By Zach Gewelb
The new-look Mets may be here to stay.
The team has thrived under first-year manager Mickey Callaway, opening the season with a 9-1 record through the season’s first 10 games. But is their hot start for real? Can they keep it up?
Let’s take a closer look and see if New York can stay atop the National League East.
The Mets took two of three from the St. Louis Cardinals to start the year before winning five straight games against NL East opponents, including a three-game sweep on the road against the Washington Nationals. The team has used a nice blend of strong pitching and timely hitting to get off to such a fast start. There’s reason to believe the club could be even better.
Opening Day starter Noah Syndergaard is currently ranked second-to-last on the team with a 3.94 ERA through 16 innings in three starts. Yes, he has struck out 22 batters in those two innings, but he’s already allowed two home runs and opponents are batting .242 against the flame-throwing righty. Syndergaard has not been at his best, yet the Mets managed to all three of his starts, which bodes well for the team moving forward.
While Syndergaard has struggled, Jacob deGrom has more than picked up the slack. The 29-year-old righty has won two of his three starts, pitching to a 3.06 ERA in 17.2 innings to start the year. Matt Harvey (3.60 ERA) and Steven Matz (3.00 ERA) have also shown promise thus far.
The Mets’ bullpen has already emerged as a weapon. The combination of Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo and A.J. Ramos have been dominant to start the season. The fearsome foursome has yet to allow a run, surrendering just seven hits and 12 walks, while striking out 22 batters in 21 innings.
The rest of the Mets’ pitching staff — both the starters and relievers — has been terrific, as everyone but Syndergaard and Jacob Rhame has an ERA of 3.86 or better through the season’s first 10 games.
Not to be outdone, the Mets’ offense has also proven to be a force to be reckoned with to start the season. Yoenis Cespedes leads the club with three home runs and 10 RBI, while Jay Bruce, Travis d’Arnaud and Adrian Gonzalez have each gone deep once. Asdrubal Cabrera has also homered three times.
Michael Conforto, who just returned from a shoulder injury that dates back to last season, has also slugged a home run and boasts a .476 on-base percentage through his first five games back in action.
Brandon Nimmo (.333/.600/.444) and Juan Lagares (.412/.421/.412) have formed an extraordinary platoon thus far, though Nimmo was recently sent down to Triple-A after Conforto’s return.
All of these numbers — for both pitchers and hitters — are to be taken with a grain of salt. It has, after all, only been 10 games and it’s impossible to keep up this pace for the duration of the season. But the Mets are trending in the right direction, using a solid rotation, reliable bullpen and deep lineup to outplay their opponents and climb to the top of the National League East.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe