Coming into 2013, we as Mets fans had high hopes for a better season, but I really don’t think we anticipated such a drop in the first half. But I can honestly say that I believe the team just needed to find its make up. Which players were going to make the biggest impact?
Early on, one such player was Matt Harvey; he just took over that role and ran with it. However, the rest of the team just couldn’t keep up, they tried, but Terry Collins just couldn’t figure out who to play, when to play them and how to manage them. That said, the full brunt of fault doesn’t lie on the manager alone, but his early decisions were very questionable. But at the end of the day, even Mets fans were basically telling him how it should be done… you think he would have listened to us.
Looking at the lineup now with Eric Young holding his own in left field, Juan Lagares cemented in center field, Marlon Byrd finally becoming that everyday right fielder that has shown good power to complement David Wright, you could see it all coming together. Even with Daniel Murphy’s occasional offensive spurts and playing decent defense, coupled with John Buck bringing along the Mets pitchers with his veteran leadership behind the dish, you could see the dynamic changing for the better. And the bench players have been doing their part too.
The pitchers have even turned their horrible first half starts around like Dillon Gee finally finding his pace and Jeremy Hefner pitching decent enough with a few really good games mixed in before a five game slump sent him to Las Vegas.
When Bobby Parnell went down with an injury, reliever LaTroy Hawkins stepped up and became the main man to close out the games for the Mets which has been a huge help. Don’t forget the Jenrry Mejia coming up and unexpectedly pitching well enough to earn a spot every five days.
The arrival of the prospects of tomorrow, have been something worth waiting for, in particular Zack Wheeler. The young righty has taken some lumps and mixed in some gems and eventually the experience that he’s getting right now, will eventually turn him into a major factor in the rotation. He really hasn’t been a let down so far, even though Terry Collins had to tear into him because he wasn’t tough enough. Just Collins being Collins and not understanding how to manage younger players, which hopefully he will get better at if, he sticks around next season.
The biggest promotion next to Wheeler this season has been Wilmer Flores. He has been touted as the best player in the minor league system for years and his promotion has been one that the fans have been waiting for. So what does he do in his first week with the Mets? He only helped lead the team to a 5-1 record and racked up nine RBI’s along with his first major league home run. Can we say the Future has arrived?
And we are still awaiting the arrival of Travis d’Arnaud. Can this be the best class of rookies in one season the Mets have even had, even better then the middle 80’s when Darryl and Doc showed up on the scene?
Since the All Star Break, the Mets are 13-11, 8-5 at home and 5-6 on the road. They have moved ahead of the Phillies into third place and only 2 games behind the Washington Nationals for second place. They most likely, barring a huge miracle and crash by the Braves, will not win the NL East this year. But their sudden climb has the team well prepared for a 2014 run. Obviously changes will need to be made to add positive impact players to the roster and the hope is that Sandy Alderson will make the right moves come this winter. The team owners say that there will be plenty of cash for Sandy to do what he needs.
The Mets are playing much better baseball even without their captain David Wright, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. With Wright out of the lineup, everyone has had to step it up, and that is the true make up of a good team. It doesn’t hurt that Ike Davis has finally found a way to get on base even if he is walking almost half of the time. But that beats him swinging and missing during every at-bat.
Flores making a splash in his first week has truly been a kick in the pants that the Mets have needed. Other than a few pitching woes in the middle of the games, the Mets have been a much better team than from what we witnessed in the first half. It may not mean much, I know they are not going to fight for the division or even a wild card spot, but they are doing what we wanted them to do: play, have fun and be that team worth watching again.
This is the start of something big and I can hardly wait for next Opening Day to get here already.