Friday night, the Mets rallied in the bottom of the 9th to score two runs and defeat the Miami Marlins. It was the Mets’ third win in a row, and they’ve won five of their last six. The team’s record stands at 13-10 on the young season. The fan base seems to agree that while this team is not a powerhouse, it’s fun to watch. Here are a few reasons why.
1. They don’t really hit, but they win. The Mets are winning, yet the team’s offense has been sputtering since opening day. Some relevant examples- David Wright is batting .284, but the captain has only 1 home run, and a total of 3 extra-base hits. Curtis Granderson is batting .141 with 1 home run. Chris Young is batting .182 with 1 home run. These players were supposed to drive the offense. Yet, the Mets find ways to win. They scrap for offense in an exciting way. They build their runs as a team. Eric Young Junior, though he’s batting just .225, has an OBP of .337 with 11 stolen bases and 19 runs scored. Anthony Recker, though batting just .227, has won an extra-inning game with a home run. On April 25th, Omar Quintanilla, the light-hitting Omar Quintanilla, delivered a clutch game-tying single in the ninth. The contributions are coming in small doses, from unlikely sources.
2. They are eclectic. The Mets are a strange amalgamation of youth and veterans. They rely on young starters (Jenrry Mejia, Zack Wheeler), yet employ the soon-to-be 41-year-old (and oddly shaped) Bartolo Colon. This week, they added 40-year-old Bobby Abreu to the bench, and Abreu did not even play last year. Further balancing the age scale is catcher Travis d’Arnaud at age 24, and shortstop Ruben Tejada also 24 years old. The controversial Matt Harvey keeps things lively, even though he’s missing the entire season, by showing up at New York Rangers’ games. The team’s general manager has taken to Twitter, with club and self-deprecating humor. One doesn’t see that often in professional sports.
3. They have a bright future. Most Mets fans know that this may not be “the year”. They realize that in order to contend, moves will be necessary (upgrading shortstop tops the list). However, with a starting rotation that has posted an ERA of close to 1.80 over the last 11 games, and possibly better pitching on the way, it’s reasonable for the customers to start to get excited about what may be a very promising future. Talk of Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, and Cesar Puello, (among others) helps provide encouragement during the inevitable struggles that accompany a 162-game season.
The Mets have their flaws. Their roughly $85 million payroll has been the subject of public ridicule. However, the important part is that so far, the team has played respectable, fun baseball. They have been exciting. They have the pieces in place to put a sustainable, competitive product on the field for years to come. As fans, what more could we really ask for?