New York Mets Off to Adequate Start

Just two weeks into the season, and there are already quite a few questions surrounding the New York Mets.

First and foremost, there were questions about the health of the starting rotation prior to the season. Seth Lugo and Steven Matz have yet to see any time on the mound due to injuries. Robert Gsellman has struggled thus far in his first full season. Fortunately, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom have been very good, as expected. Matt Harvey, recovering from surgery to resolve his thoracic outlet syndrome, has looked like the Harvey of old with his 97 MPH fastball. Zack Wheeler, pitching in his first season since 2014 due to Tommy John surgery, has also been solid despite not pitching deep into games.

Most teams would be thrilled to have Syndergaard, deGrom and Harvey at the top of their rotation and not be too concerned with the other two starters, but the Mets rely so heavily on their pitching that it’s almost a must to send out a reliable starter on a daily basis. It is still early and Gsellman has plenty of time to bounce back. Lugo and Matz began throwing back on Wednesday, although there is no timetable for their return.

The offense has picked up where they left off from last season in the sense that the team still hits a lot of home runs and is incredibly inconsistent. The difference is that, this time around, that’s not all they do. The Mets are currently second in the National League in home runs and tied for fourth in runs scored, whereas last year they ranked second in home runs and 11th in runs scored.

But there are some concerns offensively speaking. Jose Reyes has been dreadful thus far and is the only base stealing threat on the team, so due to his struggles the Mets have a grand total of two stolen bases this season. Then there is the question of Michael Conforto, who is having a fantastic start to the season and has come up with some clutch hits, yet he is still not starting on a consistent basis. The argument can be made that there isn’t a spot for him, as Jay Bruce has been surprisingly good so far and Yoenis Cespedes is still Yoenis Cespedes.

That leaves Curtis Granderson, a veteran leader on the team and the best option in center field on a squad filled with corner outfielders. But Granderson has struggled to start the season and Conforto has proven he can play in center. At just 24 years old, Conforto could be a key piece to the lineup for years to come and he should be playing every day over the 36-year-old Granderson.

The Mets currently have a record of 8-7, with a majority of those wins coming against the rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. The team’s first challenge will come when they face the Washington Nationals at home this weekend and then again in the nation’s capital the following weekend. It’s early in the season, but a win against their main competitor in the division counts as much now as it will in September. If the Mets want to regain the National League East crown this season they can’t take any games against the Nats for granted, not even in April.

Jay Bruce
Despite almost being traded in the offseason, Jay Bruce has proven his worth thus far with a .309 batting average and six home runs. Photo courtesy of Flickr user slgckgc.

Always True to the Orange and Blue

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A face I make quite frequently when watching the Mets play. This was taken at a Subway Series game in July 2011, which the Mets actually came back to win.
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A picture I took of Citi Field back in 2010 when the Mets hosted a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

My New York Mets fandom goes back to 2008. My friend and his brother had extra tickets to a game between the Mets and San Francisco Giants, so me and my dad went with them. Johan Santana was pitching, so there was a bit of electricity in the air. We all sat through an hour rain delay but stuck around to see the Mets win 5-0; Ramon Castro hit a home run and since the crowd cleared out a bit due to the rain, we all moved down to the front row, put our legs on the railing and ate hot dogs with the New York skyline in the background.

That was the night I fell in love with the Mets and baseball in general, and in a fairy-tale world it would have been my first Mets game ever and set a trend of seeing many Mets victories with my friends and father. But my first Mets game was John Franco bobblehead day back in 2003, when the Amazins’ played a doubleheader against the Seattle Mariners. The Mets lost the first game 13-1 and the second game 7-0. That set the trend of enduring through many tough years with this team.

I was crushed at the end of the 2008 season when the Mets went through their second-straight late season collapse. I was even more disappointed watching the Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series that October. Still, I couldn’t get enough of my new found love of baseball. My father bought me a book that winter that chronicled every World Series that tok place from 1903 to 2008. I read that thing cover to cover dozens of times, I basically became a little baseball historian at the age of 12.

Even though 2008 was the last relevant season for the Mets for quite a while, my love for baseball kept growing and growing. I can still tell you who won every World Series every year and many other baseball facts and statistics that serve no purpose whatsoever. But this love for the game opened my eyes up to the entire sports world, and it has led me down my current career path.

Since attending college, sports have expanded from just a hobby to my professional life. I’m the sports editor of my campus’ newspaper and I also intern with my school’s sports information office. Last summer, I had the chance to work with NYU and Baruch College’s Athletic Communications Departments. I still have about a year and a half left of college, and there’s no telling where I’ll end up once I graduate. But if things go well and I end up with a job that is related to sports in some fashion, it can all be traced back to that rainy July night in 2008.

Just as sports have become a part of my professional life, the Mets have started to become competitive again. Seeing the team go on their magical run in 2015 after only experiencing mediocrity was indescribable. Even though they fell short in the World Series, that team will always have a special place in my heart. Having seen them lose way more than I

have seen them win has made me a very unspoiled fan. I’m just happy that the Mets have put a winning product on the field and made the playoffs the past two years, and hopefully it will become three-straight playoff appearances in 2017. But with that being said, getting to experience this team winning a championship would evoke a feeling in me that I’m sure I can’t currently fathom.

There will be a lot of Mets stuff on this blog, but there will also be plenty of general baseball topics. I have such a passion and appreciation for the game and its history, and this is where you can see how much of a psychotic baseball fan I am.