Friday, July 15, 2016

Can the Mets Repeat the Leap?

This time last year, the NL East struggle was basically taken care of- the Nationals were on top, had things locked up, and were planning on taking this whole thing to the end. It took the July-August area for the Mets to catch up, usurp, and gain a TON of momentum in order to make it to the playoffs.

This worked because the Mets had the kind of team worthy of a playoff run- the rotation was on, and the guys in the lineup, like Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson, were all clicking, as WELL as pickup Yoenis Cespedes.

So, do the Mets have a chance this year to repeat their slide from last year and overtake the Nationals?

Well...they have a chance...but not as much.

There's a ton less momentum right now in the lineup, because the majority of the guys that were hitting last year are dead cold- Duda's injured, and Conforto and Grandy aren't hitting. At least Cespedes has some momentum, but he's getting back from an injury. Matt Harvey's out for the season, and Thor is trying to come back from his own injury. Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera have been good, but not wall-to-wall great.

They have a nice team, but I don't think it's enough to catch the absolute behemoth that is the Nationals- unless they make a serious push or make a huge deadline deal for someone.

Coming Tomorrow- The DH for a defending champion struggling to stay afloat.

1 comment:

  1. Your timing is a bit off. The Mets sucked last July...playing .500 ball for the month (13-12...6-8 after the break). And, being that they'd played under .500 in the two months preceding, most Mets fans (not me) assumed it was another lost season. I kept telling the un-faithful, "wait until we get healthy."

    As this year, injuries had taken all the big bats out of the lineup. They started coming back towards the end of July. Conforto and Cespedes were also late July adds. When the team got healthy, they kicked ass.

    So let's look at this year. D'Arnaud just got back. Duda should be back by the end of the month. Wright is out for the year, but a combo of Reyes and Wilmer ought to make for an adequate replacement (last years fill-in 3B was Soup Campbell). We don't have to trade for Cespedes; he's here already. Conforto seems to have found his mojo in Vegas. If he hasn't, DeAza will hit if he plays (though I know most Mets fans want him released, which is just stupid).

    The defense is lots better. The pitching is a bit more problematic. But just a bit. Harvey is out for the year. But that still leaves us with Matz, Thor, deGrom and Bartolo. Any team in baseball would swap their top 4 for ours. Matz and Thor both have bone spurs, but there's not much you can do about that without surgery. Having bone spurs in my heels for the last 30 years, I can tell you they can be painful, from time to time, but you can work and play baseball with them--usually at your normal level--without doing further damage. That fifth spot is troublesome, but we do have options (good ones). You just can't read too much into a Vegas ERA. Plus we set ourselves up early to not have to worry about innings limits down the stretch. And, importantly, our bullpen is massively better than it was last year.

    As a whole, we are a better team right now than we were last year at this time. And Sandy will be looking to set us up for the stretch like last year if there's some piece out there that fits (but I'll tell you right now, we don't have the obvious holes this year that we did last; so if Sandy doesn't go out and get a big name bat or arm, Mets fans will riot, but they'll be wrong to do so).

    I wouldn't call Washington a "behemoth" by any stretch. Six games up at the break, though, odds say they're likely to win the division. But the Wild Card is ours, if we want it. In the post-season, in a short series, I'll put our pitchers against anybody any day (even minus Harvey). I think our chances of getting back to the Series are pretty darned good--better than our chances looked at this time last year.