Four weeks ago, the world ended.
The world of a Mets fan, that is. On one horrific Sunday afternoon, Noah Syndergaard partially tore his lat while the division rival Nationals hung 23 runs on the board against the wounded Amazin’s.
Before long, it seemed that there were more Mets in the doctors office than in Flushing. Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, Steven Matz, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Asdrubal Cabrera, Travis d’Arnaud, and Seth Lugo all had missed multiple games due to injury by mid-May. Oh, and don’t forget about Matt Harvey’s fiasco, and the sideshow that it became. As players begin to make their way off the crowded disabled list back onto the Mets roster, there’s remains a glimmer of hope for success in 2017.
Before getting all positive and whatnot, it’s important for Mets fans to understand one key thing. The Mets will not be winning the NL East this season. With Bryce Harper returning to all-world form, Ryan Zimmerman reigniting his career, and a solid rotation, the Nationals will not be relinquishing their division lead any time soon, no matter who’s in their bullpen. The two NL Wild Card spots could still be within reach for the Mets, however.
The early returns have not been good for the boys in blue and orange, but it’s reasonable to expect improvement in the coming months. Yes, as the New York Post pointed out, God does seem to hate the Mets, but lots key pieces of the roster are on the mend. The most important reinforcement, Yoenis Cespedes, is expected to be back in the linuep within the next week or so. Steven Matz and Seth Lugo are off on their rehab assignments, and will both be welcomed back into the Mets rotation with open arms (we could all use a break from Tommy Milone and Rafael Montero).
The Mets head into their series finale against the Pirates sitting at 20-27, 8.5 games behind in the NL Wild Card race. It’ll take a nice little run to get within striking distance, but that’s what makes the MLB season such a beautiful thing. It’s a long, LONG season, and the 115 games left to play gives the Mets plenty of time to flip their own script. Now there’s no guarantee that the Mets will remain healthy and climb back into the thick of things, but if they don’t, the 2017 season can still avoid being a total lost cause.
The emergence of Michael Conforto as an MLB star has made watching the Mets struggle a heck of a lot more tolerable. The numbers bear it out. Conforto has simply been one of the best players in the league to this point. All he’s done is lead the Mets in batting average, home runs, runs batted in, and runs scored, all without being a starter to begin the season. He may have began the year as the odd man out in the Mets outfield, Conforto has become the one guy that has no chance of riding the pine once Cespedes returns.
It hasn’t been a fun first two months for the Mets and their fans. After two years of dominant pitching and postseason pursuits, the Mets are giving their fans a dosage of what they became accustomed to between the years of 2007-2014. But there’s four months left to turn things around, and it’s too early to quit on 2017.
Photo Credit: USA Today