In case you’ve been living under a rock, the New York Mets are off to the best start in baseball. The Mets are 10-1 and riding an eight game winning streak, shocking many throughout the country who assumed the National League East was Washington’s to lose. The Nationals are not only off to a slow start, going 6-6 over their first 12 games, but they trail the Mets by 4.5 games in the standings and were swept by them (at home no less) last week.
The incredible thing is that the Mets are off to a 10-1 start and they haven’t even played that well. The Mets could have easily lost several games during their current winning streak, but their resilience and belief in each other has led to a propensity for rallies. Here are a few of the ways that the Mets may be able to get even better over the course of the season.
The Starting Pitching Will Improve:
The strength of the Mets is their starting pitching, and it has been solid so far, but the unit has a lot of room to improve. Aces Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom have been sluggish so far, but they are near locks to improve as the weather gets warmer. The Mets also haven’t gotten much length from their starters, with Zack Wheeler’s turn against the Miami Marlins last Wednesday marking the first time they had a starter pitch into the seventh inning. As the starters start getting into a groove and work deeper into games, it will provide more rest for a surprisingly dominant bullpen.
The Long Balls Will Start To Add Up:
The Mets have a lineup that is loaded with power hitters, but they haven’t received much power production in the early going. As a team, the Mets have only slugged 11 homers in their first 11 games, but have managed to score 55 runs in the process. The offensive production has come from extra aggressiveness on the basepaths, as the Mets are stretching singles into doubles and going first to third far more often than they did in the Terry Collins era. The Mets are learning how to manufacture their runs right now, a useful skill that will be supplemented once the balls start flying out of the park.
Several Offensive Stars Are Off To Quiet Starts:
It’s hard to believe that a 10-1 team would have several cold hitters, but that is the case for the Mets. Yoenis Cespedes is batting .178 and is mired in a 3 for 27 skid as he battles through flu-like symptoms. Todd Frazier is batting .222 and has yet to homer this year while Jay Bruce is batting .256 with only one home run and six RBI’s. A key to the Mets’ success has been contributions from nearly everyone on the roster, with guys like Adrian Gonzalez (.296/1/8), Asdrubal Cabrera (.333/3/5), and Michael Conforto (.333/1/3) chipping in. The Mets have also come through in clutch situations, with two of Cespedes’ three hits in his slump being game winners.
It’s hard to believe that a team built on starting pitching and the home run is 10-1 without a ton in either department, but that is the story of the 2018 Mets right now. The Mets are a very good team that is gelling very well and taking care of business one game at a time. Even if they played .500 ball the rest of the way, the Mets would end up with 86 wins and be right in the mix for a playoff berth. Once the offense and starting pitching really kick into high gear, this Mets’ team could be something special to watch.