As the end of April approaches, the New York Mets are still the first place team in the NL East. After a 9-1 loss to St. Louis Wednesday, the Mets now sit at 15-7. Although they’ve shown some flaws, they have played pretty consistent baseball so far this year.
I’ll be the first to tell you I did not expect the Mets to be in the position they are in at this point of the season. With early injuries to Anthony Swarzak, Jason Vargas, and both of their major league catchers, Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki, there were a lot of question marks as to how the Mets would handle the early adversity. The guys have stepped up; however, and through timely hitting, the Mets have found a way to be successful.
Even if the Mets lose out the rest of the month, they’d enter May with a 15-11 record, which would certainly keep them in contention. It also helps that the Washington Nationals haven’t found their mojo yet with Daniel Murphy out, and currently sit with a 11-14 record as of Wednesday. Although the Mets dropped four out of six last week to Washington and the Atlanta Braves, they also won four out of six against the Nats on the month, which can be huge considering they were 6-13 against them last year.
Don’t let anyone fool you; although the weather stinks, these April games are very important. Remember years like 2007 and 2008? If the Mets had won just one more game in April, they wouldn’t of had to break their fans hearts by missing the playoffs on the last day of the season two years in a row.
The Mets have certainly set a tone for this season, and as the calendar flips, I look for them to continue to play consistent, clean and smart baseball.
Hitting .195, it’s fair to say Yoenis Cespedes is not in mid-season form just yet. However, this guy has been a winning machine for the Mets, and has come up clutch time and time again all throughout April. Cespedes is currently hitting .375 with runners in scoring position so far this year, driving in 17 runs while in the big spot. Without Cespedes’ game-changing hits, the Mets would be in a totally different position.
Cespedes has played a huge role in the Mets last three wins. After dropping the first two games of the series to the Nationals last week, the Mets came up with a nine-run inning in the bottom of the eighth, capped by a Cespedes grand slam, to win the ballgame. Two days later, he hit the go-ahead RBI single in the bottom of the 12th to give the Mets the lead and win. Most recently, he hit a three-run shot to tie the game back even on Tuesday against St. Louis.
If Cespedes is crushing the ball when it matters most, I’m not worried about this little ‘funk’ he is in at all. The average will raise with more at-bats, and I believe he will have a great year if he stays healthy. Hopefully he can continue to come up big for the Mets and continue their winning ways.
Nimmo has been the biggest bright-spot on the offensive side for the Mets in my eyes so far this year. At 25-years-old, this guy is a gamer, and his go-hard style of play is truly admirable. Although not the best hitter, he’s sporting a .516 on-base percentage right now. Getting on-base more than half the times you’re up is incredible, even in a young season.
The most important thing he brings to the table for the Mets is depth. It’s been a long time since the Mets have had a bench with this much talent, and we could see him playing an even more prominent role as the season continues. Championship teams have great benches, and Nimmo can be big for the Mets in 2018.
With all the positives the Mets can bring out of April, I certainly think Matt Harvey is one huge negative for the Mets so far this year. Harvey is a total head case, and I don’t think he will ever be the starting pitcher that he once was.
He also has a terrible ego problem. He thinks he’s the man and with an ERA around six, he definitely is not. It’s obvious he isn’t taking the bullpen role very well, but he needs to realize that it is not all about him. This is about winning, and right now Matt Harvey cannot win as a starting pitcher.
I still do a have a bit of faith in this guy. First-year pitching coach Dave Eiland has turned faltering starters careers around in the bullpen in the past, an example being Wade Davis. The problem is, Harvey has a pout-face attitude, which will get him nowhere. If he can embrace the new role and listen to his mentors, he still has a shot at a great career.
Although one month of the season is almost over, only 26 out of the 162 games will have been played. In a long season, anything is possible. However, the Mets have put themselves in a position to be successful in the long-run, and that’s what matters in these early games. Till next time, let’s go Mets!