Nine days ago Mets fans had a glimmer of optimism. Three key players had returned from the disabled list and we won a series against the defending world champs, following taking three out of four from the Braves on the road. That seems like ages ago as we’ve since gotten punched in the face by the far superior looking Nationals and Dodgers while also losing five players to the DL. Seems as good a time as ever to give up and start talking about selling parts at the trade deadline and planning for 2018, right? Not this guy. There are still 90 games left in this long season so fasten your seat belts, there’s still a glimmer of hope.
We made the playoffs last year with 87 wins. To get there we have to go 55-35 the rest of the way – not impossible. One game at a time, right? The schedule is about to soften with the next nine games against the struggling Giants, Marlins and Phillies, before we get another crack at the Nationals and then a three game series at St. Louis.If we can go on a bit of a hot streak to close out the first half, we can get back to, or close to .500. Then we get a four-day break for the All-Star game – a chance to rest and regroup. We should kick off the second half with a wave of players coming off the DL, including at least three of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, and Neil Walker. If we’re at or over .500 by late July, Sandy Alderson will be in buyer mode and get us the bullpen piece we desperately need – namely an upgrade over Fernando Salas.
Amed Rosario should finally be up by then and that will give the defense alone a huge boost, not to mention the team a shot of energy and the fans something to get really excited about. This will allow us to upgrade at shortstop and third base because, presumably, Asdrubal Cabrera can’t be worse at the hot corner than Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera have been. It will give us a chance to audition Cabrera for next year when he has a team option.
The August schedule is a mixed bag of good teams (Rockies, Dodgers, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Nationals) and bad (Rangers, Phillies, Marlins, Reds). With a little hope and luck we might get Jeurys Familia and/or Noah Syndergaard back for the stretch run, plus, beginning September 1, a few extra bench bats and arms from Las Vegas, including 2018 first baseman Dominic Smith. The end of season schedule is again loaded with games against division teams and since three out of four of our rivals stink, we’ve got a shot for a strong finish. If you’re looking for precedent, look back no further than last year, the year before, and, of course, 1973. The Mets have had strong finishes. Stick with them. Ya gotta believe.