Boy, it was a lot easier to write copy for this blog when there was something to complain about! How about this: the Mets are causing me to lose sleep. I rise at 4:30 AM most days, so these late night games are killing me. Since July 31, Mets games have become “must see TV” in my household, so we all walk around a bit bleary-eyed (but happy) these mornings.
There is an aura around this team right now, a swagger in the dugout and on the field that comes through the TV screen. Down by five runs on getaway day? Let’s play. Starting pitcher is struggling? Let’s play. Wanna go extras? Let’s play. Your knucklehead, old-school coach is trying to intimidate us? Let’s play. All in all, a 13-inning 9-5 win over a team that just a few short years ago inflicted two humiliating comebacks on the Mets, relegating them (and us) to also-ran status on the season’s final days; the aftershocks of which are still being felt today.
Fortunately, this is not the 2007 Mets on the field these days. For openers this Mets team is actually adding quality arms, not scrambling to find them. Steven Matz is only a few days away from joining the rotation and Logan Verrett may prove to be one of those kismet (no pun intended) tales frequently occurring during That Championship Season: lost in the Rule V draft, he is then cut by two teams before returning home to play a key role down the stretch. Sean Gilmartin and Hansel Robles may never be heard from again, but they have shored up the bullpen, which was the major culprit in the 07-08 disasters, providing an important bridge between the starters and the two late innings guys.
But it’s the offensive turnaround that has been the most startling. Lost in Daniel Murphy’s heroics (more on him later) is the fact that Yoenis Cespedes hit yet another homerun, a two-run blast in the 5th that cut the Phils’ lead to one run. I know they don’t give out awards like this, but Cespedes is the Mets’ second half MVP so far. Since his arrival all he has done is slash 303/345/596 with 8 HR and 24 RBI in just 24 games. He has transformed the Mets’ lineup and his ABs are worth staying tuned in for. Curtis Granderson has consistently delivered since the season started and Jeurys Familia was easily the first half MVP, but the arrival of Cespedes added that fear factor the Mets offense. I fervently hope they can find some way to keep him around.
Another potential offseason loss is Murphy. Even more so than David Wright, Murphy epitomizes the sojourn this team has been on since 2008, which was his rookie year. Who ever would have thought that all of those efforts to shoehorn him into the lineup would be paying off the way they are now? (Just keep him out of leftfield). His collaboration with Carlos Torres on that grounder in the 10th inning last night will live on highlight films for years. Plus, Murph is really fired up, which is rarity for any Met player ever (the team has almost always played with a kind of quiet reservation, both in good times and bad) and his exuberance is fun to watch.
So, a sweep in Philadelphia and now a home stand against Boston and these same Phils. Just in case you haven’t noticed, these are not the 2007-08 Phillies anymore. And FWIW, I don’t think the 2015 Washington Nationals are the 2007-08 Phillies either. But, we’ll be finding that out soon enough!
LGM. And, sound off below.