The first official day of Summer is drawing ever so closer, a time to really start paying attention to the standings in Major League Baseball. For the defending National League champion New York Mets it has been eventful first ten weeks of the season. They have endured numerous trials and tribulations that have led them to a 36-29 record as we enter Father’s Day weekend. Yet, what we have seen over the last two games from the Mets is a sense that despite all of their misfortunes, this will become a dangerous team once school begins again. This is a resilient team.
New York is only five games behind the Washington Nationals and currently occupies the top spot in the Wild Card standings. They have seen three regular players miss significant time so far with injuries and one of their star pitchers endured a horrific first seven weeks of his campaign. They have gone stretches when their offense couldn’t score runs in a video game, never mind a Major League game. But they have found ways to stay relevant and keep their heads above water while other teams, specifically the Nationals and Chicago Cubs have played at a furious pace. Forget the Cubs for a moment as they are in a different division (and playing in another league, it seems).
Washington has had everything go right so far. Daniel Murphy flirted with .400 for about six weeks and Stephen Strasburg showed why he was a number one overall selection. Bryce Harper hit balls from here to the moon while Wilson Ramos will be on his way to his first All-Star Game. While they have endured a little adversity such as a couple of hiccups early from Max Scherzer, now the Nats will be dealing with more issues. Closer Jonathan Papelbon just went on the disabled list with a right intercostal strain. Murphy has cooled off his torrid pace and Harper, though still getting on base, is getting nothing to hit. Let’s see how the Nats respond to a little adversity.
Meanwhile, Travis d’Arnaud is scheduled to come off the disabled list next week. Matt Harvey seems to have found his All-Star form. The last two days saw the offense wake up and pound Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitching to the tune of 30 hits and 17 runs over the last two evenings. Despite the bad news surrounding David Wright, at least the organization has some clarity about third base and can plan accordingly. Even Zack Wheeler now has a timetable in which to return. An upgrade in the bullpen will be needed and another bat can be used but at least the Mets have put themselves in a position to defend their crown despite what has gone wrong.
One other thing that works the Mets’ way is the schedule. Tonight, they begin a three game series at Citi Field against the woeful Atlanta Braves followed by four games in Atlanta next weekend. The Mets and Nationals will also face each other seven times before the All-Star Break. This becomes an important stretch for the Amazins as they will need to at least shave two games off Washington’s lead as we head into the break. Then again, the Mets have proved to be at their best when it seems they are at their worst. Don’t count out this club yet.
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