No team experienced more highs and lows this season than the New York Mets.
After battling injuries, battling teams with nothing to lose and sometimes even battling themselves, the Mets ultimately rose above it all to secure their spot with a wild-card berth. Now they get a fresh start.
Sure, there will still be no Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz or Zack Wheeler. There will still be no David Wright, the team’s captain, or Neil Walker, the team’s productive second baseman. But there will be a full house at Citi Field on Wednesday, and there will be hope. Hope that their remarkable journey has even more satisfying destination awaiting it.
Not only are they in the wild-card game, they’ll be hosting it on Wednesday night. With the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals battle for the second spot coming down to Sunday, it’s possible they’ll even be facing an opponent that’s worn down, while their own ace Noah Syndergaard gets some extra rest.
THE BIG TWO
They could also be known as the final two or the last men standing. However you prefer, Noah Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon have been pitching pillars while everyone else has crumbled around them. Perhaps the most important thing the Mets did all season was avoid the chaos known as baseball’s never-ending playoff scenarios. They gained separation during the final week and then finished the job on Saturday, meaning they wouldn’t have to exhaust both guys just to get in. That could pay dividends with Syndergaard now pitching the wild card game. If they get past that point, then it’s game on and some of these others factors can come into play.
THE OFFENSE IS CAPABLE
Really, it is. The Mets offense can be frustrating because of its inconsistency, but they also have veterans capable of carrying them for an entire series. Obviously, we know the impact a healthy Yoenis Cespedes can have when healthy. Then there’s Asdrubal Cabrera, who’s hit .324 since Sept. 1. After hitting .174/.252/.285 in his first 42 games with the Mets, Jay Bruce has caught fire with four homers over the final eight games. Then there’s Curtis Granderson, who always seems to do something when the lights are brightest. The Mets lineup is far from the best still playing, but it can be dangerous.
LATE INNINGS ARE LOCKED DOWN
Closer Jeurys Familia and set up man Addison Reed have been worked hard this season, appearing in a combined 158 games. As a result, they’ve had a few rough moments. Overall though, they have been a luxury, because once that gap has been bridged to the eighth, they take care of business. In fact, with his save on Wednesday, Familia became the first Dominican-born reliever to save 50 games in a season, passing Jose Valverde (2011) and Francisco Cordero (2004). As for Reed, his ERA was a sparking 1.97. They are a dynamic duo.
NOTHING TO LOSE
What more can happen to them? The injury situation has been well documented here and everywhere for that matter. They’ve overcome that. They’ve overcome being streaky. They’ve overcome Terry Collins being the target of the speculation about his job. They’ve overcome Terry Collins earning that target with some bizarre moments. How’s a matchup with Madison Bumgarner or the Chicago Cubs going to faze them now?
For all that Terry Collins does that makes us scratch our heads — including calling a P.R. man a puppy dog — there always seems to be a method to his madness. He’s probably not one of the best five managers still in the postseason. He’s certainly not the most conventional. Then again, we said the same thing about him and Ned Yost last season, and look who were the last managers standing. Don’t bet against him.
PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES:
– Chicago Cubs
– Texas Rangers
– Los Angeles Dodgers
– Washington Nationals
– Cleveland Indians
– Boston Red Sox
– Baltimore Orioles
– Toronto Blue Jays
– San Francisco Giants
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –