BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
(Photo credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
With the way the Mets played the first two months of the season, it’s normal to start thinking postseason dreams after a 13-5 victory over the Washington Nationals Monday night at Citi Field that had them improving to 33-17, good enough to have the third-best record in baseball. They are ahead of the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East by 9 1/2 games.
Yes, there are going to be cynical fans out there. They saw plenty of good Mets teams collapse in the end like in 2007 and 2008. Memories run deep that produces trauma.
But this team seems different. For one thing, they are well-managed by Buck Showalter, who has been worth every penny Mets owner Steve Cohen paid him. Second of all, this team forged an identity of being resilient. Finally, this Mets team knows how to win with everyone contributing.
The Amazins only lost two series this season so far. They have 12 come-from-behind victories already this year. They lost two in a row only twice so far, and they have yet to have a long losing streak.
Something magical is happening. It’s like 2006 all over again. It’s enough to make a Mets fan dream big of what’s to come this season. Certainly, Showalter and his players are.
When the Mets are receiving contributions from the likes of Travis Jankowski, Luis Guillorme, Nick Plummer, Tomas Nido and even Patrick Mazeika, you know they have something.
When the Mets somehow are surviving without the service of Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Tylor Megill, you know the baseball gods are shining on them for not wallowing in self-pity—in the words of Showalter.
When the Mets stars such as Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo play at a high level every game, it just seems this team has a chance to be special.
It could have been easy for the Mets to be content taking the series against the free-falling Phillies on Sunday night after Nick Castellanos hit a three-run home run off Adam Ottavino to give the Phils a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning. But Plummer gave the Mets a jolt with his game-tying home run in the ninth inning. The Mets went on to win 5-4 on Eduardo Escobar’s double in tenth inning, earning a three-game sweep.
On Monday night, the awful Washington Nationals had the Mets where they want them. The Nationals tagged Mets starter David Peterson by scoring three runs in the first inning. The Mets responded by scoring two runs in the first, four runs in the second and three runs in the third.
These comebacks are nothing new. They came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Cardinals 5-2 by scoring five runs in the ninth inning with two outs with the help of Nolan Arenado’s error. Who can not forget them coming back against the Phillies by scoring seven runs in the ninth inning to take a 8-7 victory?
It becomes a habit to the point the Mets know how to comeback and win in the end. It’s why they should never be counted out. Their resilient attribute makes them a team to be reckon with all season. They define the cliche of refusing to lose.
Here’s what to like about the Metropolitans: They don’t rely on home runs to win games. They play station-to-station baseball by bunting runners over and moving runners over on sacrifice fly. They do the little things right by executing Buck Showalter’s attention to detail on offense and defense.
This is a team that is winning with young players mixed with sage veterans such as Starling Marte, Escobar and Lindor and role players.
The Mets just don’t give in. They don’t take days off. They have yet to have a bad games. Even in losses, they just got beat rather than doing everything to lose.
They have written themselves a great story. They have their fans wanting more. They know they can be even better than this.
The Mets head out to the West Coast after this homestand to play a four-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers, three-game set against the San Diego Padres and three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This will be a test to see how good they really are. A chance to make fans, players and the managerial staff to wonder about the possibilities. It’s the right time to gauge with the way the Mets have played so far.
The best is yet to come. Right now, this start is just the beginning. There’s no doubt this Mets team is a playoff team from the eye test. 50 games tell the story.
What’s really not to like about them when you think about it?
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