I had a column prepared for today that chastised the Mets for blowing a chance over the last two weeks to follow up on their sweep of the Phillies by taking a huge step forward and padding their record. After all, they were playing 10 games against three sub-.500 teams. The Mets squandered that opportunity by going 4-6. At the same time, the Nationals went on an unexpected swoon, losing eight of the 10 games they played over the same span. But then I remembered the Mets were in second place at the beginning of this stretch, a game and a half out. Now they are in first place, a half a game ahead of Washington. So the Mets deserve to be saluted, not scolded.
The Mets pitching was solid throughout the 10 games, although they did allow seven runs in three of the losses and nine in another. The hitting was, well, let’s just say not great. They managed three or fewer runs in five of the losses. The bats did end on a high note, slamming four home runs to salvage a tie of the four-game series in Phoenix. But going forward, the offense will have to do a better job of supplementing the fine pitching.
The Mets deserve much credit for being four games over .500, considering all the team has endured. Their best hitter and key to the offense, David Wright, has played just eight games. Travis d’Arnaud has appeared in 11. And now Daniel Murphy is out. Their replacements have not been setting the world on fire. The Mets have been filling in the blanks in the bullpen as reliever after reliever has gone down.
As far as being in first place, that is more of a commentary on the Nationals poor showing than the Mets playing well. They obviously cannot control the way Washington performs. But right now the Mets are in charge of the NL East and control their own destiny. When was the last time you could say that?