There are good starts, there are 1984 Detroit Tigers starts (look it up on your own if you don’t know) and somewhere in between there is the 2015 New York Mets starts.
The Mets finished up their third consecutive home sweep of a division rival with a 6-3 win over the Braves which marked the first time in club history that the team has gone undefeated on a homestand of at least ten games and tied a club record for longest winning steak last accomplished during the 1990 season.
I don’t even know where to begin with good things. Sometimes, I let myself get carried away and start dreaming, but I remember I have to catch myself because this is still the Mets and they have a knack for letting me down just when you think it’s impossible.
I’m cautiously optimistic that the end of April won’t be the highlight of the season, but if it is, then this is a pretty damn fun highlight. Hell, it’s more than they’ve given us in past years. So far, no complaints. Hopefully, they can keep this rolling and take at least two against the Yankees this weekend. Sweeps and winning streaks are nice, but have to focus on winning the series. But more on the Yankees in a bit.
First off, let’s finish the homestand. Unbelievable. This has seriously been some fucking run. I know, I know. I’m giving you hard-hitting journalism that you won’t find anywhere else. Bartolo Colon pitched another good game, turning in six quality innings, a few wonderful at-bats and a pick-off play that will go down as one of the most glorious things I’ve ever seen in my life as he chased down a frozen AJ Pierzynski who got caught too far off first base.
It’s funny. I didn’t love the signing of Colon at first, but then figured it was done with the intent of him keeping his value high by moving to the more pitcher-friendly National League and being used to bring back prospects near the deadline. Most fans last year were either indifferent to him or wanted him off the team in favor of a younger player, but now, not only has Big Bart been invaluable during this hot start, he’s turned himself into somewhat of a cult hero amongst fans for being his own unique version of the Everyman who’s in on the joke and doesn’t take himself too seriously. His control, even in his early 40s now, is still impeccable and his ability to change speeds to match his location is a much different look than anything else you’ll see in the Mets rotation. For all the complaining about not wanting him to be the starter on Opening Day, Bartolo has been a revelation as his record now stands at 4-0 with a sub 3.00 ERA.
The Wilmer Flores haters have grown pretty quiet as the Mets started to string together a few wins together, eh? He still has a long way to go to make this a successful first, full season in the bigs, but a solid homestand with three big home runs have given him the ability to breathe for a bit and just play the game.
We all know by now that I’m at the forefront of the “LET WILMER TRY” (#LWT) campaign and up to this point, I feel like I’ve been justified. In the world we live in, we demand immediate results. Quicker internet, faster access to information. People need to remember that baseball can’t be judged over one game or even one week. Wilmer’s still a kid and learning to play at the big league level and needs to be given time to make adjustments and become a player. If he can stay consistent with the bat like he has up to this point and just make the routine plays at short, he’ll be just fine. Yeah, he may not be Troy Tulowitzki, but only one team has a Tulo. The team playing well almost gives Flores some shade to hide under and improve, make adjustments and learn while on the job.
Daniel Murphy has had an atrocious start to the season, but came through with a bases-clearing double in the first inning off Julio Teahran and had the Braves behind the 8-Ball from the start. It could just be a case of Murph still finding his swing after missing most of spring training, but he’s looked just awful quite a bit at the plate which is unlike him. When Murph is hot, he’s white-hot. But his slumps aren’t just cold, they’re downward spirals. Hopefully, today will be the beginning of one of those hot streaks as he’s depended on right now to be a run-producer in the 5-hole.
The bullpen, despite the losses of Jenrry Mejia and Jerry Blevins and the non-returns of Vic Black and Bobby Parnell was great again. Scoreless frames from Buddy Carlyle and Alex Torres set it up for Jeurys Familia to lock it down for his 8th save. This group has been excellent so far this season and has yet to blow a save. Of course, now that I say that…
So ten games over .500 is nice. Really nice. And unexpected. I definitely expected the Mets to be an improved team, but am shocked (pleasantly) that this group has meshed so soon. They don’t get down and for the first time in a long while, you actually see everybody excited for everybody else in the dugout. It looks like a fun environment to go to work to and that trickles down to the fans which makes people like you want to read blogs from people like me. It’s an excitement we all feel we’re sharing in.
Which brings us to this weekend and the Yankees. Let me make it clear: I hate interleague play. Disdain it. I understand the cash-grab of it, but if I had my way, I’d get rid of it all together. But unfortunately, nobody listens to me so we’re stuck with the fake fans’ games of the week.
You know who likes these games? The worst fans from both fanbases. I’m sure it’ll sell a lot of tickets, but what this means to me is I have to endure a full weekend of people talking as if these next three games will solve world hunger or something equally ridiculous. These games are just three games on a schedule. Beating (or losing to) the Yankees has no extra value other than a mark in the win/loss column. I hate how big a deal people make about these games.
We just started the season by taking 13 out of 16 from divisional opponents, but lost two out of three this weekend and people will jump off a bridge. Stop. Breath. And shut the fuck up. The adults are talking now. So without further ado, I present my rules to not be a front-running piece of shit this weekend:
Rule 1: Do not talk shit going in. A lot of you have already broken this one.
Rule 2: The Yankee fans’ claim of “27 rings, bro!” is ridiculous seeing as how the Mets didn’t even exist for most of those, but they still dwarf anything our team has done since we came around. Understand that and humble yourself. Win or lose, all you’ve done is win or lost a couple of games. This does not heavily impact either team’s season.
Rule 3: The Yankees haven’t exactly been playing terrible. And all winning streaks come to an end at some point. Realize that it’s possible the Mets may lose a game before October’s over and it could be to the Yankees.
Rule 4: If you are going to any of the games, be respectful. It is OK to cheer. It is OK to wear Mets’ colors and apparel. It is not OK to be a drunk mess and start a fight and fall out of the upper deck because of some imaginary rivalry.
Rule 5: Understand that this is a sideshow. Yes, the games count, but don’t get too wrapped up in them. Worry more about playing the teams you’re actually competing with for a playoff spot.
Those are my rules. I’ll write another day about the changes I’d like to see in the game. I’m somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to baseball, so you won’t be too shocked if you know that upfront.
But that’s for another day. Today is a day to enjoy being a fan of the best team in baseball. The boys head to the Bronx tomorrow nightwhere we see if Jacob deGrom can keep it going long enough to pass the baton to Matt Harvey. Enjoy the game and please, everybody, stop being dicks about this Mets/Yankees thing. It’s fucking fake and imaginary. It’s not a real rivalry. With that said, #LGM!