Rooting for a second place finish
By Lisa R. Neilson
The New York Mets had something to smile about this morning: their team actually looked like a major league baseball club in their recent series against the Colorado Rockies. The sweep of the Rockies at Citi Field won’t help the Mets bring home a championship this season; but it has given them a little lift after third baseman and team captain David Wright and closer Bobby Parnell were placed on the DL last week.
A legitimate outfield. Mets fans have been waiting for a decent starting outfield all season and it looks like one has finally arrived. No, they’re not Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout or Giancarlo Stanton, but Eric Young, Jr., Juan Lagares and Marlon Byrd have been pretty impressive lately. They’ve made key plays and contributed some much-needed run production; in addition, Young and Lagares have markedly improved the Mets’ baserunning strategies with their exciting swiftness.
Matt Harvey. If you don’t know who Matt Harvey is by now, you need to do more than watch the very funny Jimmy Fallon Show video where the young ace goes undercover (view it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0D8V0dCbf8). You need to watch this guy pitch! Remember my prediction of Harvey’s first no-no coming before the All-Star break? Well that didn’t happen. But while Harvey hasn’t been perfect yet, he has been complete, nailing his first complete game in the Majors with Wednesday’s four-hit shutout. Rockies veteran first baseman Todd Helton—who has batted against a lot of pitchers in his 17-year MLB career—praised the 24 year-old righty, tagging Harvey as one of the best pitchers he’s seen in a long time. With 50 games left in the season and the high possibility of being shut down to reduce the stress on Harvey’s arm, a no-no might have to wait ‘til next year. But mark my words: it will happen.
Wilmer Flores. The Mets brought up rookie Flores to play third base Tuesday. He drove in three runs in Wednesday’s 5-0 win, getting his first standing ovation from the Citi Field fans, and is a nice addition to the lineup in David Wright’s absence. He certainly doesn’t have the power Wright has nor the experience, but Flores could prove to be a much better option than other bench players.
Dillon Gee and LaTroy Hawkins. Righty Dillon Gee has been awesome lately. Gee lacks the star power of Harvey and the unbridled potential of fellow starter Zack Wheeler but this guy has been good when the Mets have needed him to be. Gee allowed only one run yesterday and notched a 2-1 win. His record this year is 6-2 and he has pitched into the seventh inning or later in seven straight outings. And journeyman Hawkins has stepped into the closer’s spot quite well with Parnell now on the DL. He pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning yesterday to pick up his second save.
A push for a second place finish may just be in the making for this team. It would be huge for the entire organization and Mets fans everywhere. True, it may be a little premature to set our sights on the runner-up spot in the NL East; the Mets start an 11-game road trip tonight that includes series against the red hot Dodgers, the Braves, and the Tigers, respectively.
But I’m hoping our bright spots will perform like they did in the Rockies series.
My rally cap’s coming out. If you’re a Mets fan, come on and join me.
Posted on August 9, 2013, in 2013, Mets and tagged Colorado Rockies, Dillon Gee, Eric Young Jr., Juan Lagares, Marlon Byrd, Matt Harvey, New York Mets, Zack Wheeler. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.