New York Mets' Hottest Starts to the Season That Will Continue
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Based on their early season schedule, it was imperative that the New York Mets got off to a good start to their 2013 campaign.
The Mets are 5-3 and several players have been instrumental in New York's early season success. Can their fine starts continue? Sure they can.
Let's take a look at some players who should continue to perform very well and help keep the Mets above the .500 mark through the month of April.
C John Buck
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After a dismal 2012 season with the Miami Marlins, the veteran backstop needed to revitalize his career with the Mets this season. Sometimes a change of scenery is exactly what a player needs.
The 32-year-old Buck has certainly taken advantage of his new opportunity this season by leading the NL in RBI (14) while hitting a robust .393. Those 14 RBI are the most ever by a Mets player in the first eight games of a season. His slugging percentage is .857.
In a word, Buck has been...spectacular.
''The key is I just feel good and I'm not trying to do too much,'' Buck told The Associated Press.
He's doing a lot. An awful lot.
Now no one expects him to bat .393 the rest of the season, but he is driving the ball with real authority (four HR) and hitting extremely well to the opposite field. He should continue to provide New York with a real power source. His last two home runs were impressive drives over the right-center field fence.
Buck is playing like a million bucks these days.
SP Matt Harvey
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Two wins in two starts. Fourteen innings pitched. One run allowed on four hits. Nineteen strikeouts.
Yes, it's been quite a start to the 2013 season for 24-year-old Matt Harvey.
The sky appears to be the limit for the University of North Carolina product. Despite not having his best stuff, he outdueled Doc Halladay of the Phillies Monday night by mixing his fastball, changeup and curveball effectively. It was not an efficient outing—he threw 110 pitches—but his moxie was on full display.
Manager Terry Collins was impressed.
“He was behind a lot of hitters, but it just tells you what quality stuff can do,” Collins told Andrew Keh of The New York Times. “When you make the pitch you’ve got to make, you can get people out.”
Harvey is pitching like an ace and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel knows it.
"He’s a top-of-the-rotation guy,” Manuel told Keh. “He threw a heck of a game.”
He sure did. Expect a lot more this season as well.
2B Daniel Murphy
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June 27, 2012. The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.
On that date in that ballpark, Daniel Murphy finally belted his first two home runs of the season for the Mets. Needless to say, things are going much better for the sweet-swinging Murphy this season.
Showing no ill effects from the strained right intercostal muscle he suffered in spring training, the five-year veteran is hitting with authority these days. He already has two home runs, a triple and is second on the club with six RBI. Murphy is hitting .333 and his slugging percentage is an impressive .700.
Not bad considering he only had 10 Grapefruit League at-bats. Murphy appears to be 100-percent healthy now, so Mets fans should expect him to continue spraying line drives around the park.
Murphy's defense and range continue to improve as well—he has not made an error yet this season in 33 total chances.
Manager Terry Collins told Andrew Keh of The New York Times that he's very happy so far with his second baseman.
What you’ve seen so far, the two homers he’s hit, one to left center and one to center field, the power’s there. I continue to think this guy’s going to be a very, very good offensive force, to the point where it’s going to be a question whether he has to continue hitting second or you’ve got to put him in the middle of the lineup someplace.
SP Jonathon Niese
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As the new ace of the Mets staff, Jonathon Niese has gotten off to a fine start this season. He seems to have accepted his new role quite nicely.
The talented southpaw is 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in his two starts against the Padres and Marlins. Sure, those teams aren't exactly the '27 Yankees, but Niese doesn't care. All he can do is pitch as well as he can against the squads that line up on the schedule.
What's even more important is Niese's consistency. He has gone at least six innings in 22 consecutive starts, which is a manager's dream. Terry Collins likes what he sees so far, according to Tim Smith of the New York Daily News.
I just think he’s growing into the pitcher that everybody thought he was going to be. We all know if he wants to he can go 92-93 (mph). He’s pitching it 91, 90, 89, because he’s locating and trying to get the ball to move around the strike zone. I think he’s really becoming a real good pitcher.