The New York Mets have been in one of the most unenviable positions around baseball over the entire month of May with the increasing amount of injuries that have handicapped Manager Luis Rojas from putting together their original starting lineup from Opening Day. The list of Mets players currently on the injured list has reached substantial levels that many fans including myself believe there is some sort of bad voodoo going around. At one point there have been 17 players from the Major League roster on the injured list which would almost certainly amount to a losing record for any ballclub playing that shorthanded for an extended period of time.
But in Queens that has not been the case, as Luis Rojas continues to plug and play whichever warm body is available, including outfielder Cameron Maybin who was acquired from the Chicago Cubs for one dollar, and they continue to stay afloat at the top of the National League East. While Francisco Lindor and James McCann continue to struggle in their inaugural season with the organization, the Mets have been picked up by the likes of Jonathan Villar, Tomas Nido, Jose Peraza, Patrick Mazeika, Johneshwy Fargas, among other players you would not have expected to make as much of an impact.
There seems to be a next man up clubhouse mentality occurring right in front of our eyes for the Mets currently, as with their play and remarks this team does not feel sorry for themselves This current group continues to go out to the ballpark night in and night out and they find ways to grind out a victory. David Peterson even said as much in his postgame press conference a few nights ago by stating to the media, “For us, it’s next man up. And I think all the guys in the room would say that.”
“Despite the rash of Mets injuries, both the role players and the minor leaguers have been crucial to the ballclub’s recent success in May.”
Now this pace shouldn’t be expected to continue long-term for any team with postseason aspirations. However, when you combine the excellent pitching and defense the Mets have had through the first couple of months, you can see that the current group of players are having as much fun as possible playing the underdog role. All of this is happening despite the lofty expectations that surrounded the Mets before the start of the season.
While we wait for James McCann, Francisco Lindor, or Dom Smith to take the reigns at some point and begin carrying the ballclub offensively, the rest of the patched-together Mets offense is playing above expectations to keep this team in first place. As players slowly make their way back from the injured list, we can only assume even better things are on the horizon for this ballclub as we approach the warmer summer months.
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Even though it may be hard at times, I highly suggest taking time to appreciate the current next man up attitude that is keeping the Mets afloat. In past seasons we would have seen the Mets begin freefalling down the standings when adversity would strike, but this group is different, and they are out to prove they can still win as unconventional as the lineup may look on a nightly basis.