The fact is that the New York Mets are 72-66, but it’s important to remember the recent play of a once-struggling team.
The ebbs and flows of a major league season have been on full display in the New York Mets’ 2016 campaign. From the valleys of getting swept at home by a third-rate team — the Arizona Diamondbacks in the middle of August — to the peaks of winning 8 of 10 games and counting, Mets baseball has played with the emotions of the club’s committed faithful.
Yet, here we are with Labor Day behind us. To say the poor play which swept over the Mets for the length of the summer is in the rearview mirror would be the metaphorical equivalent of saying global conflict on the scale of a World War is a foregone battle.
For the sake of the latter, future tensions can lead to a war similar to those fought in the 20th century, even if the first two World Wars are now behind us.
For the sake of the New York Mets, anything can pull the rug from underneath the team, even if the club is currently playing good baseball.
Because if Terry Collins’ group has proved one thing this season, it’s that his team has its fair share of glaring vulnerabilities, many of which have been exposed in the ugliest possible way.
Most relevant to the division race, the first place Washington Nationals have had the upper hand on the Mets. Despite New York’s series win over the weekend, the Nats have taken 10 of 16 games from the Mets.
The bats have gone quiet for long, unwatchable streaks of time — team batting sits 28th in the majors.
Timely hitting — otherwise called “clutch hitting” — is an absent art in Flushing, as the Mets have broken historic lows in team batting average with runners in scoring position.
Elbows and shoulders have been fatigued, stressed, inflamed, and spurred over the course of the Mets’ 138 games played. Injuries have surfaced to the effect of devastating measures.
While rotation depth hasn’t been exploited by the opposition, a pitching staff lacking the presence of Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz for multiple rotation turns, and Matt Harvey indefinitely, is an unstable unit at best.
The bullpen has an undeniable ace closer in Jeurys Familia, but a setup corps behind Addison Reed’s shutdown eighth inning has been inconsistent. That is, the work of Jerry Blevins and Hansel Robles has been untrustworthy at times.
So, even in a world that revolves around what have you done for me lately, at a time where, lately, the Mets have been firing on all cylinders, it’s wise to keep the dog days of August — days which saw a solid team flash its overpowering mediocrity — in memory.
The reason we mustn’t forget lies in the very strength of a playoff-elimination blow. Please, don’t be too disappointed if that blow happens — because there’s a real possibility it will.