I can’t stay quiet about this.
On Sunday Night Baseball, on national TV, I just watched the Mets finish off a sweep of the Nationals team that was picked by everyone in the world to run away with the NL East this season.
Everyone in the world was wrong.
Washington may end up winning the division, but, as of now, the Mets are tied with them atop it, and they’re not going away without a fight.
I was eight years old the last time the Mets were relevant, way back in 2008. Since then, all I’ve gotten to see has been season after season of win totals in the 70s and empty seats in Citi Field.
But that’s over now.
Sure, more fans are coming to the games, but you can figure that out from ticket sales. More important is that, for the first time in years, us fans are emotionally invested in this team.
For instance, last Wednesday night, as has been discussed countless times since then, Wilmer Flores cried on the field after hearing that he had been traded from the team he’s been part of for a third of his life.
Of course, he heard incorrectly and remained with the team, but nonetheless, Mets fans have been making it up to him. Chants and cheers have greeted him each time he’s stepped up to the plate, and on Friday night, he reciprocated.
On a 1-1 count, in the bottom of the twelfth inning, Flores slammed a walk-off home run, and the stadium erupted.
The next day, Flores went 0-4, so Lucas Duda was the hero, driving in all three Met runs with a double and a couple of solo homers.
And then Sunday night. Two outs and a man on first. Curtis Granderson hits a homer. The next pitch, Daniel Murphy does the same. And after a hit from the newly acquired Yoenis Cespedes, Duda hits yet another home run. That makes it nine home runs in his last eight games, an feat unprecedented in Mets history.
Now we have to talk about Cespedes. He’s a rental and a very good player, not a great one, but honestly, who cares? Sandy Alderson finally made the big splash that us Mets faithful have been dreaming about, proving that our pleas are not in vain, and that he’s been listening all along.
Even better, what did the Mets give up? A couple of minor league pitchers, who, even if they’re good, won’t make it onto the team because of the wealth of starting pitching the Mets currently enjoy.
Here’s a fun fact that illustrates the amazing combination of youth and talent the Mets’ starters possess. The three Mets starters over the weekend pitched 21 2/3 innings, gave up 5 earned runs, and struck out 25. Their combined age? 75.
No wonder no one wants to face the Mets in the playoffs.
In addition to Cespedes, Alderson made a couple of under-the-radar moves that improved the team, acquiring Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the Braves and Tyler Clippard from the Athletics. In both trades, Alderson gave up little of value, but added a couple of useful hitters and an elite reliever. In fact, because Jeurys Familia had pitched the last three games, Clippard earned the save in Sunday’s game.
The hitting is passable, especially now that Cespedes has been added, but at this point, they only need to score three runs to win.
With an improved lineup and dominant pitching the Mets are on the road to October baseball. And after sweeping the Nationals I think it’s now official: the Mets are back.