All things considered, this New York Mets season has been quite fantastic. Despite being able to field a competitive team on the IL, the team has managed to more than stay afloat. They currently sit atop the National League East.
Frankly, the team has no business being in first place at the moment. Even if we factor in the stellar starting pitching, the more than productive relief outings they’re getting from a variety of men, and the clutch hits, there’s nothing about this team that screams first-place.
For a change, it’s not their fault. The Mets’ woes have fallen squarely on the number of injured players. Many of these injuries have been fluky with a few others lingering. Winning matters most. Someway, somehow, the Mets have won a lot.
Mets recipe for winning in 2021
The schedule has certainly been kind to the Mets this year. They have already played seven games against the Colorado Rockies and the only other National League West club they faced have been the Arizona Diamondbacks—the same club they take on to end May and begin June.
Against their own division, the Mets have played well, too. This has been the club’s key to success as they see those NL East rivals more than anyone else.
The recipe for a first place spot heading into Memorial Day weekend goes beyond just a few lucky breaks in the schedule. The team is getting just enough runs to squeak by in close games. Luis Rojas, who at times has made some questionable decisions with his bullpen, has been right more often than not. The only concern here is whether or not those relievers he turns to often can continue to pitch as amazingly well as they have thus far.
The Mets aren’t running away with the division by any means. But what if they actually had a major league lineup? What if the starting rotation began the season at full strength and not as injury-depleted as it did coming out of spring training?
Baseball is a game played on the field, not on paper. If this was a simulation, I’m not so sure things would have worked out as well in the Mets’ favor as they have.
Dead last or near it in many offensive categories, the team has to consider themselves lucky with where they are. Their superstar shortstop has crawled through the year. Many of his teammates, when healthy, have had almost equally as poor starts.
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There is absolutely no reason why a club with this many injuries should be the best in the division. But don’t tell them that. Let’s enjoy the ride and see how long they can define odds.