Regardless of how far the Mets go in the postseason, 2016 was a positive year for the team. On August 19th, the Mets were 60-62, and were 5.5 games out of the 2nd wild card. The challenge was even tougher because they had to jump the Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis Cardinals just to have the 2nd wild card. Today, on their 161st game of the season, the Mets clinched the 1st wild card, and will host either the San Francisco Giants or the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
Going into the season, the expectation was to win the division after winning it in 2015, and going on to win the National League Pennant. Those expectations dipped when key players got injured including David Wright, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes. By this point, everyone wanted Terry Collins fired. The team got Cespedes and Cabrera back from the DL in late August and took off from there. Now, Collins could be a candidate for manager of the year.
2 key players to this run into the postseason are Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. 2 pitchers who had to fill big shoes in the rotation, and to be honest, not much was expected of them. Gsellman is 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA and Lugo is 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA. These 2 guys are the reason the Mets are in the postseason. Yes Cespedes, Cabrera, and Reyes have been huge down the stretch, but this team relies on pitching. Going into next season, the Mets will have a pitching controversy, which is good to have.
So, on Wednesday, the Mets will host the NL Wild Card game, with one of their remaining 2015 starters Noah Syndergaard on the mound. If this team wants to make a run, we need Noah Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon to lead this staff. The question for the wild card game is who will they face? We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out, but I’d rather them play the Cardinals. You want no part of Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner in a 1 game wild card. The Cardinals are a better hitting team, but if we get the Syndergaard we have seen before in the wild card game, they can beat either team.
So, in mid August, If I told you the Mets would make the playoffs for the 2nd straight season on October 1st, would you believe me? Well, this team is very much in the playoffs. It may be a 1 game elimination, but they will have their ace on the mound at home, and have a chance to go on and rematch the Chicago Cubs. There are so many players to recognize for their resilience, and the theme of the 2016 New York Mets is simple; next man up. On Wednesday, you never know what will happen. The season could be gone right before our eyes, but you have to respect what this team has done, and realize they should be back and better in 2017. In the baseball postseason anything can happen. This team may look like they have holes, but they are the hottest team in baseball, and are capable and winning a World Series.