There are so many things that need to break right for the New York Mets during the 2012 season in order for them to get to the playoffs. Quite frankly, I do not care about the division. Give me the wildcard and I can live with that. Here are just ten things that could help this team get to October. I could also add that I will watch more games religiously because they win more when I watch them.
10. Phillies need to show their age through injuries.
We all know the Philadelphia Phillies are the new geriatric team in the NL East. With Ryan Howard out for at least two months and Chase Utley out indefinitely, if the Mets can make some dents into what is still considered to be among the best rotations in baseball, the Mets could make some headway.
9. The Marlins need to underachieve, a la Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite the additions of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell, there are question marks. Will Carlos Zambrano self destruct? Will Hanley Ramirez fail to make the adjustment at third base? Will Reyes land on the disabled list again? If any of these questions are answered with a “yes”, expect the Mets to move up in the standings.
8. Timely hitting would be a welcomed change.
The Mets have been struggling for a few years with runners in scoring position. Last year, David Wright had an average of .255. While it may not seem too bad, you have to think of the type of player he is being paid to be. He is supposed to be one of the clutch hitters. Carlos Beltran had a .310 average.
Citi Field has hardly been home field advantage for a team the ballpark was built around. The only players to have truly benefited from the monstrous dimensions were Reyes and the pitchers. With the walls now lower and brought in, hitters like Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Wright should now be able to show their power. Those three should hit at least 30 home runs each.
6. Mike Pelfrey needs to be the pitcher from 2010.
It was not that long ago when Pelfrey had a 15 win record with a 3.66 ERA, his lowest. In 2011, he was tagged as the ace of this staff. The pressure was on him. I think with Johan Santana back, some of that pressure to perform has been lifted and Pelfrey just might surprise some people this season.
5. Mets fans must support this team.
Everyone performs a little better when they know there are people who believe in them. The same is said for this team. With the fan base behind them, they will feed off of that energy. Try going to a game or two or three this year.
4. Mets players need to remain healthy through the entire season, or at the very least most of the season.
Between the front offices, coaches and fans, everyone is walking on eggshells whenever the players hit the field. They hold their breath in hopes nobody will get injured. In 2011, at least seven players were hurt, including every starter in the infield.
3. The New York Mets need to be themselves.
The talent is there. Ruben Tejada can play defensively, in his own way. Davis, Duda, Murphy and Wright can handle the offense. With the rotation geared up with Santana, R.A. Dickey (3.28) and Jonathon Niese (now with a cutter), the pitching is good. Every player needs to perform to their ability.
2. Start the season strong.
The Mets are playing five series in April against division rivals. This is the perfect opportunity to make some headway early on. All they have to do after that is maintain their place in the standings. With Santana leading the charge, it looks hopeful.
1. Johan Santana needs to remain healthy.
Everyone is celebrating the return of Johan Santana. With his return comes an Ace of not just the staff, but the entire team. The players will feed off of his wins. Not only is he a great leader, but he is the perfect teacher for Niese.