Matthew Cerrone, Lead WriterIn March, the Mets schedule gave me major doubts about whether they could finish the season around .500. I feared a difficult starting point and maybe a 10-17 record by May 1. Today, with two days left in April, the Mets are 14-11 and on pace to win 91 games.
“We feel good about where we are,” Manager Terry Collins said Sunday (NY Times, Apr. 28). However, he added, “We’re not happy that we only have the wins we have. We thought we could’ve won a couple more.”
I love this attitude. It’s exactly what Sandy Alderson was getting at when he challenged the organization to strive for 90 wins, not just ‘competing,’ or ‘playing meaningful games in September,’ as had been the public objective in previous seasons.
“Our main focus is winning series,” Dillon Gee said after Sunday’s game (NY Times, Apr. 28). “As long as we keep doing that, we’ll be good.”
They have won five of their eight series this year, winning against the Reds, Braves, D-backs, Cardinals and Marlins.
The Mets played similarly at times during the previous two years. They were 10-9 after 19 games in 2013. They were leading the Wild Card race after the All-Star break in 2012. In both cases, they ended with just 74 wins.
“It’s impossible to beat your chest and walk with a little pep in your step when you’re not winning,” David Wright said (MLB.com, Apr. 28). “But when you get a few series wins under your belt and you beat some good teams and you take care of business at home, you start to feel like you gain that confidence.”
The Mets have the fourth-best record in the National League. However, they are ninth in runs scored and batting a league-worst .218.
“Our pitching staff is the reason we are where we are,” Chris Young said (MLB.com, Apr. 28). “It’s not the offense. They’re throwing up zeros and giving us a chance to scrap a couple runs across the plate. The majority of games are going to be close games. They’ll give us an opportunity.”
I trust the offense will get it together, but what if it doesn’t? Eventually, their pitching will hit a slide, as it always does, every season for every team. To sustain this early-season success, Curtis Granderson, David Wright, Lucas Duda and Chris Young will need to be better than they have been.
In the meantime, I’ve been most impressed with how well they’ve run the bases and fielded the ball. They’ve been smart and selective when they advance. In the field, they’ve been decisive and quick. They’re not letting teams take lots of extra bases. This will help calibrate the hitting and pitching. So, as long as it continues, I have faith they will have chances to win, despite who’s hot or not at the plate or on the mound.
“A lot of people are questioning us a little bit. They want to see if you can do it,” Chris Young said about people buying in to the team’s success (ESPN, Apr. 28). “And early on you want to show what the team is capable of. I feel like we’re doing a good job right now.”