Not very often is an 11-game West Coast swing the cure for what ails a team but that seems to be the case with the 2012 Mets. After opening the second half with a 1-11 record, thanks to a bullpen that contributed mightily to an 0-4 mark in one-run games along with two other losses in extra innings, the Mets have gone 6-4 in their first 10 games against the NL West.
With their closer back, their one-batter LOOGY on the DL and the manager’s willingness to finally limit the PA for their LF with the fork sticking out of his back – it’s easy to fall in love with this team all over again. So, here’s a quick rundown on the 25 guys currently on the roster.
Feel Good Guys
Ike Davis – In his last 50 games has a .908 OPS despite a .264 BABIP.
Daniel Murphy – Has stayed healthy at 2B and provided a nice offensive player.
David Wright – Would be an MVP candidate if the Mets had a better bullpen in July.
Ruben Tejada – All he does is hit line drives.
Scott Hairston – Has a .937 OPS versus LHP.
Justin Turner – Has found his niche as a PH and still has the knack for driving in runs.
Ronny Cedeno – A .788 OPS from our backup MI – yes, please.
Mike Baxter – A body-sacrificing catch to save a no-hitter and a .425 OBP – double yes.
R.A. Dickey – First in Wins (14), first in Strikeouts (156), fourth in ERA (2.82)
Jonathon Niese – Perhaps this will be the year he doesn’t fall apart in August.
Chris Young – Doesn’t get enough credit for coming back from his shoulder injury.
Matt Harvey – His high heat has been a refreshing change for a Mets SP.
Jeremy Hefner – The numbers say “blah” but I like how he has pitched.
Frank Francisco – 10 Saves in his last 15 Games with a 1.20 ERA.
Josh Edgin – A lefty reliever who doesn’t piss his pants if a RHB steps to the plate.
Guys Who Could Move Up or Down
Josh Thole – Has not been the same since his concussion but perhaps all he needs is an offseason of rest.
Jordany Valdespin – While others see the excitement he offers, I just see the .289 OBP.
Rob Johnson – Maybe he should be Harvey’s personal catcher.
Ramon Ramirez – I had such high hopes for him and he’s been so … uninspiring.
Bobby Parnell – If only we could accept him for the setup man he is…
Jon Rauch – Was brutal for an extended stretch but Terry Collins wringing use out of him lately.
Manny Acosta – Earned his DFA earlier but bullpen solidified upon his return
Guys Who Need To Be Gone
Jason Bay – Seemingly one of the good guys and someone who didn’t deserve his fate.
Andres Torres – His defense and speed look only average and his hitting is offensive in the wrong sense.
Elvin Ramirez – I was promised 98 mph and instead got 92 and a 2.167 WHIP.
The phasing out of Bay has already started and Elvin Ramirez will be gone when Tim Byrdak returns from the disabled list. I would like to promote Matt Den Dekker, play him every day in CF and tell him to just catch the ball and not worry about what he hits but it appears he has another year left before he needs to be added to the 40-man roster. So instead let’s get Valdespin a bunch of starts in center here down the stretch and have him try one drag bunt per game.
2010 Draft picks Edgin and Harvey – the final contributions from Omar Minaya – both performing so well since being called up has been a breath of fresh air and removed some of the bad feelings of the bullpen blowup and Sandy Alderson’s hand-sitting at the All-Star break. The hitting has been decent and the pitching seems to be coming back around.
Hopefully with a win today and two out of three against the Marlins – that would make the Mets 9-5 in their last 14 heading into a stretch of nine games against ATL, CIN and WSN. If the Mets survive that stretch, they will play 13 consecutive games against teams under .500 (COL-HOU-PHI-MIA). It’s not outlandish to think the Mets could be above .500 on September 1st.
Last year the Mets were 65-69 at the start of September and they figured to be much worse this year. In 2011, the Mets opened the season 5-13 before playing at a 92-win pace for 88 games until injuries and trades did them in. This year the Mets played at an 87-win pace for the first 86 games of the season before the disastrous 1-11 start to the second half.
The Beltran trade and Murphy’s season-ending injury within days of each other last year were blows from which the 2011 Mets never recovered. This year’s version has the chance to be a much more resilient squad. And with 15 feel-good guys on the roster, it’s easy to imagine them achieving more than they did a season ago.