The New York Mets will head into the 2016 postseason with a unique and formidable look, drawing criticism from close-minded “realists.”
No, these are not the 2015 New York Mets. Before the team even enters the storm that is the MLB Postseason, fans should clear their respective minds of the magical run that took place just one year ago.
Those Mets were powerful. Those Mets scared you every single night. If you made one mistake, they would run you out of the building.
That was the brand that led the men in Flushing to an NL Pennant, a feat that had not been accomplished since the turn of the century.
However, that does not prohibit a second straight pennant from being lifted in the Big Apple. Time and time again, the Mets have proven that there is more than one plausible way to accomplish the unaccomplishable.
Facing numerous doubts this time around, they will be out to finish the fight in convincing style, perhaps in a fashion which no one saw coming.
It is not your “lights out” rotation. It is not your rotation that simply brings down the hammer. Simply put, it is not appealing to the general eye; it does not look flashy on paper.
Here is how New York is set to line up in a potential NLDS five-game set — Syndergaard will have pitched the Wild Card Game.
- Bartolo Colon (14-8, 3.42 ERA)
- Seth Lugo (4-2, 2.61 ERA)
- Noah Syndergaard (14-9, 2.60 ERA)
- Robert Gsellman (3-2, 2.56 ERA)
Did I say that didn’t look good on paper? Well, it looks pretty darn good, especially considering the aforementioned horses are out of the fold.
Enough with the “they do not match up with the Cubs” talk.
Everyone should be beyond the point of doubting Bartolo Colon merely because of age. If that is your excuse not to have him on the mound in a Game 1 scenario, with Syndergaard unavailable, you have no sincere excuse.
43-years of age only plays to his advantage when tasked with a pivotal postseason appearance. The man has been through it all, and has only proven more formidable in 2016 — he can hold his own and, most importantly, dominate the best of the best.
The Lugo’s and Gsellman’s of the world are simply undervalued because of their names, as worrisome as it is. They have been absolutely dynamite thus far in limited appearances.
Furthermore, they are still in the process of going through the league for a first time. In other words, teams are unfamiliar with what they have to offer.
Given that the league is generally taken by storm when any potent young arm surfaces, they can just as easily serve as the Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey of this staff. Both being guys who utterly dominated their first times through the league.
In three starts against playoff contenders — teams currently within two games or less of a playoff spot — this year, Gsellman has surrendered just one run over 15.1 outstanding frames. Lugo? 24.2 innings of four-run ball.
To say they cannot put up a fight with the best lineups in the sport is pure nonsense, particularly on a stage which demands excellence. All they have done is perform when called upon.
To those who say a Mets-Cubs series — which, in all likelihood, will happen — would be lopsided, think again. The Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey tandem may not be as daunting as you think, at least from a Mets perspective.
Here are their individual 2016 numbers against New York:
- Lester: 2 GS, 1-1, 9.00 ERA, 4 HR
- Arrieta: 2 GS, 0-1, 3.65 ERA, 3 HR
- Hendricks: 1 GS, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
- Lackey: 0-0, 2.84 ERA
You can make a legitimate case that there is one starter, Hendricks, that the Mets will truly fear heading into a five-game set.
By taking care of Lester and Arrieta, as per usual, a la 2015, they will reasonably come back home tied 1-1 with their ace on the hill.
It may not look amazing. It may not look convincing. But these 2016 New York Mets are as scary as ever. A lack of familiarity throughout the league in terms of just how worthy they are will only play to their benefit.
To the non-believers: just wait and see.