One month ago if you told Mets fans that on May 1 the Mets would be three games over .500 and a game and a half out of first place, I think most of them would be pleased. Well, that’s where we find ourselves today.
So many people pegged the Mets as one of the worst teams in baseball, destined for at least 90 losses, if not closer to 100. Well so far the team has defied those expectations. If the season ended today, the Mets would be the second Wild Card. Sure, it would be a shockingly short season, but the Mets would be in the playoffs.
How have they done it? Well, pitching and hitting (obviously!). The starting pitching has been solid –the fact that Johan Santana is even on the mound, let alone with a 2.25 ERA in five starts, is astounding. Jonathon Niese is living up to predictions that he will have a breakout year. R.A. Dickey has been his usual steady self, and Dillon Gee has been just fine. Mike Pelfrey was pitching well before going down with season-ending Tommy John surgery. It has yet to be demonstrated that the Mets have a fifth starter in their organization, however.
The revamped bullpen has been bit a shaky, especially lately. It is going to have to stabilize in order for the Mets to keep up their current pace.
The bats have been excellent. David Wright is hitting .389. Who even remembers that he fractured his finger? Daniel Murphy is hitting as expected. Lucas Duda has four home runs — that averages out to 24 for the season. I think we’ll all take that. Ruben Tejada has taken Jose Reyes’s spot and run with it — his defense is sterling and he is hitting near .300. Josh Thole is finally hitting like he is supposed to. Kirk Nieuwenhuis came out of nowhere to be the leading candidate for Rookie-of-the-Year, hitting .325 and coming through in the clutch time and time again. Jason Bay was looking better until he got hurt.
The only disappointment offensively is Ike Davis. He is hitting just .185 but has three homers. He has been looking more comfortable at the plate in recent games and appears to be breaking out of his slump.
Terry Collins has been doing a masterful job managing this team. He really seems to know his players and how to get the best out of them.
Overall it has been a superb first month of the season. Now the Mets face the difficult task of repeating that performance five more times. I think this team has it in them to do it.