The first two months of the season have gone by in a blur. Only one thing is certain for the New York Mets.
They have yet to show what type of team they have.
Some nights, they have flashed brilliance both offensively and defensively. Other nights, the bats are stoically silent and the pitching is lack luster.
I guess that is the life of a .500 baseball club.
There are many questions that are to be answered by this team.
What are their strengths?
Starting pitching? Offense? The bullpen?
What can we expect to see from this team in the future?
Back on April 10th, I felt that a realistic expectation for the Mets would be to make the playoffs as a Wild Card Team.
There were too many hurdles to challenge for the National League East Crown. The Phillies were too stacked in terms of starting pitching and their offense appeared to be as potent as ever.
Not much has changed with the Phillies’ pitching staff, but their offense seems to have regressed a bit. This regression has allowed the Mets to stay within three games of first place in the National League East.
I also believed that Carlos Beltran would be back in June, and all the Mets needed to do was to play .500 baseball until he returned.
The Mets held up their end of the bargain, as they are guaranteed to have a .500 record going into June.
Beltran, however, is an enigma for this club.
His return date is anyone’s guess as he has been relegated to only jogging . Once he begins sprinting and baseball related activities, he then would need four to six weeks to return to the lineup.
What Do The Mets Need To Do To Make The Playoffs?
Mathematically speaking, they need to win ninety games. This means they need to go 64-46 in their last 110 games.
The 2009, 2008, and 2007 National League Wild Card teams found themselves with .500 or below records at the end of May as well.
A continuation of quality starting pitching will help a great deal.
The Mets may have stabilized their fourth and fifth spots in their rotation with R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi.
Jonathan Niese could return as early as Saturday to give the Mets a competitive rotation following Santana and Pelfrey.
Their bullpen has been quite the surprise this season as they have been a very reliable bunch.
Offensively, the Mets need the following things to happen to help this team produce some winning months this summer:
- David Wright must cut down on the strikeouts and start hitting closer to his career average of .306.
- Jason Bay needs to hit for more power. Three home runs in two months will not cut it.
- Jose Reyes needs to continue to by the catalyst for the lineup, as he has displayed in the last couple of weeks.
If two of the three of these key players can be productive, this lineup can produce the offense needed to get this team to ninety wins.
The less known Mets like Angel Pagan, Rod Barajas, and Ike Davis have shown they can contribute on a regular basis.
Is It Time To Pass Judgment On This Team?
I wrote the following at the beginning of the season:
No matter how difficult, it will be prudent to wait to pass any judgment on the Mets until June. Some may consider this too early to judge at all.
In one humble writer’s opinion, it is still too early to write this team off.
There is one important factor as to why I feel this team still has a legitimate chance to make it to the playoffs.
They have shown a great deal of fight throughout the season. The twenty inning marathon in St. Louis is a game that many use as an illustration for this point.
If you examine all of their games, they rarely go down quietly. They have consistently scored late in ball games to get closer or to increase their lead.
The Mets need this grittiness to continue.
It will be interesting to see where this team is at the end of June.