Going into the break, the New York Mets looked like a team destined to be sellers. Before the club’s first game of the second half on Friday, general manager Sandy Alderson confirmed the team would almost certainly sell at the deadline unless they begin to play “exceedingly well.”
In the first couple games of the latter half of the season, the Mets have played exceedingly well. Winning the first two games of their three game series against the Colorado Rockies, the Mets have outscored Colorado 23-5 on the strength of a potent offense and stellar outings from both Jacob deGrom and Seth Lugo.
What will it take for the Mets to continue this success and turn their season around? It all begins with the starting pitching. While scoring 23 runs through two games was very impressive, almost more impressive were the performances of the Mets’ two starters.
On Friday, deGrom allowed an unearned run in the first and then coasted through the remainder of the game. He went on to throw eight innings of two-run ball, finishing with 11 strikeouts while allowing only four hits and one walk en route to his 10th win of the year. Lugo shined on Saturday, allowing only three runs with two walks and five punch outs over 6.2 innings, while also crushing his first career home run.
If the Mets expect to see any kind of sustained success in the second half of the season, they will need to continue to get these kind of starts from their pitchers on a regular basis. New York currently holds a 4.87 team ERA, good for third worst in the majors.
Some of this falls on the bullpen, which has been less than stellar outside of Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins. However, if the Mets can continue to get more length out of their starters, it decreases the need to use some of the lesser talent in the pen.
The Mets have done a much better job of this since the return of Lugo and Steven Matz, who have both averaged over six innings per start over their six games back from the disabled list. Hopefully sooner rather than later, the Mets will be getting some reinforcements to aid in this category.
In the aforementioned press conference by Alderson, he discussed the injury status of a few of the guys currently on the disabled list. He told the media that Jeurys Familia has already begun a throwing program, and that Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey are close to being cleared to throw. Josh Smoker, he also mentioned, should be activated in less than a week.
While Syndergaard and Harvey are still both probably a month or so away from returning to major league games, it is still a positive for the team knowing that at the very least help is on the way. Having these two guys back in the rotation will be a huge boost for the team in their quest for a playoff spot.
In the meantime, if the Mets can stay hot, they just might be able to to resurrect a season that seemed doomed from the start.
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