New York Mets: 5 Silver Linings to Another Disastrous Season
It might not be as bad as the days of "Marvelous" Marv Throneberry, but these past four seasons at Citi Field have approached the worst four-year spans in team history.
Who would have thought that 2010 would have been the climax of the Citi Field era thus far? That was a year that the Mets gave regular playing time to Mike Jacobs, Gary Matthews Jr., Fernando Tatis, Alex Cora and Jeff Francoeur.
That is nothing to be proud of, however, and there have been few moments this season that have enabled the fan base to collectively smile.
The Performance of R.A. Dickey
Not much more can be said about the 37-year-old knuckleball pitcher that hasn't already been said.
Dickey performed at an incredibly high level all season despite playing for a dismal team that relied heavily on him after the season-ending injuries to Johan Santana, Dillon Gee and Mike Pelfrey.
He became the Mets' first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990, while the Mets offense supplied him with only 4.66 runs per game (via ESPN).
To put that in perspective, Scott Diamond of the Minnesota Twins compiled only 12 wins this season despite receiving a Major League best 6.08 runs per start.
Considering Dickey has three quality starts in which he received a no-decision, he could actually be going for win number 24 next week in Miami.
He is at or near the lead in virtually every significant pitching category which puts him as one of the leading contenders for the National League Cy Young Award.
Some people may have written off Dickey as an anomaly after his solid showing in 2010, but he has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the league since 2010, posting a 2.93 ERA over 610 innings in that span.
Dickey has earned the right to pitch where he wants, Mets fans better hope the front office rewards him with a fair contract that will enable him to stay in Flushing for years to come.
David Wright Becomes Franchise Leader in Several Categories.
For any Mets fan that has been following since 2004, it is not surprising that David Wright has become one of the best position players in franchise history.
If anybody has been a fan since 1962, they know that David Wright has brought stability to a position that has been the historical equivalent to a revolving door for the franchise.
Given the relatively thin crop of great offensive players in franchise history, Wright has been able to vault to the top of the record books in only nine years.
This season, Wright became the franchise leader in runs scored, RBI, doubles and walks.
If the Mets extend the third basemen—as I am on record of saying they should—he will also be able to eclipse Darryl Strawberry's record of 252 home runs.
Wright did struggle in the second half, but given the way he carried the club from April to June, nobody should complain.
The first three seasons of Citi Field were not exactly pleasant for Wright, but he finally appears comfortable in the confines of the stadium he will hopefully call home for the duration of his career.
Johan Santana Throws the First No-Hitter in Franchise History
While it may have come at the price of losing him for the season, Johan Santana erased the ghosts of Jimmy Qualls and Kit Pellow for one night in Flushing, Queens.
Several times in the history of the Mets—37 times to be exact—a pitcher has come within one hit of throwing a no-hitter.
In this June 1 game against the St. Louis Cardinals, it appeared for a split second that he would come up short again—until the third base umpire ruled that Carlos Beltran's line drive was a foul ball.
Upon viewing the play in slow motion, it was evident that the umpire made the wrong call, but the Mets were not in a hurry to argue that.
Ultimately, Santana threw the most pitches he has ever thrown in a big-league game, 134, striking out David Freese to finalize the no-no and make franchise history.
This will never be forgotten in the minds of devoted fans of the blue and orange, and not even another second-half collapse could detract from this event.
Matt Harvey Enters, Domination Ensues
Plenty of Mets' pitchers have entered the league with tremendous expectations, but very few have dominated the league in the way that super-prospect Matt Harvey did in 2012.
Despite struggling with his control in Triple-A Buffalo, Harvey dominated the National League and posted numbers on par with many of the best pitchers in the league—albeit in a small sample size.
Not only was the 2.73 ERA, 10.67 K/9, 0.8 HR/9, 1.15 WHIP and 141 ERA+ impressive, but he displayed the unflappable poise and composure of Roy Halladay at times.
While many pitchers have struggled in the season following their breakout rookie campaign, Harvey possesses the overwhelming arsenal of pitches and intensity that can make him elite for years to come.
Forget Mike Pelfrey—hard-throwing Matt Harvey is the best pitching prospect the Mets have had since Dwight Gooden.
And just think, this guy is still looming on the horizon...
Ike Davis Salvages His Season
On May 22nd, the Mets defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates thanks to the terrific pitching of R.A Dickey, which began his unbelievable stretch of dominance.
On the other hand, Ike Davis went 0-for-4, which forced the Mets to contemplate whether to send their struggling former first-round pick to Triple-A to sort out his problems.
I even wrote an article in which I argued the demotion would help him rediscover the swing that enabled him to hit 26 home runs in his first 650 plate appearances in the big leagues.
Ultimately, the Mets decided that he would be better off staying at the Major League level, and his defense was too important to the team.
Ike ended up becoming one of the most productive second-half hitters in the Majors, ranking fourth in home runs with 19.
While he did not post numbers in line with his pre-injury 2011 form, 31 home runs in a "down year" is pretty impressive for the 25-year-old.
The Mets should leave Ike alone at first base, let him continue to develop into one of the most feared hitters in the league and be part of the solution in Citi Field.
If the Mets can surround him with decent protection in the lineup, a 40 home run, 120 RBI season should not be out of reach.