Coming into this past weekend’s much-anticipated Subway Series match-up with the hated Yankees, the Mets were six games above .500 and near the top of the NL East, hanging around the leading Washington Nationals. Of course, the weekend’s proceedings didn’t go exactly to the Mets’ plan, in fact, they didn’t match one bit of the Mets’ plan heading into the series. Even with a series loss to Washington, the Mets were riding high, way above the expectations bestowed upon them before this season began. Prior to the Mets taking the field this season in a regular season game, ESPN had them as the MLB’s 27th-best team, five spots behind the Twins, three behind the Cubs, and one behind the Padres.
Now, on June 11th, roughly 60-62 games into the season for most teams, the Twins are 24-35, the Cubs are 20-40, and the Padres are 20-41. The Mets? The Mets are 32-29, well ahead of all of the aforementioned that were projected to be better. If that doesn’t show how low the expectations were for this Mets’ season then I don’t know what does. That is what makes the Mets’ great start that much better, even with a measly three-game sweep by the Yankees that was greatly aided by the ridiculously hitter-friendly dimensions of the new Yankee Stadium.
Now, as Mets fans, we have learned from experience that this team disappoints us much more than it makes us joyous. That’s why many Met fans think that due to the team’s recent weak stretch, including losses in five of the last six games, the proverbial sky is falling and the Mets’ Cinderella story will be coming to an end soon, if it hasn’t already. However, there’s no reason to think that the Mets are finished, rather even anywhere near finished at this point of the relatively young season.
Some of you might remember that I wrote a much-maligned post a few days before the season began in which I talked about how the Mets might exceed expectations for a few reasons. The wide majority of the responses to that article were that I was being too optimistic and ignoring the fact that the Mets’ roster was simply devoid of talent. Well, of the five points I gave for holding optimism with this team, four have come true with the only exception being the Mets’ bullpen. With the offseason signings of Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch, I thought the pen would be much improved from last year but it has been the opposite instead, since the Mets’ pen is last in the MLB in ERA by a wide, wide margin.
Getting back to my original idea, the sweep the Mets suffered at the hands of the Yankees is very tough and really put a hold on the momentum the Mets had coming off Johan’s no-hitter and the team being six games above .500. Still, losing three in a row to one of the top teams in the MLB is acceptable and justifiable and considering how bad the Mets were supposed to be this season, only being 4.5 games out of first-place in the NL East after 60 games is a major success and shouldn’t be overshadowed by a stretch of bad games.
Sure, the bullpen is still awful and the lineup has more recent Buffalo Bisons than otherwise, but the Mets are still a fun, (mostly) homegrown team to watch that is shocking the baseball world with their surprise play. I implore you, fellow Mets fans, to have some hope and faith for a change and believe that this resilient bunch of ballplayers can turn the tide and snap this 1-5 stretch of play.