The Mets enter the All Star break today in a position few, if any, fans envisioned. With forty-six wins under their belt, the Mets reside in third place in the NL East and just out of the final wild card spot. How did this happen you ask? Well here are a few of your favorites who are more responsible than the rest for the team’s surprising first half.
The highlight of the season thus far is without question Johan Santana’s June 1st no-hitter. The first in team history, Santana’s no-hitter caps off what has to be considered a very pleasant surprise for Mets fans. At 6-5 with a 3.24 ERA, his 17 games started to date already outnumber the total several “experts” had predicted before season’s start. Despite the fact that he has been hit or miss since that 134 pitch no-hitter, Santana’s presence in the rotation by itself is more important to this team than most fans would like to admit. His leadership has been, and will remain important for the remainder of the year if the Mets are to continue this run.
Folks, your captain has returned! Maybe its the new Citi Field dimensions, maybe its just dumb luck, but David Wright has returned to form. After several seasons of strikeout happy baseball, Wright is hitting to contact and finding holes in the defense. This, when combined with the fact that he has nearly cut his strikeout rate in half, finds Wright hitting .351, good for third in all of baseball. Despite the fact that he is only on pace for 21 home runs, Wright’s 59 RBI also finds him amongst the league leaders in that category which to this point, solidifies himself as an early MVP candidate.
The biggest surprise in all of MLB has to be RA Dickey’s first half. Leading the majors with 12 wins, his 2.40 ERA ranks fifth amongst starters. Bluntly put, the Mets have won 14 of Dickey’s 17 starts this season and he has been without question the team’s best asset of the year. It appears RA has mastered his knuckleball. Varying speeds and an uncanny ability to find the strike zone has rendered hitters speechless. Should his inspiring season continue, Dickey will not only find himself as the team’s bonafide ace, but he will also in line for the most lucrative deal of his career.
Despite the fact that the team as a whole has picked each other up repeatedly throughout the year, there should be little debate that these three are the Mets most influential players. A case can be made for each, but who has been the most heroic first half Met? Has Johan led the way? Has the resurrection of Wright’s career carried the Mets over the hump? Or maybe the evolution of RA Dickey has been the most inspirational? The Mets have had no shortage of heroics this season, but who is the catalyst most responsible for the team’s surprising first half?
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