Whether they win the division or settle for one of the National League wild card spots, the New York Mets are almost mathematically guaranteed to make the postseason in 2022. By doing so, they will enter October as one of the top teams in the National League that are capable of winning the World Series.
A common misconception about this Mets team is that they haven’t played well since June. This line of reasoning is illogical. Although the Mets have seen their comfortable 10 ½ game lead vanish over the past three months, it is not because they have played badly. On the contrary, the Mets have played at a 96-win pace since that time.
So instead of focusing on how the Mets are now neck-to-neck with the Atlanta Braves for the National League East title, this article explains why this year’s team is different than in previous seasons, and why they have a good chance at playing deep in October.
The Mets have the best one-two punch in baseball
Name a better starting pitching duo atop the rotation than Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. I’m waiting.
When Scherzer signed with the Mets this past offseason, the expectation was that he would slot in right behind deGrom, forming the best one-two punch in the game. Although Scherzer was more than capable of fronting a pitching staff, he wasn’t brought on to be the team’s ace.
But he has pitched like one. Scherzer has compiled a 2.26 ERA and a 0.924 WHIP, two of his best marks in his career. His performance has matched the amount of money the Mets are paying him this year.
However, it’s not only the excellent pitching Scherzer offers that makes the Mets better; it’s also the attitude that he brings. Scherzer is one of the most intense pitchers in the game, and his intensity level does not diminish even when he’s not playing. As an example, Scherzer has been ejected from a game multiple times this year, arguing balls and strikes when he is not pitching. It’s an observation that Mets fans have noticed, and not many players show this level of emotion when they’re not on the field or the mound. When emotion is channeled productively into competing at a high level on the field, it affects everyone in the clubhouse, rubs off on them, and elevates their game. And we’ve seen that this year with this Mets pitching staff, as the majority of them, including Taijuan Walker and Carlos Carrasco, have pitched better than in 2021.
deGrom, meanwhile, has been his usual Cy Young self. Although injuries robbed deGrom of playing the first half of the season, he has been nothing short of magnificent ever since returning to the mound. deGrom’s ERA is hovering around two runs per nine innings, and he is striking out batters as frequently as he has for the past several seasons.
Like in previous seasons, deGrom is showing that he could be counted on to not have a bad start. Recently against the Cubs, deGrom tied the MLB record with 39 consecutive starts and not allowing three or more runs. That kind of consistency at the top of the rotation is critical if the Mets want to take down the top teams in the National League.