We’re more than month into the season and the Mets are over .500. The entire NL East is separated by just 1.5 games with the Braves in 1st and Miami and Philly tied for last. New York starts a 3-game series in Miami tonight with Niese taking the mound.
16-14 is much better than I expected through the first 30 games of 2014. Last year, we were never within 5 games of the division lead after April, so playing above average baseball for a month to start a season is a welcome sight.
It’s interesting to see where the production for this team has come so far. Juan Lagares is hitting .338 and he’s currently riding a 13-game hit streak. In fact, he’s hit safely in 16 of his 17 games played this season. 9 of his 24 hits have also gone for extra bases – unexpected and welcome production.
Daniel Murphy continues to produce, hitting .314 with 9 extra-base hits and 10 RBI. Murph has been a consistent hitter for a couple of seasons now and he has developed into a steady left-handed bat in the lineup. He’s hot coming into the Marlins series too, racking up 7 hits in his last 15 AB in Colorado.
After trading away Ike Davis, Duda has taken nicely to his role of everyday first baseman – hitting safely in 10 of his last 11 starts. Wright is heating up with 6 hits in his last 14 at bats including 2 doubles. Chris Young has hit safely in 6 straight games too – going 9-for-22 during that span. Granderson has started slow but as long as he provides some power throughout the course of the season, he’s still a necessary asset in the lineup.
As a team, the Mets rank at the bottom of most offensive categories. We are hitting just .230 as a team (28th in MLB), and slugging a pretty terrible .336 (29th in MLB). Our team on-base percentage of .309 ranks 21st, but our 128 runs on the season is the league average (ranking 15th). Despite all of these numbers, which I hope will improve as the season progresses, we are two games above .500.
Terry Collins has his starting pitchers to thank for that. The rotation has racked up 19 quality starts on the season, good for 6th most in the majors. Our team pitching numbers are not fantastic but our bullpen hasn’t done us any favors in that regard. Saturday’s loss to Colorado was especially frustrating as Kyle Farnsworth allowed a 2-run, walk-off homer in a back and forth game. Starter Jenrry Meijia did allow 8 earned runs in less than 5 innings, so it’s just the best example, but the offense got the lead back for Farnsworth to earn the save, which he couldn’t do.
If the starters can stay solid like they were in April, I’m optimistic that the bullpen can improve and help lockdown close wins. We are still trying to figure out how to deal with the loss of Parnell for the season and once everyone’s roles are clearly defined, I expect to see a more consistent overall performance from the pen.
It’s very early in the season – there are still 5 full months of baseball to play before the postseason. But that fact doesn’t hamper my enthusiasm for what we have accomplished and what this season can become. Like every other Mets fan, I’m clamoring for the days of 2006, when we were a threat to win it all. 7 straight seasons of disappointment and mediocrity has taken its toll. I’m ready to get behind a team that has the potential to win in October. Before the first pitch this year, I thought we were still a year away but maybe I was wrong. Maybe, this team is capable of going on a run.
2 games over .500 is not spectacular and maybe it’s a little pathetic that I’m this excited over a 16-14 record, but I can’t help myself. We’re one game out of the division and the Braves have lost 6 straight. We’ve got to take at least 2 out of 3 from the Marlins and continue on this upward trajectory. If nothing else, just give me meaningful baseball to watch after the All-Star break.