3 reasons to believe the Mets can keep rolling

All aboard the Grimace train!
Francisco Alvarez has been raking since his return from the IL
Francisco Alvarez has been raking since his return from the IL / Luke Hales/GettyImages
1 of 3

Well folks, we finally did it. Less than a month after being left for dead following a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers, the Mets have fought their way back to .500 while looking, I kid you not, like the best team in baseball.

The NL Wild Card race is a crowded one, but the Mets have rocketed their way past a bevy of teams to get to within 1.5 games of a playoff spot by going 15-4 in their last 19 games. Whether Grimace deserves the credit or not, everything is clicking right now, and the 21 runs the Mets just scored in a two-game sweep of the Yankees could foreshadow that this is only the beginning.

It's fair to be skeptical of any Mets success. We've all seen numerous examples over the years of our favorite team getting our hopes up before pulling the rug out, but in the words of Tug McGraw, "Ya gotta believe." Here are three reasons to believe that the Mets can keep this hot streak rolling into the second half of the season.

1. The Baby Mets can't be stopped

It seems that everyone in the Mets lineup is hitting. Francisco Lindor has flourished in the leadoff spot. Brandon Nimmo, JD Martinez, and Pete Alonso are all hitting for power, and the bottom of the lineup has been raking too, with Harrison Bader and Tyrone Taylor drilling the Yankees for three homers and seven RBIs.

It really has been a team effort to get back to .500, but if any non-McDonald's-spokespeople deserve the most credit, it has to be Francisco Alvarez and Mark Vientos. Alvarez returned from the thumb injury that had kept him out since mid-April almost three weeks ago, and Vientos got called up to replace failed free agent signee Joey Wendle in mid-May.

Since rejoining the big-league club, both players have been absolutely mashing. Vientos leads all qualified Mets in OPS at .928, and Alvarez is just behind him at .904. In 97 fewer at-bats, Vientos has already matched his home run total from a year ago, and he's averaging an extra-base hit once every eight at-bats. Alvarez has three three-hit games since the last time he went hitless, but he's also showing patience at the plate, with seven walks in his last five games.

Many fans wrote Vientos off as a AAAA player, someone who could dominate in AAA but didn't have what it takes to hit big league pitching. That myth has been emphatically dispelled, and it's impossible to envision him ever returning to Syracuse at this point.

Alvarez has been phenomenal at the plate, but his handling of the pitching staff can't be discounted, either. He's simply a winning player. The Mets are 22-8 with him this year, and 17-31 without him.

Not to be forgotten is Brett Baty, who has turned into Babe Ruth since being sent down to AAA. He's hitting a home run every other game for Syracuse, and with Starling Marte on the shelf for the next month with a knee injury, don't be surprised if Jeff McNeil moves to right field to make room for Baty at second base.

It was just over a year ago that we advocated going all-in on the youth movement. It took a little while, but the Baby Mets are growing up before our eyes.