As our beloved New York Mets played their final series in the capital this season, the Nationals continued to work towards locking up the best record in the National League. The Mets only took 1 of 3 from their division rivals, but there were positive takeaways despite losing the series. Below is a breakdown in this edition of 3 & 3.
1. Back in late August, it was easy to speculate that Curtis Granderson would be the next free agent bust to hit Flushing, but the veteran outfielder maintained a positive attitude and strong work ethic, which has helped transform him into a doubles hitting, RBI machine. Since the first of the month, Curtis is hitting (.329) with a (.980) OPS that’s being heavily bolstered by his (.566) slugging percentage. He’s adapting to the needs of his current team and abandoning the high strikeout/high home run player he was across town. If Granderson’s current month was stretched over a 150 game season (conservative figure), he’d have 50 doubles, 7 triples, 21 home runs and 114 RBI. That’s exactly the type of player the Mets should pay $16 million for next season. Whether he maintains a pace like this next season is highly debatable, but his mid-summer and fall statistics offer enough fuel to counter the negative predictions. Overall, Curtis slashed out a series line of (.455/.500/1.045), with 3 RBI’s to go with a run scored.
2. Wilmer Flores is an entirely different player as a second baseman. His range improves drastically in comparison to his reps at shortstop and his plus arm is a tool that finally has the Mets rounding out routine double plays. In 15 games (54 at bats), Wilmer is batting (.296) while boasting a monstrous (.593) slugging percentage. Wilmer’s (.321) OBP sits barely above his batting average, so he isn’t walking much when his glove is played at the keystone. Instead, he’s opted for the conventional route of putting some wood on the ball, giving him 10 runs scored and 8 RBI’s in those 15 games. Flores continued his playing time at second this series and actually turned in the exact same results as Granderson, posting a line of (.455/.500/1.045).
3. Jeurys Familia was outstanding in the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader, pitching a perfect 8th inning and striking out the side. Familia owns a 2.27 ERA to go with 71 strikeouts in 75.1 innings this season. The other setup relievers have been excellent this season too, including Vic Black, Carlos Torres and Josh Edgin. It’s not yet known if Bobby Parnell will return as closer in 2015, but Jenrry Mejia has handled the role admirably and he has been ferocious against left-handed batters. Whatever happens, the Mets will have one of the youngest and brightest bullpens in all of baseball next season and that’s a huge relief.
1. Injuries absolutely kill this team year in and year out. It’s reasonable to expect some unscheduled absences during the season, but ask yourself this question, how many players have put in a full season? For the starting pitchers, only Zack Wheeler and Bartolo Colon have remained healthy since Opening Day. For position players, only four Mets have a qualified number of at-bats and only two have played more than 150 games (Lucas Duda has 150 and Curtis Granderson has 152). We learned during this series that David Wright suffered structural damage in his left shoulder which he played through for the most of the season, and it could be more serious than the Mets originally thought. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud has been no stranger to the disabled list as well and now he’s undergoing tests with team doctors in New York for an unknown elbow injury.
2. There are numerous ways to frame statistics and come up with hypothetical scenarios, but consider this “what if”. What if the Mets went .500 against the Nationals this year? Actually, they played an odd number of games this season, 19 in total, so let’s say they went one game over .500 and posted a seasonal W-L of 10-9. In that case, the Mets 2014 record would stand at 83-76 and they would still be in the hunt for the last wild card spot. Instead, NY finished the season 4-15 against their division rivals.
3. Let the Matt Harvey media circus resume. During the nightcap of yesterday’s doubleheader, news broke that recovering ace Matt Harvey was at Yankee Stadium for Derek Jeter’s final home game. It’s true that these kinds of actions raise more questions than most Mets fans want answered, but it’s going to be a bigger story than needs to be. He’s proven that he’s a competitor no matter what uniform he puts on and Matt’s locked into the Orange and Blue for the next four seasons. Derek Jeter’s last home game is an iconic moment for Yankee fans and Harvey has openly admitted that Jeter is his idol growing up and favorite player. It could very well signal where he intends to go in the future, or it could just be a 25-year old guy, living in New York City, going to the only baseball game in town. Sandy Alderson made the rules, which included staying behind when the team traveled for road games, and to the best of my knowledge that didn’t change when the Mets shut down Harvey for the season. He knew exactly what he was doing and did it anyways. That’s the beast the Mets have to live with, incredibly talented, but lacks the foresight to cater to a sensitive organization. Hopefully, Harvey leads the Mets to a World Series title in the next four years, but the bottom line is that I could care less where he goes and what he does on his free time.