The Mets are 17-15 so far this season. On one hand, it’s rather mediocre — just two games over .500. But on the other hand (the hand we’ll be chatting about), it is quite remarkable, considering what has gone down this season.
— The Mets are missing their best player, Carlos Beltran. Take away most teams’ best player and see what happens to them.
— Jose Reyes, Jason Bay, David Wright and Jeff Francoeur — that’s half the lineup and all of the big hitters — have struggled for the better part of the season, save for a couple of hot streaks.
— The bench is useless.
— 40% of their games are started by less-than-reliable pitchers, to put it kindly.
Yet the Mets are still two games over .500 and in the thick of things in the NL East. How are they doing it?:
— Rod Barajas
Where the heck did this guy come from? He has nine home runs, just one behind the league leader. He’s come up clutch, slamming game winning homers and other big hits when the Mets really needed them. He’s also good defensively, and apparently calls a good game. If he keeps it up, this would go down as one of Omar Minaya’s best moves as Mets GM.
— Ike Davis
We know where this guy came from. He’s delivering on all of the promises. He seems to really have an idea what he’s doing at the plate, a rare trait for a rookie. Davis is not just a dead-pull power hitter — he drives the ball to left field regularly. His presence in the lineup makes it very deep. Defensively, he’s a very competent first baseman. And those dugout-flipping catches (left) are just plain fun.
— Mike Pelfrey and John Niese
With two big veteran question marks, the Mets needed Pelfrey and Niese to step up to keep the rotation from becoming a disaster. And they’ve done that in a huge way. Pelfrey has been pitching like an ace. Niese has only one win, but has pitched well enough to have more. But most importantly, he’s given the Mets the chance to win every game he’s started, which two other pitchers who will remain nameless don’t do on a regular basis.
The bullpen has been sensational, picking up the slack from a rotation that does not go deep into games. Perhaps the best thing to happen to the bullpen is that Sean Green has not been seen since suffering an injury on opening day. We haven’t heard his name at all. That’s a good thing.
Unfortunately, the Mets can’t keep this up all season. The big hitters have to start hitting. Their struggling starters have to start pitching better. And they need Beltran back. If the Mets can keep winning this way, then their 1980s motto “The Magic is Back” would really ring true.