The New York Mets are once again are back in the playoffs and although it’s the wild card this time, it seems a little more special than last year.The New York Mets are going to the playoffs for the second straight season after beating the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 on Saturday afternoon.
Unlike last season, when they ran away with the division title, the Mets clinched it as an NL Wild Card team this time.
Even though it’s clear the 2016 version of the Mets isn’t as good as 2015, this time around is an even bigger accomplishment and has more of a special feel.
It comes down to facing injuries and adversity.
The Mets lost 4/5 of their projected starting rotation. They lost Matt Harvey in July, and also Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz this month with injuries. Add to the fact that Zack Wheeler, who was supposed to come back this year, didn’t come back at all.
Only Noah Syndergaard, despite reported bone spurs, is still pitching and has been doing so all year. Then, of course, you have the ageless 43-year-old Bartolo Colon, who has definitely been phenomenal.
The lineup has seen its fair share of issues as well. Captain David Wright has been lost since May, undergoing a neck surgery. Lucas Duda has been out for most of the season with a bad back but he came back last week.
Neil Walker‘s season ended last month with also a bad back. Wilmer Flores hurt his wrist this month and hasn’t played a game since.
Then you also have Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes going on the DL with various injuries during the summer.
On August 20, the Mets fell two games under .500 and 5.5 games out of the wild-card spot. The season should’ve been over, “Right?”
Since that date, you’ve witnessed an incredible run. The Mets have gone 27-12 after August 20, doing it with different guys each and every night.
It started with the ReplaceMets on the mound.
Robert Gselman and Seth Lugo — who would’ve thought both of them would save the Mets rotation and let Harvey, Wheeler, and eventually deGrom and Matz’s loss seem less daunting? Considering both of them struggled in Triple-A and came in with little hype, Mets fans can’t say enough about what they’ve done.
As far as the lineup is concerned, last season, Cespedes was the biggest figure down the stretch. But this season it’s been a mix of many.
Jose Reyes at the top of the order, providing speed, energy, and hitting is just one of the reasons New York is October bound. He’s also played a great third base defensively, too, considering he hasn’t had much experience playing there.
Asdrubal Cabrera in the No. 2 hole, providing great defense at shortstop but really coming through at the plate especially after coming back from the DL. That walk-off homer against the Phillies last week with the bat flip will always live in Mets lore.
Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce bouncing back from slumps to provide power and consistent hitting has also been a great positive.
You ready? I don't think you are, Madison Bumgarner. This isn't Los Angeles or Arizona, It's New York. @Noahsyndergaard #Mets #NLWildCard pic.twitter.com/YzT44jnXGV
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) October 2, 2016
Then, in probably the biggest surprise, T.J. Rivera coming from the minors and filling in at second base was downright phenomenal. He is making the Mets believe that they might have a future second baseman if Walker is not back.
So, just all these names and much more and of course the main guys that filled in the whole season like setup man Addison Reed and closer Jeurys Familia in the bullpen that just got this team back together on the winning side.
This Mets team overcame injuries and mid-season offensive futility to really play their best baseball down the stretch and make Citi Field a fun place to go watch a ballgame again.
As great as last season was, this was why this season feels even more special and an even bigger accomplishment considering all of what they went through — adversity that should have ruined the campaign. The Mets were a joy to watch down the stretch. They never gave up and now they are deservedly in the Wild Card game.
Congrats to the 2016 Mets. They will definitely give it their all this postseason regardless of how far they go.