Flashback to July 13th, 2014. The Mets have just defeated the Miami Marlins 9-1, with an outstanding pitching performance from Jacob deGrom. This win was important, because it completed the sweep of one of our division rivals, as well as placing us in third place in the National League Eastern division, and only seven games out of first place with a 45-50 record.
Now, that may seem very underwhelming, and many fans would even scoff at the suggestion that the Mets were still in the thick of it, maybe adding something along the lines of “Keep on dreaming, kid.”
From a very young age, my entire life as a Mets fan has consisted of dreaming. Dreaming of what could have been, and dreaming of a future when the Mets would one day dominate the league.
From the very beginning of my Mets journey, the slogan “You gotta believe!” has been so ingrained in my mind.
After a homestand that saw the Mets go 8-2, and taking six out of seven from division rivals leading into the All-Star break, the whole vibe of the team had changed. The Mets were waving their towels, and scoring runs, and playing like a real Major League team for the first time in what seems like an eternity.
The starting pitching has been good all year. The bullpen has worked out its kinks. The hitters were actually hitting… “Hey, maybe this team isn’t so bad after all. You gotta believe!” I thought to myself.
However, I still had this troubling little thought in the back of my head, as Daniel Murphy headed off to Minnesota and the rest of the team returned to their homes for a short four-day break, “Oh no. Not the All-Star break.”
Now if you’re a Mets fan, you very well know that over the last several years, the second half of the season is usually when things go downhill and terribly wrong for the Amazin’s.
For example, after going 48-40 heading into the All-Star break in 2010, the Mets fell apart and ended up finishing the season with a 79-83 record, going 11-43 the rest of the way.
Then 2011 saw the Mets heading into the All-Star break at 46-45. They would go 31-40 in the second half, finishing with a 77-85 record, good for fourth place in the East.
2012 wouldn’t be much different, as the Mets went into the All-Star break with a 46-40 record. They would finish with a 74-88 record.
Could this weekend be the start of another one of those dreaded second-half swoons? Even with the Mets finishing with a bang in the first half and meshing so well together… And even though they were playing winning baseball, if only for a couple of weeks, and being as fun and exciting to watch as they have been in a long time, are we in store for some all too familiar second half heartbreak?
The Mets got off on the right foot in the first game back, as Travis d’Arnaud picked up right where he left off, hitting the ball hard all game and being the difference maker in the team’s defeat of the Padres. to open the weekend series. A brief sigh of relief.
However, we would go on to lose the next two games, score a grand total of one run over the span of eighteen innings, and almost got no-hit along the way. The exciting Mets we were just starting to get used to, were suddenly showing shades of their old ways. Even some of their most optimistic fans were veering back into depression-mode after their dismal offensive and defensive performances on Saturday and Sunday.
Was the lackluster team we saw for the first 80 games of this season the real New York Mets? Or were the real Mets that confident and exciting team we saw during the last homestand?
It begs the question: Will the real New York Mets please stand up?