Friday, July 08, 2016

Mets Continue July Surge Against Washington

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Mets win series opener 9-7 over Washington Nationals;
close to within three games of first place.

NEW YORK METS: Amazin' bats back in the swing of things, providing more leads, which means more Jeurys Familia, in turn producing more wins.

The 2016 regular season continues its near mirror imaging of last year, statistically speaking that is.

Only major difference being Terry's Kids lacked major league quality bats last year (prior to the trade deadline), meanwhile entered this season with quality major league personnel, but remain helpless against ever mounting and ruinous injuries affecting their key personnel.

Yet, to borrow a descriptive from last season, the Mets have remained resilient throughout.

The Amazin's entered Thursday's game against the first place Nationals with a 46-38 record, four games behind in the standings.  At face value, not a bad place to be.  Then Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores both homered to help push the Mets by Washington in their series opener at Citi Field.

Rewind just a few games, and the Mets owned a 44-37 record through 81 games, compared to last year's 43-41 record by the midway point.

For a second straight season, pitching is the Mets forte.  Similarly, look no further than the offense for what has gone both right and wrong for the Mets.

National League
  • April - #7 runs scored, #7 team average (.255)
  • May - #13 runs scored, #15 team average (.211)
  • June - #15 runs scored, #13 team average (.235)
  • July - #1 runs scored, #1 team average
Month by Month Record
  • April - 2015 (15-8); 2016 (15-7)
  • May - 2015 (13-15); 2016 (14-15)
  • June - 2015 (12-15); 2016 (12-15)
  • July - 2015 (13-12); 2016 (6-1) and counting...
The Phantom Mets Menace

It's clear as the line-up goes, so go the Mets.  But the underlying reality suggests their very strength is fast becoming a major issue.  

Matt Harvey's addition to the disabled list is merely the latest injury seemingly conspiring against the Mets' defense of their National League pennant.  Only now he's facing season ending surgery, again, meanwhile, everyone continues crossing their fingers with every anxiety riddled Steven Matz start that goes by.

They could conceivably be in need of not just one, or two, but three starting pitchers in the months to come, unless Sandy Alderson acts prior to the deadline.

This, unfortunately, is also an untimely consequence of trading pitching prospects, which, in the Mets particular instance helped build them into a contender.  That said, they do not have anything near the likes of Michael Fulmer pitching at Las Vegas ready to step in.  I mean no disrespect, but, Seth Lugo, Rafael Montero, and/or Gabriel Ynoa, simply do not satisfy the Mets potential needs as defending N.L. champs.

Worth noting, this year's non waiver trade deadline has been pushed up to Monday, Aug. 1, to avoid the more familiar July 31 cutoff from falling on a Sunday.  After a fine off-season, the Mets front office stayed reactive as injuries mounted with the acquisitions of James Loney, Kelly Johnson, and Jose Reyes.  The big question, then, over the next three weeks will be ... what more can (or will) they do?

At the same time, it's worth pondering how much the potential returns of Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin might help the Mets in the months to come.  They could effectively become two much needed acquisitions, in a manner of speaking.  Edgin is performing well during his assignment with Las Vegas, and is closer to returning than Wheeler, whom suffered a slight setback during his rehab, and had his potential return date pushed back to at least August.

  • Noah Syndergaard (23 years old) is the Mets ace.  That is no longer open for debate.  Thor presently sports a 9-3 record with a 2.41 ERA, 1.06 WHiP, and 1.89 FIP.  In 101 innings pitched to date, Noah has fanned 123 batters for an 11.0 K/9 average, complemented by a low 1.3 W/9 average.
  • Despite needing a cool nickname, Jeurys Familia (26 years old) appears fully immersed in the role of Closer now in his second full season serving the role.  Thursday against the Nationals, Jeurys saved his franchise record extending 31st save without blowing a single opportunity all season.  That gives him 74 saves in just the last 1 1/2 seasons.
  • Yoenis Cespedes (30 years old) has been worthy of ever dollar spent on the muscle.   Representing the Mets in the batting order, he'll be the National League's starting left fielder in this year's All-Star game.  Yo is presently slashing .303/.373/.585, with 21 home runs and 52 RBI, ranking him second in the circuit in slugging and fourth in home runs.
  • Congratulations Terry Collins, manager of this year's National League All-Star squad.
We Are Familia..

I heard Jim Duquette a few nights ago on SNY-TV say Noah Syndergaard was the Mets first half MVP.  That's hard to debate, but I will nevertheless side with closer Jeurys Familia as the Mets first half MVP.

After splitting four games against the Braves, then getting swept by the Nationals, Familia essentially ignited this most recent string of eight victories over their last nine games, when, he closed out the Chicago Cubs during their series opener with what can be argued as the team's biggest save of the 2016 season - Familia's 27th.

The Mets went on to sweep four games from the Cubs, take two of three from the Marlins, and win Thursday's rematch opener against the Nationals, in which Familia notched his aforementioned 31st save of the season.

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