Can the NY Mets live up to their own expectations?
The New York Mets were meant to be one of the best teams in the MLB, and then they lost Scherzer and deGrom, but defied logic and didn’t collapse
The Mets are the Mets. They had a dominant run in the 1980s, with Doc Gooden, Daryl Strawberry, and Gary Carter punctuating that ‘86 team. And then they have done, well… not much.
They fall into that same category, for better or worse, with the Cubs, the Reds, and the Tigers as teams that everyone likes to see do well, but deep down knows that they won’t.
2022 was supposed to be different. The Mets had a lineup that was one of the most powerful in baseball. They picked up Max Scherzer, he of the Dodgers miracle bullpen, and second-year owner Steve Cohen has taken the bankroll out to make sure that they won’t lose for lack of funds.
With Jacob deGrom going down at the start of the season and then losing Max Scherzer six weeks in, it looked from the outside like the Mets were going to be the same old Mets despite everything.
But as expectations of their demise prospered daily, they bucked the trend and did something almost unthinkable. They kept winning.
With Taijuan Walker and David Peterson stepping in to fill a gaping hole in the pitching rotation, the Mets have tightened up all of the screws on what has traditionally been a fairly rickety ship. Every position, with notable exceptions at DH and catcher, has performed above expectations.
Somehow, by hook and by crook, the Mets are ten days away from the All-Star break and holding a 2.5 game lead on the Atlanta Braves atop the NL East. That, in itself, is astounding. The Braves are one of the best teams in baseball, and look every bit as strong as 2021′s World Series champion lineup. And yet, here we are.
Now, the stage is really set for the Mets to push ahead into new territory. Scherzer is back and just as brilliant, pitching six scoreless innings and notching up 11 Ks in his first outing, and deGrom is expected to return shortly. With the trade window upon us, given the new owner’s willingness to spend on players, perhaps a solid DH and catcher will be in the offing.
Staying ahead of the Braves won’t be an easy ask, but if anybody can do it, Buck Showalter can. Maybe, just maybe, Mets fans can allow themselves to believe again.