As the calendar turns to June the 2015 Mets sit .5 games out of first. Two months into the season and the team is 5 games above .500 at 28-23. May (13-15) has been a tough month for New York and ended with them narrowly avoiding being swept at home by the lowly Marlins. Since April’s 11-game winning streak they are just 15-20.
Despite an overall lackluster offense and a bullpen awaiting reinforcements from the DL, the Mets are behind only the 2014 World Series champion Giants in the Wild Card race. Credit Terry Collins for keeping the team focused despite losing Wright and d’Arnaud to injuries resulting in a revolving door at the hot corner as well as a not quite ready for primetime top prospect gamely filling in behind the plate. Speaking of injuries, the team currently has seven players on the DL, not including rehabbing relievers Vic Black and Bobby Parnell.
Kevin Plawecki, Noah Syndegaard, Danny Muno, Darrell Ceciliani, Jack Leathersich and Hansel Robles have all made their MLB debut either as a result of those injured players or the lack of anything resembling a left-handed bat on the bench. The arrival of so many talented rookies shows this is a team in transition away from a mediocre half dozen years into a promising future. Overall this season 34 different players have worn the blue and orange. That’s not an inordinate amount by this time of the year. By comparison, the division-leading Nats and crosstown rival Yankess have used 35 different players each.
Despite the obvious flaws of the 2015 Mets, it’s a team to get excited about in part due to the infusion of youth like Syndegaard, Matt Harvey’s mostly dominating return, Jeurys Familia emerging as a lights-out closer and the burgeoning middle-infield power bat of Wilmer Flores. The now six-man rotation, already featuring three power righty arms, could soon be joined by the franchise’s hard-throwing southpaw prospect Steven Matz. It’s easy to criticize this team and what it lacks but going into the season if you told a Mets fan that the team would only trail the Nats by .5 game going into June they’d be ecstatic.
Speaking of Washington, while they’ve rebounded from a slow start, they have not been the juggernaut everyone anticipated them to be. Expected by many to be a possible 100+ win team the Nats now project out to around 91 wins. Washington is still the best team in the NL East but not by as wide of a margin as anticipated. If the Mets maintain playing .550 the rest of the way they’d be around 89 wins, enough for a Wild Card and creating a tight NL East race into September. New York still has a dozen games vs. Washington-including a season-ending series at Citi Field. For those late September games to matter the Mets need to take advantage of its opportunities, like a soft June schedule featuring series against six sub-.500 teams beginning with their visit to San Diego this week.
Right now the Mets have one player, Duda, with a WAR over 2. In some ways they seem to be doing it with smoke and mirrors, but they seem to get the win when they need it. It’s hard to imagine where they’d be right now without their early season winning streak. One thing in the Mets favor is a talented pitching staff that limits the possibility of the team suffering a long double digit losing streak.
Either way it’s a team that has turned the corner with 2015 the beginning of a successful run for the franchise. I’m looking forward to where this first season of that journey takes them over the next four months.