If you had missed the first four months of the 2015 MLB season and no one told you a thing about where certain teams were in the standings, you still would have little trouble figuring out which teams were charging toward a playoff spot and which teams were floundering, just by watching 10 minutes of the closed-captioned version of SportsCenter this past Monday morning.
Citi Field was filled to the brim in the Mets’ 5-2 win over division rival Washington on Sunday night and the visual alone gave you a peak into the type of season the Mets are enjoying. The home runs by Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda – all within a span of five pitches – made the relatively new ballpark in Queens look a hell of a lot like the old one. A sea of orange and blue, and raised and pumping fists took the place of empty seats this past weekend and there was little doubt remaining as to whether or not the Mets were back.
“I think we can definitely feed off the energy,” Mets infielder Daniel Murphy said of the Citi Field crowd last Sunday. “In this stadium, that was unique. Haven’t really experienced what has taken place here the last two nights, which is a lot of fun.”
Rent a title
There’s no shame in “renting a player” to make a World Series push, mostly because it works. Carlos Beltran pushed the Astros to the NLCS in 2004, C.C. Sabathia got the long-suffering Brewers to the playoffs in 2008, Cliff Lee helped the Rangers to their first World Series appearance in franchise history in 2010 and Marco Scutaro helped the Giants to a title in 2012 (Scutaro would re-sign with the Giants later that off-season).
Yoenis Cespedes, who the Mets landed in exchange for two minor league pitchers at last week’s trade deadline, could very well be the player who lifts the Mets into October. Cespedes flashed some of his unbridled power in New York’s 12-1 thumping of the Marlins on Monday, tying a Mets single game record with three doubles – two of which smacked Miami’s outfield fence.
In baseball, when you’ve “got it,” you’ve “got it” and indefinable mojo is one of the characteristics that any MLB champion needs to have. One could easily make the case that these 2015 Mets are a more talented bunch than the 2013 Red Sox, a team which went from worst to first then back to worst. But the 2013 Boston team is Example A of what good karma can do for a baseball team.
The Mets have already overcome a great deal of adversity this season. They’ve seen two major drug suspensions for Jenrry Mejia and have seen injuries to Steven Matz, Travis d’Arnaud, Jerry Blevins, Zack Wheeler, Josh Edgin, Vic Black, David Wright, Rafael Montero, Daniel Murphy and Michael Cuddyer.
This is a team that was also no-hit by a relative unknown back in early June.
It’s clear that the Mets have “it” right now. Whether or not “it” is sustainable remains to be seen.
According to ESPN just 12 of the Mets' remaining 55 games are against teams whose records are currently .500 or better. The stretch includes six games with the Nationals, including their final three regular season games of 2015, which will be played at Citi Field.