Forty-five games in, and most Mets fans would agree—the season to this point has been a complete mess.
The Mets have been predicted to finish near or at the top of the division for the last few seasons, primarily because of the team we have "on paper." This season is no different, as we significantly improved our much-maligned and subpar bullpen and returned one of the best IF and OFs in the National League, in addition to the best SP.
However, in the last two years, our collapses have been attributed to a lack of toughness/clutchness/insert lack of confidence phrase here.
Now, our Opening Day SS, 1B, C, RF, and SP3 are on the DL. Our all-world CF is currently hoping a cortisone shot will alleviate pain in his knee due to a bruised tibia.
Our setup man already had a shot in his elbow due to a bone spur and is also dealing with a stiff neck. Our closer suffered back spasms severe enough to require a hospital visit. Our SS replacement has a torn ligament in his hand and is on the DL. Our LFers are playing 1B.
To say that the "injury bug" has hit the Mets would be an understatement.
Player management aside (when to DL, Triple-A call-ups, and such), the Mets players who can actually take the field every day are showing a fight about them that we haven't seen in quite some time.
If you told me before the season that all our "stars" not named David Wright would be out and Livan Hernandez was the SP, I would have laughed and not even bothered to watch the game.
However, last night, that lineup, led by Livan's CG and Gary (40-year-old Tiger releasee) Sheffield's second consecutive three-run home run beat the Washington Nationals 6-1. The lineup resembled one of our spring training split squad games.
Beating the Nationals should be expected, but these are the same Nationals that tend to beat us in September with a playoff berth on the line. They beat us with our stars on the field. They beat us with the playoffs on the line.
Also, after finishing one game from the playoffs the last two years, these are games we have to win.
The glaring difference is that this year, we are finding ways to pull games out. Whether it's a 40-year-old OF who has found the fountain of youth, a rookie backup catcher crushing a game-winning two-run HR off an elite closer, or a SP beating teams with 60 MPH pitches instead of 90 MPH, we are winning games when others may have counted us out.
Despite injuries. Despite poor base running. Despite poor fielding.
The Mets are currently five games above .500 and only half a game behind the defending World Series Champion Phillies (and yes, I hate that I just wrote that). The Mets should be further behind in the division considering our DL could field half an All-Star team.
The Mets are hanging around, playing tough baseball, and winning games. Maybe it's time we start to believe. The talent will get healthy, the mistakes will decrease, and maybe this will be the year!
Let's go Mets!