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Very Good First Ten

In 2014, in games the opponents scored first, the Mets were 23-41 (.359). So far this year, they are 4-3 in games they had to come from behind. That’s another good sign for a team trying to prove that they belong with the more elite in the league. In fact, the last three games in a row were won after trailing.

The Mets have now won five in a row. That didn’t happen all of last season. You have to go back to 2013 to find a Mets five game winning streak. It’s only ten games so it would be foolhardy to make bold predictions. But I do think it is safe to say this club is finally on the right track. Consider what is good. The pitching has been outstanding. The Mets are taking advantage of other teams mistakes. They never quit and are able to come back in games and not let adversity dissuade them, like in last night’s overturned call that allowed the Marlins to tie the game. They Mets just kept coming back.

Is there room for improvement? Why of course. The club is leaving far too many runners on base, an affliction that hurt them greatly last season. While Curtis Granderson is getting on base a lot, he’s still not hitting at all. Wilmer Flores continues to be a work in progress at short but his bat, as demonstrated by last night’s game tying three run homerun is why he’s needed in the lineup. Daniel Murphy is an absolute bonehead in the field. His bumbling into a double play made on Wednesday night when it should have been Ruben Tejada’s play to make is one example. His errant throw to the plate in last night’s game that led to a five minute review was another. Murph’s hitting keeps him in the game but the future is uncertain especially with Matt Reynolds and Dilson Herrera in the minors.

So the Mets after ten games are not a perfect team but they are 7-3, sitting alone at the moment by a half game on top of the NL East. The Mets are a fun team to watch that never gives up. They have been in all ten games they have played. It looks like this could be a very fun summer of baseball in Flushing.

 

Perfect at Home

A wild and wacky game ends with an unfortunate injury. We yet do not know the length of time David Wright will be out. Could be day to day but a stint on the disabled list is most likely. Wright, not wanting to repeat what happened a year ago, took himself out of one entertaining ballgame in the eighth inning, fearing his slightly pulled hammy could get worse if he had to break for home. Good move David. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And while he will be missed in the lineup if he’s out three weeks, better to be safe than lose him for three months.

The Mets are 2-0 at home, a place where they must dominate. It didn’t hurt that there were two big crowds that played the 10th man on the field over the first two games. Citi Field is finally letting its voice be heard. A beauty of a ballpark looks so much better filled with people. And how about a shout out to Sandy Alderson for bringing in the right field wall? If not for that, the Mets and Phils might still be playing.

If Wright is out, we will see early on how the depth of the organization plays out. Eric Campbell is on his way from Vegas. Michael Cuddyer expects to be in the lineup tonight but we don’t know for sure yet. He suffered a contusion on his left hand when hit by a pitch. Ironically his sub, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, made the defensive play of the game, a diving catch in left that saved a run.

Pros: Mets win another series and go for the sweep tonight. Daniel Murphy hit the first Mets Citi Field home run of the season that proved to be the deciding factor.

Cons: Are you kidding? Wright hurt is definitely a bummer.

 

The Boys are Back in Town

They say the key to a successful season is to win at home and play .500 on the road. Well the Mets started accomplishing the latter by going 3-3 on their opening road trip. Now it’s home to Citi Field where the Mets begin a ten game home stand, two full weeks in New York since the Mets next road trip starts in the Bronx.

But all is not so rosy. The Mets hitting or lack thereof, is very reminiscent of last season, not what we witnessed during spring training. While it was good to see them capitalize on other teams’ errors, they have thus far shown it difficult to generate any rallies. The Mets could easily be 1-5 heading into the home opener. Defense has been a challenge as well, predictable at shortstop where Wilmer Flores has found difficulty making throws to first. Murphy has done a nice job so far but he and Flores ability to turn two has also been a problem also.

Okay, I won’t go crazy. It’s the first week of the season and the Mets did win three of six games. There are many teams right now with the same record. Some are predicted to do great things this year as well.

Unlike others, I don’t see the loss of Jenrry Meija for 80 games as big a deal. That’s because I really like Jeurys Familia, who I think will ultimately be the better closer of this team. He’s got the best stuff and we will at least get to see if he has the makeup necessary for the ninth inning. Plus Bobby Parnell will be back hopefully for the beginning of May.

Hard to believe but today begins the seventh season at Citi Field. The fences have been moved in again, there is a new video board in center. Hopefully the team on the field will do something that has never happened at the new ballpark—have a winning season.

Pros – Even the 1986 Mets started the season 3-3, however after hitting that mark they went on to win another ten in a row.

Cons – As stated, the offense has been mostly dreadful. Hopefully some home cooking will help.

 

Series One Won

The last time the Mets won a series against Washington was from August 30th though September 1st of 2013 at Nationals Park. It was a meaningless series for the Mets who at the time were 20.5 games out of first place. So although it’s only three games into the season, it’s a good sign that the Mets took two out of three from the Nationals. At the very least it sends a message.  Harvey was great, the offense gave him support, and the defense led by David Wright and Daniel Murphy (yes, Daniel Murphy!) did a fine job in the field. So one series down, one series won. If a team wins the majority of series played, they will have a fine season. Now it’s off to play the 3-0 Braves. Atlanta swept the sexy NL East pick Marlins in Miami to start the season.

Pros: Once again the Mets took advantage of a team’s mistake. Ian Desmond booted another. Instead of two outs and no one on, the Mets had a base runner with one out then rallied for four giving all the support Matt Harvey needed. Even though Jeurys Familia let in a run, he earned his first save of the season covering for the injured Jenrry Meija.

Cons:  So they gave up prospect Cory Mazzoni for Alex Torres? With a six nothing lead, Torres gave up two walks that Buddy Carlyle inherited and allowed to score. I’m sure Harvey was squirming through that.

 

First Loss

Well you really didn’t think the Mets were going to go 162-0 did you? If you are going to lose a game, at least it’s in a game that was played well—and fast. Not sure if it was the new rules put in place or the fact that both Jacob deGrom and Jordan Zimmerman were dealing but the game got over by 10:30PM EDT and that was with an hour rain delay. Hmm, a rain delay that really never happened. It seems the umpires decided to wait for an alleged shower to pass through until finally deciding not to wait any longer.

Pros: deGrom pitched great only making one mistake, an inside fast ball to Ryan Zimmerman that wasn’t in enough. That accounted for the only two runs of the game for the Nats.

Cons: When the Mets scored their lone run in the second, they left the bases loaded squandering a great scoring opportunity.  Hope it was just one of those cold chilly nights and not shades of last season.

 

The Day After

What we learned on the Mets first off day of 2015…

Jenrry Meija has no structural damage to his elbow. That’s good. But he does need a shot of cortisone and was placed on the disabled list. That’s bad. But the Mets brought up Erik Geoddel to fill in for Meija who was disabled retro to April 5th. That’s good. Jeurys Familia looks like he’ll be the closer for now. That’s good too. In the long run I honestly think Familia will be the team’s closer. His stuff is lights out. It’s just a question of his makeup. Does he have what it takes to be an elite closer? His stuff says yes but we will have to see if he has the head for it. He certainly seems to get it as the eighth inning setup guy.

Size matters

About 10,000 fans showed up to Citi Field to watch the game on the new centerfield Daktronics video board that is allegedly 62% larger than the original. It’s still not as big as the one at Yankee Stadium but is said to be the clearest of video boards and one of the ten largest in the major leagues.

 

Stealing Number One

Some would say if it was not for Ian Desmond, the Mets do not win the opening game of the 2015 season. However, I would say if it wasn’t for Lucus Duda, the Mets don’t win game number one.

Good teams find ways to win. When Desmond screwed up what should have been an easy pop up to Dan Uggla behind second, Duda rose to the occasion. He singled to right center plating the tying and go-ahead runs to give the Mets a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning. The outstanding pitching led by Bartolo Colon and the bullpen did the rest. So while the Mets could easily be 0-1 this morning, they find themselves 1-0 because they seized the opportunity, something that eluded them in the past.

It’s only one game but for the most part you have to like the way the Mets played. Colon was outstanding proving that what happens in the spring is meaningless. The bullpen was also very good in not allowing a run. The only blemish was Bryce Harper’s moon shot off of Colon. And for a while it looked like that’s all the Nats would need the way free agent Matt Scherzer was dealing. But after walking Curtis Granderson with two out in the sixth, David Wright’s misplayed pop up turned out to be the turning point of the game thanks to Duda.

Pros – The overall pitching and Duda who is proving that he’s a legitimate MLB threat more and more. Also a shout out has to go to Buddy Carlyle who earned his first career save at the age of 37.

Cons – Jenrry Mejia who could not loosen up because of a stiff elbow. Could the Mets actually be looking at a third impact pitcher requiring Tommy John surgery this season? Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it’s just a minor thing.