The New York Mets are suddenly Major League Baseball National League playoff contenders. Let me say that once more: The New York Mets are suddenly Major League Baseball National League playoff contenders.
If you shut the book on the MLB season due to some of the abysmal baseball teams calling themselves big league clubs – paging the Baltimore Orioles – then you have missed out on some exciting games. To say all of MLB is exciting right now would be wrong. There are some awful teams. Yet, somehow the Mets have turned things around as the business end of the season has crept up on us.
As I write this, the Mets are just 2.0 game out of a wild card place. They have made up 2.0 games since the beginning of August. On July 1, New York was 7.0 full games back of a wild card place. While not out at the time, fans were look toward next season as “the year” the Mets would return to the postseason.
Now, it could happen in 2019, but how have the Mets turned their season around?
The Mets have gone from being baseball corpses to being the most talked about team in baseball. New York fired pitching coach Dave Eiland and bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez after the All-Star break. Things were chaotic behind the scenes as manager Mickey Callaway and general manager Brodie van Wagenen were making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
One of the big things the Mets did at the trade deadline was actually something they didn’t do. Wagenen resisted selling off his pitchers for promising prospects who may never turn out to be big league stars. Too often non-playoff bound teams trade away their best players hoping to contend later on. Yet, time and again it doesn’t work. The Mets held onto their arms and even add one.
One of the biggest additions the Mets made was that of Marcus Stroman. The pitcher arrived from the Toronto Blue Jays and left baseball pundits scratching their heads that he didn’t land with the New York Yankees nor the Houston Astros. Yet, the fallout of Stroman not going to the Yankees or Astros shows just how wrong MLB pundits get things.
Instead of using the trade deadline to offload unwanted stars and tank the rest of the season, the Mets used it for the right reason. They acquired a player to transform them from an also-ran to a contender.
Can the Mets make the playoffs? It is difficult to say right now as there are 43 games left in the season. The Mets have put together an unreal 21-8 record since the All-Star Game.
New York may be 2.0 game out of the wild card race as I write this, but they could still catch the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. Just 9.0 games separate them from winning the NL East. Can they do it? It would be an Amazin’ Met moment if they do.