If you can’t tell by now, the New York Mets are BACK. They’ve won 17 out of the last 19 games, and are now only a game out of the second National League Wild Card spot.
Their bullpen has had the fourth best ERA in the league since the All-Star break, guys like J.D. Davis and Todd Frazier have been stepping up with big time hits against the Nationals, who they took two of three from last weekend. But how do they sustain this? Here are three ways for the New York Mets to have continued success and make a run at the playoffs.
For starters, keep Edwin Diaz away from the closer role for the time being. Seth Lugo had a streak of 26 consecutive batters retired, basically not allowing a hit for close to a month. Lugo can also go multiple innings, and has been nasty. Unfortunately, Diaz has not been what he was last year when he lead all of baseball in saves. His slider is all over the place, which is a pitch that was vital to his success. If his struggles continue, a brief demotion to Triple-A may be in the cards in order for him to get himself right. He must get his confidence back. But until then, Seth Lugo is the closer.
Although catching is practically a two man position in baseball now, Wilson Ramos must play as much as possible down the stretch, and it is not for his defense. Ramos is a much better hitter than backup Tomas Nído is. Ramos is hitting .270 on the year and .333 with runners in scoring position. Where Nído is nowhere near that. Even though Ramos has been below average behind the dish this year, his bat is too valuable to lose. With the Mets heading to Kansas City at the end of the week, Nído can see some time behind the plate, giving Ramos time to rest and stay in the line up as a DH. Ramos is a guy that has been one of the most consistent bats all season, and he must stay in the line up game in and game out.
The last and most important key to the Mets success down the stretch, is for manager Mikey Callaway to trust his guys. The young core of guys right now are the guys who have gotten them to this point, and are the guys who will continue to be successful. The under the radar additions of Brad Brach and Joe Panik could be valuable, and add to the success, but the core of Alonso, McNeil, Rosario, Davis, and Conforto, along with the starting rotation are going to be the key to their success. Callaway does not need to get cute. As the old saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
The New York Mets are the hottest team in baseball since the All-Star Break. Bringing in Marcus Stroman at the deadline proved they’re all in, and so far it has paid off. With this hot streak getting them going once again, they must build off of it from here, if they trust their guys, and do the little things right, there is no doubt there will be October baseball in Queens.