Let's start with the terrible stretch. What was especially discouraging was that the Mets found a bunch of ways to lose games. In Colorado they got bad outings from Bartolo Colon and Zack Wheeler to lose the first two. Then Mejia hit a wall in the 5th and gave up 8 runs, capped off by a Nolan Aranado grand slam. The Mets were still in a position to win a back and forth late inning game but Kyle Farnsworth gave up a walk off home run in the 9th to lose that one. Then they simply didn't hit in game 4 and got swept. In Miami the Mets wasted some good starting pitching. Niese gave them seven shutout innings but Daisuke gave away a three run lead before Stanton delivered a walk off hit in the 9th. Then the bats completely didn't show up in the final two games of that series, losing 3-0 and 1-0. The final game was another walk off. Then the Mets returned home against for the Phillies and in the first two games they couldn't get the big hit with runners in scoring position, losing both games. In the finale they came from behind to score three in the 9th, aided by a Daniel Murphy two run homer and Ruben Tejada delivered a walk off hit in the 11th.
When Juan Lagares returned from the DL, Terry Collins said he would be employing some sort of four man outfield rotation. Instead, we mostly saw Juan Lagares starting in center hitting leadoff with Eric Young Jr. on the bench. While Lagares has had a nice year, Young provides something offensively, especially from the leadoff spot, that Lagares doesn't. He's quick and steals bases. His batting average isn't great but he gets on base and always finds himself in the middle of things. Lagares profiles as more of a middle of the order type of hitter. He runs well but doesn't seem like a base stealer like Young is. Young provides a spark at the top of the line up and Terry needs to keep him in the line up. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Mets lost all those games with Young not being utilized. He had a big night last night and the Mets simply don't have a base stealing threat in their lineup without him.
With Rafael Montero coming up from Las Vegas, Jenrry Mejia is going to be in the bullpen. When I heard the news I thought it was a very quick leash for Mejia. Yeah he's had a few bad outings and seems to run out of gas and become hittable once the lineup sees him a couple times but I thought he would get a couple starts to see if he can return to who he was earlier in the season. He's also made it clear that he wants to start. He had a great outing last night out of the bullpen though and that was encouraging. I really don't feel comfortable with guys like Valverde and Daisuke. Farnsworth has been ok but there's a reason he was a spring training invitee. If Mejia can get on board with pitching out of the bullpen, he can be very useful. Especially with the starting pitching down in AAA. Montero's up now and we'll see Syndergaard soon enough. deGrom is up as well and it'll be fun to see how he does at this level.
Here's why the Mets are at a turning point. We all know they're still working at developing the young starting rotation and we're all excited at seeing Harvey,Wheeler, Niese, Gee, Syndergaard next year for a full season. It's been a process but it's almost done. With Montero and deGrom coming up, we're beginning to see the Mets transition away from the old stop-gap relievers like Daisuke and Valverde. With the way Mejia looked last night I think Terry's going to turn to him a lot. Same with Jeurys Familia who has looked fantastic as of late as well. Montero's going to start Wednesday but it's not certain if his future will be in the rotation or the bullpen. The bottom line is the Mets have really good young arms, arms that can build a dominant starting rotation, but also a bullpen as well. Farnsworth, Valverde and Daisuke obviously aren't part of Sandy Alderson's blue print. So it seems the Mets are at a turning point from a big picture, long term perspective. But they're also at a turning point for this season. Nothing was realistically expected from this team heading into the season. They had gotten off to a pretty good start before the stretch of losing 8 of 9. But they're coming off of 2 really good wins. Granderson hit a home run last night and it seems like his bat might finally be waking up. Chris Young hit the game winning home run and he seems to be coming around as well. Ruben Tejada even had a couple hits last night and delivered the game winner on Sunday. Maybe Wilmer Flores' presence has pushed him a little bit. The Mets have gotten fantastic starting pitching from Gee and Niese all year, and you have to think Wheeler's going to find some consistency. Maybe the injection of the two young arms in deGrom and Montero will give the Mets the boost they need. The team seemed to be playing loose last night and it was refreshing to see. These games against the Yankees can be energizing and serve as a catapult for the next few weeks. They're 18-19 and it's still only mid-May. That 9 game stretch could've sunk them but that come from behind win on Sunday afternoon clearly gave the Mets momentum for this big four game set with the Yankees. There's three more and I'm really looking forward to them. These next three games will say a lot about this team and how they'll do the rest of the way. It seems like Granderson and Chris Young are going to be providing a little bit of pop in the middle of the order. We're getting our first look at some young arms in Montero and deGrom and we''re probably just a few weeks away from seeing Noah Syndergaard. You can't expect young pitching to singlehandedly carry the team into the playoffs, but crazy things happen in baseball. I think we're going to have a fun rest of the year, especially if they can be at or above .500 at the all star break.