by Paul West
The Mets have turned around their doldrums, won six games in a row, and climbed to the top of the National League East. The Mets’ bullpen has been the best in baseball for a couple of weeks. The Mets have finally scored enough runs in a Jacob deGrom start for him to record a win. The Mets aren’t even close to clicking in all phases yet.
Despite multiple comeback wins, ace-like performances from multiple players, and big hits from centerpieces like Dom Smith and Michael Conforto–and despite a six-game win streak–the Mets aren’t even really hot yet. We’ve seen what it looks like when this offense gets slow-pitch softball score, tear the cover off the ball hot; we’ve seen what it looks like when Dom, Conforto, Pete Alonso, JD Davis, et cetera all get dialed in at the same time. This isn’t that. Francisco Lindor isn’t even hot yet. This is timely singles and defensive plays, heads-up base running, hard to put away hot…the kind of hot where 27-year-old rookie Patrick Mazeika gets two walkoff fielder’s choices before he gets his first MLB hit. The Mets are, as the saying goes, playing with house money; so much so that they can afford to send deGrom to the injured list as a precautionary measure, without breaking stride or stressing the short-term implications.
Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker, and the bullpen are pitching well beyond expectations, while Conforto is saving games in right field and roleplayers like Jonathan Villar and Kevin Pillar are coming up big. Meanwhile, the Mets still have games in hand on the entire division and most of the National League–again, while their big guns aren’t firing at full blast (moreover, while Davis–their hottest hitter for the previous two weeks–has been out with a hand injury). The Mets are setting themselves up to control their divisional destiny when the summer heats up, and demonstrating that they can do the little things to produce wins.