division 58 percent of the time.
Of course, a 9 and a ½ game lead over the second place and defending champion Atlanta Braves is impressive. Of course, also, the Mets have proved they are a good team. Perhaps they are a great team. Then again, as the players say, there is a long way to go.
But what manager Buck Showalter witnessed again Monday night, something he is accustomed to seeing, a Mets team that will beat you in many ways. Up and down the lineup, whether it be the bottom or top of the order, the Mets score runs.
They run the bases well. They play good defense up the middle, in the outfield. Without Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Tylor Megill in the rotation, they are getting depth from Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, and Chris Bassitt.
David Peterson struggled in the first inning Monday night as the Nationals whacked him with four runs on six hits in the early innings. The bullpen took over and closed the door as the Mets continued to make contact at the plate as they have been doing often and well.
They also can reach down and have depth for the outfield. Brandon Nimmo is day-to-day with a bad wrist. Travis Jankowski will miss the next six to eight weeks with a fracture to his left hand.
Nick Plummer, once on the taxi squad, hit his second home run in two days and was a triple shy of the cycle. Plummer has quickly become a fan favorite after two games in the Major Leagues. The depth is evident and provides more options for Showalter.
“The only factor I would be concerned is their bullpen,” said a NL scout who has observed the Mets up front the past two weeks.
And that bullpen will be a factor past Memorial Day. Some have struggled and the trade deadline is expected to bring in some reinforcements as Mets starters can give you so much length and are expected to have a bad day or night on the mound. Edwin Diaz, for the most part has closed the door with the exception of three blown saves.
“But they score runs and are never out of a ballgame,” said another scout when asked about a Mets team that leads baseball in comeback wins. He said a lot of the success is attributed to the Mets playing baseball the way Showalter manages.
Monday night was the sixth time this season the Mets have scored in double digits and matched a season high in runs with 16 hits. They have scored 158 runs this month and will easily surpass a 2021 team run total that was next to last in the league.
Pete Alonso notched his 13th home run in the 8th inning. His 30 RBI in May is the eighth time in franchise history a player has recorded at least 30 in one month.
Regardless, this is impressive. When the Mets sustain a loss, they are expected now to come right back and those in baseball say this is the mark of a winning team. The winning attitude is seen in the home clubhouse.
Francisco Lindor has an RBI in eight consecutive games. After the third inning Monday night the lineup at the top went 8-for-8 with a home run, a walk, four RBI, and scored five runs.
“It’s fun to watch,” said Francisco Lindor. “It’s fun to be a part of it. Starling Marte with a two-run homer in the second inning began the rally that erased a 3-0 deficit. Marte said through a translator that the Mets at times, like coming from behind because they can come back.
Can the Mets continue at this pace? 33-17 with two more against the last place Nationals at Citi Field The test will come with a 9-game west coast swing against the Dodgers, Padres, and Angels after a Wednesday matinee vs. Washington.
Ask the manager. He is confident, but aware Memorial Day has always been an indication where teams are headed.
“I think it’s a little early,” Showalter said when asked if it was too early to be thinking about a championship. “I think it’s a lot early.”
But early enough to say the Mets are a good team as the month of June approaches and those teams you have to beat are right around the corner.
“Nobody’s looking to August, September,” Lindor said. “Everybody’s focused on what we have today. Ultimately that’s what matters.”
What matters now is evident. The Mets have a sizable first place lead as Memorial Day came and went. The percentages are in their favor.
Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso Watch Sports With Rich Tuesday evening live 10pm ET. YouTube Sports With Rich Like, Comment, Subscribe via SLG Network