Mets hot streak impressive regardless of opponents: Pantorno

The Mets are back in the playoff hunt after going 19-5 over their last 24 games. (Photo: Getty Images)

The New York City baseball landscape is so much more fun when the Mets are good. 

I equate it to seeing a shooting star… or sasquatch. 

The Queens-based organization isn’t in contention often. In fact, they’ve made just nine playoff appearances in their 57 years of existence.

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So when the Mets are in the middle of a playoff hunt, it’s something to be treasured. 

It looks like that’s exactly what’s happening this summer as a red-hot streak throttled the team back to the forefront of baseball. 

The Mets have won 13 of their last 14 games, have won six straight, and are 19-5 since Jul. 13. It’s quickly overturned a deficit in which the team was 11 games under .500 and has finally got them back in the black. It’s the first time since April that the Mets are three games over .500.

A 13-wins-in-14-games streak is as rare as it gets for the Mets. The last time they experienced such a prosperous run of play, I wasn’t even born yet. The 1990 Mets won 15 of 16 games from Jun. 12 to Jun. 29. 

They finished that season at 91-71 but still missed the playoffs, which didn’t have a Wild Card system in place back then.

The 2019 Mets have already catapulted five teams in the standings during this torrid stretch and are just a half-game out of the second National League Wild Card spot behind the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies. 

General manager Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Mickey Callaway must be cracking up at all the writers, analysts, and pundits who left this team for dead in June and further questioned management’s motives at the trade deadline when they acquired Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays. 

I was one of those guys that waived the white flag in June. I just didn’t see this team overturning a double-digit deficit in the loss column. 

Like I always say, though, these writers and talking heads you see every day know just as much about fortune telling as anyone. 

But seeing how this is the Mets, there’s always a caveat even when times are good. 

Whether it’s from Yankees fans in their ivory tower across town or divisional foes in the Phillies, Braves, or Washington Nationals, the opposition tried to downplay the Mets’ good fortunes by simply pointing at their schedule. 

By no means was it difficult. 

Six of the team’s last seven series were against teams with losing records, including a most recent 13-game stretch against the Pittsburgh Pirates (six games), the Miami Marlins (four games), and the Chicago White Sox (three games). 

Those teams’ combined records? 141-199. 

I get it. You can take this hot streak with a grain of salt until they start pulling off wins against playoff contenders. Their first chance will be Friday against the Nationals before a three-game set with the division-leading Braves. 

The fact of the matter is that the Mets are beating the teams they’re supposed to beat. That’s what good teams do. 

Especially when you realize the Mets were one of those bad teams not too long ago. 

While the Marlins and White Sox might be at the bottom of the standings, they aren’t always cakewalks, either. The Yankees have gone 3-4 against Chicago in seven games this year while the Phillies have lost five of their last six against the Marlins.

I wonder what the excuse will be if the Mets keep this up. Because they would be holding a playoff spot very soon if they keep this going. 

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