The Mets have had the Nationals sweating since mid July and with good reason. The Nationals have, until this past week in Colorado, flatlined since the All-Star break. At one point up 7 games, their lead quickly diminished giving way to the Mets and the top spot in the NL East. But After a rough weekend with the Pirates and a split in Baltimore, the Mets and us fans have plenty to worry about in our own right.
To begin with, the offense is not clicking on all cylinders. They have certainly stepped up their power game and have gotten many timely home runs from the likes of Wilmer Flores, Juan Uribe and Yoenis Cespedes, but that doesn’t make up for their inability to hit with men in scoring position and not to mention their lack of hitters with major league average on base skills. All that being said, there is still plenty of time, talent and ability to turn this team into an offensive force (and by force i mean averaging 4-5 runs per) thanks mainly to Cespedes and the impending return of David Wright. Granderson is having a solid all-around season, Tejada has been a pleasant bonus and Murphy and Duda have done mostly what was expected. Now loaded with an above average bench, if the Mets fail to hold off the Nationals the rest of the way, the offense should hardly be to blame.
Certainly not to blame will be the pitching staff. Despite their youth and inexperience in a pennant race they have the talent and stuff to take the Mets to the promised land. Inning limits aside, with Matz on the mend and rosters expanding in less than two weeks, Harvey, DeGrom and company will keep the Mets in contention the rest of the way like they have all season long.
The bullpen. More specifically everyone except Familia and Clippard, will be to blame if the Mets fail to make the post season for the first time since 2006. To no fault of Terry Collins, he just doesn’t have reliable, consistent, talent to lock down the 6th and 7th innings of games. Mejia really has cost this team quite the advantage of being able to lock down games after 6 innings. While Robles has all the talent in the world, he is too erratic and often grooves high 90’s heat right down the middle which quickly becomes becomes souvenirs for fans in the stands. Carlos Torres has taken a huge step back from the success of recent years and injuries to key specialists such as Blevins and Edgin have really left the Mets grasping for straws with under two months to go. The one hope on the horizon is the forgotten about Vic Black who has been rehabbing a shoulder injury all year, as well as the rehabbing Goedell. While neither of those guys are a sure thing going forward, they can’t be worse than the current experiments that have left the Mets and their fans scratching their heads.