20/20 Hindsight: So Much For Being a Fringe Postseason Team

The Mets are seven games over .500 for the first time since May 1, 2018. Yes, that’s Two Thousand Eighteen. That’s where the Mets are after sweeping an Indians team which had apparently given the Yankees fits. This goes to show you just how well these Mets are playing right now:

1. Not too bad for a fringe postseason team, huh Cleveland?

2. One of the reasons why the Mets won this series, and one of the reasons why they have been winning games in the second half is how clutch they have been. Specifically, by wRC+, the Mets offense is the second best in the Majors in the second half from the seventh inning on.

3. The other reason is the bullpen has been terrific of late. Specifically, Justin Wilson has been great coming out of the bullpen, and he has been the guy Mickey Callaway trusts to get the Mets out of jams. For example, on Tuesday, he came into a situation with runners on first and second with one out, and he struck out Francisco Lindor and Oscar Mercado.

4. Wilson bailed Steven Matz out of a jam. This should serve to at least partially vindicate Callaway’s decision in Atlanta.

5. Matz is once again on one of those rolls where it seems he is one of the aces on this staff. In the second half, he’s 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA, 1.056 WHIP, and a 4.75 K/BB. Ultimately, this is what Matz can be when he’s used properly by the manager, and he is spinning that curveball.

6. With his great pitching and Wilson bailing him out, Matz would get the win. He also got the win because Michael Conforto hit a huge go-ahead homer in the sixth.

7. As impressive as that homer was, Conforto did something all the more impressive the following day. He visited a children’s hospital to read to pediatric cancer patients, give them better hospital gowns, and overall just spend time with them. Stuff like that will always be more impressive than anything he does on the field.8

8. This really has become a team you enjoy rooting for game-in and game-out. Conforto gives time to pediatric cancer patients. Matz does all that work for first responders. Todd Frazier helped build a special needs baseball field in his home town. The list of the charitable endeavors from these players goes on and on.

9. With respect to Frazier, Gary Disarcina isn’t a very good third base coach. His send of Frazier on the wet dirt with Tyler Naquin‘s cannon in left was plain dumb, especially when he knows the Mets were going to pinch hit for Jeurys Familia in that spot.

10. Familia has been great of late, and he looks more and more like he should be reinserted into the closer’s role on the nights the Mets aren’t going to Seth Lugo to close it all out.

11. The Mets bullpen is emerging as the best in the National League right now. Lugo is the best reliever. With Familia, Wilson, and Brad Brach, they have battled tested relievers who are turning it on at the right time. Luis Avilan is as good as a LOOGY as there is right now. We’re even seeing Paul Sewald raise his game up a level.

12. The bullpen breaking out like that came at a key time as Marcus Stroman was lifted from the game due to a sore hamstring. On that note, what is it with the Mets and hamstrings of late?

13. It is good to see Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo on rehab assignments making their way back to the team. On Nimmo, he’s played three games in four days indicating his return is all the more close. When the Mets are healthy, they are going to have some interesting lineup decisions.

14. While we should be excited about the McNeil and Nimmo rehab appearances, the Jed Lowrie rehab assignment seems more like one of those old David Wright “rehab assignments.” Lowrie has only served as a DH, and Callaway has said they are doing that to play it safe. That doesn’t exactly sound like a guy charging his way back to the team.

15. With how great Juan Lagares has been playing of late, the Mets are probably best served platooning Todd Frazier and Joe Panik with McNeil bouncing between second and third. When Stroman pitches, the Mets should probably keep Frazier and Panik on the infield with McNeil in the outfield to optimize the outfield defense.

16. You can understand riding out this J.D. Davis hot streak for as long as it goes, but when this team is fully healthy, he belongs on the bench because Conforto and Nimmo are simply better baseball players.

17. When Davis made that catch in left field, there were memories of Mike Baxter, and it made you think for a second Noah Syndergaard was going to pitch that perfect game.

18. Syndergaard has been great of late, and he is giving Jacob deGrom a run for his money as to who the best ptcher is on this staff right now. Syndergaard is currently on a stretch where he has eight straight quality starts. In that stretch, he has a 1.82 ERA, 0.976 WHIP, and a 9.1 K/9. This is exactly what he was in 2016.

19. Here’s a fun and interesting thought: With the way the Mets starters are pitching, who do you possibly remove from the rotation when the Mets face off against the Dodgers in the NLDS?

20. The Mets have an opportunity to slay a lot of demons from the late nineties in this weekend series against the Braves. While the Braves may have a Freddie Freeman, they no longer have Chipper Jones or Brian Jordan. To that end, the Mets no longer have Armando Benitez or Mel Rojas. This should (hopefully) be a fun series.

5 thoughts on “20/20 Hindsight: So Much For Being a Fringe Postseason Team”

  1. bloomonthetweet says:

    Really enjoy these posts. My thoughts:

    1. Cleveland is more fringe than we are. All we heard for the last month was that the Mets got good against bad teams. But when you look around the league – there are awful teams everywhere that division leaders are getting fat against. Cleveland is 27-14 against KC, Chicago, and Detroit, accounting for 13 of the 20 games over .500 they sit, just to cite one example (7-6 against the Twins). The Yankees – 17-2 against the orioles. Meanwhile, the NL East has one doormat and a bunch of contenders. Mets need to take it to the phillies in the remaining 6 games to make up for that awful June stretch, but they’ve more than held their own against the Braves, and have somewhat owned the Nats this year.

    2. Offense has been fairly consistent all year, and especially late and clutch situations. Bullpen took some late game rallies away in June.

    3. Yup

    4 & 5. Still think he should have sent Matz out to start the 7th with Lugo ready to come in if Donaldson got on (or hit one out). Lugo hadn’t warmed up enough. But yeah – Matz has shown this before, just gotta get him consistent. He looks really confident right now.

    6, 7, 8. They are a great group of guys, and something about having a lot of local kids on the team makes it even easier to root for them, and has certainly brought out the best in Panik.

    9. Thought it was the right call to send him in that situation. Trust your pen, try to add to the lead. Force the other team to make a perfect throw/play. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. (on the other hand, I thought having Panik bunt the other night was the wrong move, even though it DID work out ultimately.)

    10. I like Lugo and Diaz splitting the closing duties (from everything I’ve been reading the last few days, the Mets are really optimistic Diaz is about to take off. Too bad he didn’t get the chance last night). Familia should be where he was signed to be – the 8th.

    11. I am also extremely confident in just about anyone coming in right now because they seem to be coming in at the right times and being used correctly (although Avilan is still pitching to too many RH). Wilson, Avilan, and Brach give you great matchup options in the 7th and Sewald/Flexen can handle multiple innings in blowouts or if we’re behind, or in extra innings).

    12. Ready to see Stroman dominate a game. Cubs are bad on the road. Maybe his next start will be the one. Team seems to play really well behind him though.

    13, 14, 15. Becoming more and more obvious that Frazier is the odd man out when McNeil and Nimmo come back, but I like your solution of platooning Panik and Frazier. I think you meant solidify the INFIELD defense when Stroman is pitching right?

    16. You cannot take JD out of the lineup now for any reason, at least not at home. When Nimmo comes back, perhaps they platoon in Left with Lagares in Center. Whatever they do, guys are going to have a chance to get rest and rotate in and out, and the Mets bench is going to be strong every single game with some combination of Nimmo/Panik/Frazier/Davis replacing Altherr, Guillorme, etc…

    17. That catch was ridiculous.

    18. Noah is definitely stepping up. As good a 1-2 combo with DeGrom as there is in baseball, including Scherzer/Strasburg and Verlander/Cole, and Ryu/Buehler

    19. Right now – Wheeler and Stroman are 4 and 5, but Matz does have some brief bullpen experience. Hard to say. Might depend on matchups. If DeGrom is lined up to start the wild card, then I’d go with Noah game 1 and (right now) Matz game 2. Maybe you piggy back Wheeler and Stroman in game 3 before DeGrom gets in for Game 4. If the Mets were to lose the first 2 though, you have to get DeGrom in there on short rest for a must win game 3.

    20. I think the citi magic continues against the Braves who are really banged up right now. We’re winning the first 2 games, and let the chips fall where they will for game 3. Then we’re sweeping the Cubs for an 8-1 or 9-0 home stand.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Thank you for the kind words.

      As long as Davis hits like he’s been, you keep him in the lineup. That said, when his numbers normalize, you have to take him out because he’s a real liability in the field.

  2. David Klein says:

    JD Davis’ statcast numbers say he’s a top thirty hitters in the sport

  3. metsdaddy says:

    I’m deleting this comment for crossing a line in how you address me.

    You can be stupid all you want but be civil on your complete stupidity.

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