This article was originally published in The New Paltz Oracle.
The New York Mets are doing something they have done time and time again; enter a season with very high expectations only to see a majority of their star players get hurt, drama ensuing in the clubhouse and hovering around .500 while their top division rival, the Washington Nationals, hold one of the best record in baseball despite having an underwhelming offseason.
As an added bonus, the hated New York Yankees, in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, are off to a fantastic 21-10 start and have seen some of their young players, such as Aaron Judge, already emerge as stars.
This is what you get when you make the questionable choice to become a Mets fan, a life of disappointment while watching the teams you hate the most succeed. What has happened so far this season is something Mets fans are used to, it’s just more head shaking.
After losing a then-10 of 11, seeing their best hitter in Yoenis Cespedes land on the disabled list, Matt Harvey start on a day he was not expected to start and Noah Syndergaard insist he didn’t need an MRI, the Mets bounced back to win the first two games of a weekend series on the road against the Nationals. But instead of completing the sweep, the Mets lost an embarrassing 23-5 game that saw Syndergaard leave early with a partially torn lat muscle. He isn’t expected to return until after the All-Star break.
The latest mess saw Harvey get suspended by the club for three days and fined for not showing up to Citi Field a day prior to when he was scheduled to start, due to a late night out and playing golf. He has since apologized to the organization. But this caused him to miss a start that saw his replacement, Adam Wilk, who has since been claimed off waivers, get smacked around in a game the Mets lost 7-0.
It’s difficult to see the positives of this team with all of the nonsense and injuries going on, but as an ignorant, optimistic, diehard Mets fan I’m not calling this a lost season yet.
It is still very early in the year and no team’s season has ever been determined by the first six weeks. It has been an up and down six weeks, but the year has just begun. Do you know who had the best record in the American League on May 11 last year? The Chicago White Sox. Do you know where they finished? Fourth-place in their division with a 78-84 record. There is still plenty of time for teams to turn things around and others to come back down to Earth.
There are also reinforcements that will slowly be making their way back within the next month. Steven Matz, Seth Lugo and Lucas Duda may all be back with the team by the end of May, with Duda possibly coming back as soon as this weekend. There’s also the fact that two of the Mets’ biggest prospects, Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario, have been tearing it up at Triple-A and we may see them in the majors sooner rather than later.
It’s also worth noting that despite all of the craziness going on, the Mets are still in second place in the National League East. There is a large gap between them and the Nationals, but they won’t have to worry about having to leapfrog the Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves if things play out.
In terms of a wild card berth, I don’t expect the likes of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers or Cincinnati Reds to still be contenders too deep into the season. There are only a handful of contenders in the National League and the Mets can reestablish themselves as one of them very easily.
The Mets have not gotten off to a good start to their season, but that doesn’t mean their year is over. However, changing things up may not be such a bad idea to turn this team around. Terry Collins has done a lackluster job with the team so far and it may finally come time to bring in a new manager. Maybe bringing up and starting some younger guys and changing the lineup is the answer, it has worked well with Michael Conforto. Or it is possible that the team just has to tread water until they get all of their stars back and then have a very strong second half to make a playoff push. The team could also just pile on another disappointing season, that’s certainly a possibility.
No one can say how the rest of this team’s season will unfold, it is too early to tell. When I’m writing about them again four months from now I may be talking about how the Mets are in the thick of a pennant race, or how they are finishing off an incredibly disappointing season. We’ll just have to keep watching and see what happens.