After a 10-14 opening month filled with injuries and slumps, we thought things couldn’t get worse. Now 6-9 in May with new injuries, slumps and drama added to the mix, here we are, at 16-23. Fans and writers are talking about selling off in July, about a season going down the tubes. Relax, fellow Met fans. The season is young enough to turn it around, but it won’t be easy.
Mark June 12 on your calendar. That’s 21 games from now and when we’ll kick off a seven-game home stand against the Cubs and Nationals. If we keep on losing up until then, that could be the nail in the coffin. But it won’t be. The key is to play really well over the next 21 games. Sounds crazy? Stay with me.
The schedule is favorable. The next six are at home against the Angels and Padres, followed by a three-game series in Pittsburgh and then another seven at home against the Brewers and Pirates. Then we hit the road for two against the Rangers and three against the Braves. If we can manage to go 14-7, it would bring us back to .500. Suddenly, the season is not lost and we’re just a month away from a trade and/or the return of our ace pitcher.
Yoenis Cespedes is coming back. The offense has been pretty good without him. Inserting Cespedes into the lineup not only gives us a big threat in the middle and makes hitters around him better, but it forces Terry to not play the struggling Curtis Granderson every day. Remember how Cespedes’ return from injury sparked this team last summer? Travis d’Arnaud, Asdrubal Cabrera and even Brandon Nimmo will all be back in the next week or two so we might actually have a full-strength lineup for the first time all year – not counting David Wright, of course.
Steven Matz and Seth Lugo. Both injured pitchers are working their way back to Queens. At first blush, it would seem Matz would join the rotation while Lugo helps stretch out the bullpen, but the smarter play might be to put them both in the rotation, replacing not just Tommy Millone, but also the struggling Robert Gsellman, who still has options and could use a little fine tuning in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Zack Wheeler has looked better with each start, Matt Harvey showed signs of life in this week’s start, and Jacob deGrom seems like he’s thisclose to going from good to great again.
Is this writer optimistic? You bet. But it’s a long season and pessimism will get us nowhere.