Tom Brennan - FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE
Ahh, to be the Mets, sitting at 20-12 after 32 games. 2 1/2 games in front.
Led into the fray by a large land mass known as Bartolo Colon, whose right arm is actually a precision laser.
So mostly better, not so much worse, so far. So far, so good.
They say that past performance is no indicator of future results. I beg to differ. This team is going places no recent Mets team has gone before, starting with clearing the .500 barrier that recent years' teams have found to be so vexing and impenetrable.
This team has had more guys in the infirmary than a Mash Unit, but they continue to win 65% of their games without mashing baseballs all that much. They've scored just 120 runs, but allowed only 95, a result of a sparkling 2.86 ERA. So, let's see, no Wheeler to start, and no Parnell, Black, Mejia, or Edgin to relieve, and that's the ERA? Mind-boggling.
Those 4 guys were thought to be key to bullpen success (by me, at least) back in February, and not an inning tossed by any of them. Yet, the pen is 3-0, 2.51, 78 Ks in 75.1 innings. Remarkable. No Mejia or Parnell to close, so we turn to Jeurys Familia, who is remarkable with 13 saves already.
For starters, Bartolo Colon shows stats aren't everything, with his 3.30 ERA, worse than the team's average, but a major league best 6 wins. He knows how to win. Over 200 times, to be precise.
Harvey has been terrific, if not entirely dominant. At the current 5-1 pace, he'd go 25-5....hmmm, I'll take it. Jon Niese, 1.95 ERA - nice to be healthy, huh, Jon? DeGrom and Gee (now Thor) are just 3-6 combined. Those last two spots will surely improve.
Offensively, the Mets have struggled. Wright for just 8 games, before the hammy whammy, and d'Arnaud's broken hand took two of their top run producers out of the line up, and it is felt. Plawecki has been solid in 50 at bats backing up d'Arnaud, hitting .240, but Eric Campbell was just a .200 hitter in 16 games backing up Mr. Wright.
The silver lining in that cloud has been the switch of Murphy to 3rd, allowing future star Dilson Herrera to be called up to play 2nd, hitting .261 in 7 contests. After a 7 for 54 start thru April 22, Murph has hit .328 with 13 RBIs in 16 games. Nice.
Duda, Grandy, Cuddyer, Flores and Lagares have all been hot and cold; all surely miss the beneficial effect that Wright's and d'Arnaud's bats would have had in lifting the whole line up. Those 5 will do better.
The bench hitting has been substandard with Nieuwenhuis, Mayberry, and Muno combining to go 7 for 58 - and yes, you're right if you were thinking that Niese, Colon, Harvey, Gee and deGrom were also 7 for 58.
Recker is hitting .176, which is no surprise, since he is a career .196 non-hitter. Putrid hitting loses games. We need far better from Mayberry, Anthony and Kirk. Or from their replacements, like Mr. Monell.
But what about the dee-fense? Pretty good, with just 20 in those 32 games - chief fumblefingered fellers being Flores (7), Murphy (5), and Campbell (3). Only 5 in 32 games for the rest of the squad, which is quite remarkable.
Hopefully, though, we see the return of Wright, Parnell, Black, and perhaps even d'Arnaud within 2 weeks. If Wright and d'Arnaud return soon and healthy, and not too rusty, the next 32 games should be as exciting as the first 32. Maybe more exciting. I can't wait.