Out of nowhere, the New York Mets are suddenly providing their fans with illusions of grandeur and playoff pushes.
General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s reminder of a “win-now” approach in a Twitter memo on Thursday could not have come at a better time.
The Mets hit the ground running in the second half, had just picked up Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays and were in the middle of an easy stretch on the schedule.
New York is 15-6 in their first 21 games post-All-Star break to get back into the Wild Card conversation in the National League. As of Monday morning, the Mets are just three games back of a playoff spot.
The pitching staff, both the starters and bullpen, began performing up to expectations under Phil Regan with a team ERA of 2.91.
Adding Stroman suggests those numbers could be further improved upon and maintained even though the righty struggled in his team debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night — a game the Mets still found a way to win, 7-5.
The sudden lurch toward contention must be taken with a grain of salt, however.
All good teams have to take advantage of easier parts of their schedule and beat organizations lower in the standings.
But in the Mets’ case, is it providing false hope?
The first seven series of the second half featured matchups against three teams with winning records. Two of those teams, the Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies, have experienced their fair share of struggles this summer despite the plus-.500 marks.
Regardless, the Mets have been doing what they’re supposed to be doing to the minnows of Major League Baseball in recent weeks. They took three-of-four from the Marlins, two-of-three from the San Diego Padres, and then swept the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox.
Try to downplay a hot streak all you want; a seven-straight wins is an impressive feat regardless of opponent.
The Mets are going to have to prove their mettle against the game’s best soon enough, which makes an upcoming four-game set against the last-place Marlins — beginning with a double-header on Monday — vital for their slim postseason hopes.
Beginning Friday, 10 of the Mets’ final 15 series of the 2019 season will come against teams with winning records, including a difficult stretch that provides matchups against the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Phillies, Washington Nationals, and Phillies again in succession from Aug. 20 to Sept. 8.
Here is the Mets’ remaining schedule and their opponents’ respective winning percentage:
8/7-8/9 vs. Marlins- .385
8/9-8/11 vs. Nationals- .523
8/13-8/15 @ Braves- .584
8/16-8/18 @ Royals- .354
8/20-8/22 vs. Indians- .595
8/23-8/25 vs. Braves
8/27-8/29 vs. Cubs- .541
8/30-9/1 @Phillies- .523
9/2-9/4 @ Nationals
9/6-9/8 vs. Phillies
9/9-9/11 vs. D’backs- .500
9/13-9/15 vs. Dodgers- .649
9/16-9/18 @ Rockies- .464
9/20-9/22 @ Reds- .473
9/23-9/26 vs. Marlins
9/27-9/29 vs. Braves