COMMENTARY | There's life in these New York Mets after all.
Over the course of six days, seven games, and two cities, the Mets made a case that, if nothing else, they're at least a team worth paying attention to over the last 90 games of the season.
The mood hasn't been this positive around the club since they swept a four-game series against the Yankees late last month. Yet, we all remember what happened after that. The Mets were swept against the Miami Marlins immediately after the series with their crosstown rivals, and they ended up losing 11 out of their next 14 games.
It's imperative that the Mets don't come out flat beginning tonight when they play two in Chicago against the White Sox, then head to Colorado for a makeup game against the Rockies on Thursday, before they come home and play the Washington Nationals this weekend. They might be 12 games under .500 (30-42), but they were a lot worse off a week ago. It's the Mets' job to keep this positive momentum going.
The Mets have won six of their last nine games after winning consecutive series against the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies (three wins in Atlanta and two more over the weekend in Philadelphia).
The positive vibe started a week ago with the Mets' doubleheader sweep over the Braves, when Matt Harvey struck out 13 and Zack Wheeler pitched six scoreless innings in his major league debut.
Against the Phillies, the Mets continued their mini run with a win on Friday night and one more on Sunday afternoon. Even in defeat, there were positives. On Saturday, trailing 7-1, the Mets came back to tie it up in the ninth inning, only to lose on a Kevin Frandsen home run in the bottom half of the inning.
No need to worry, though, because the Mets sent Harvey, their ace pitcher, to the mound on Sunday. Harvey won for the second consecutive start, pitching six shutout innings and allowing just two hits.
But his performance was overshadowed -- if you can believe that -- by the captain, David Wright, who went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, and a home run.
Quietly, Wright is having himself a very good year. He's batting .309 with 12 home runs and 41 runs batted in. He had 13 hits and three homers on the just-concluded eight-game road trip.
And then there's the youth movement -- the Mets' version at least. Whether these guys are around for the long haul or not, the Mets would be wise to use this time to get an everyday look at outfielders Juan Lagares (eight hits on the road trip), Eric Young Jr. (eight hits, three doubles, and five RBIs as a Met), Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and even Jordany Valdespin. They have the luxury of doing so because of injuries to Lucas Duda and Justin Turner (both on the disabled list) and the demotion of Ike Davis.
Speaking of Davis, he was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week, hitting .474 with four home runs in six games. He could rejoin the team on Thursday in Colorado.
The Mets aren't going anywhere this year. I think we all get that. But this is about generating some positive feelings around the club and looking forward to 2014 and beyond.
If nothing else, a 1-2 punch of Harvey and Wheeler at the top of the rotation is a great place to start.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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