A Tale of Two Boroughs: Yankees thrive while Mets struggle (Mets Lens)

The 2017 New York Mets have been one of the most surprising teams in MLB thus far. Facing high expectations at the beginning of the season, the Mets have not lived up to their preseason hype. The Amazin Mets stumbled out of the gate this season, as mounting injuries and bullpen inadequacies have proven to be too much to handle. While the crosstown rival New York Yankees have been a surprising success thus far, the Mets have been a surprising disappointment. However, there is still plenty of time to right the ship, and with the number of names on the disabled list beginning to fall, the Mets’ hopes for a playoff spot may begin to rise.

The Mets started the season 7-3, but after a win in a 16-inning marathon win over the Miami Marlins on April 13, the Mets would proceed to lose 11 of their next 14 games in April. The story early in the season was the amount of injuries stacking up, and they proved too costly for the Mets to overcome. With Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard on the DL at some point during the season, the team was forced to start players such as Matt Reynolds and T.J. Rivera in the lineup. In addition, the team rotated a plethora of pitchers on and off the mound, such as Rafael Montero, who threw 85 pitches in three innings in his last outing, and Tommy Milone, who was acquired just days before his first start. The injury bug has bitten the team badly, and the training staff cannot seem to keep their players healthy. Nevertheless, more players are starting to come off the DL, and the Mets are becoming healthy again. This ignite a midseason run reminiscent to last season.

The injury situation has not been the only cause for the Mets’ struggles, as the bullpen has proven to be their Achilles’ heel. The bullpen has squandered leads left and right, and has wasted fantastic outings from the Mets’ starting pitchers. This is probably due to the fact that the starting pitchers exited games early in the season, and the team played many extra-inning games early, exhausting the arms of the relievers. The starting pitchers have been getting deeper into games as of late, thus allowing the team to rely less on the bullpen. This allows more rest for the relievers, and more consistent outings for the members of the bullpen.

While it has been a rough season in Flushing, there have been some bright spots. Michael Conforto has emerged as a legitimate threat in the outfield and at the plate, as he is batting .293 with 14 home runs and 36 RBIs in only 191 plate appearances. Also, Zach Wheeler has returned to form on the mound after a two-year recovery from Tommy John surgery. He has proven to be the Mets’ most reliable pitcher so far this season, and has fortified his spot in the rotation. Finally, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo have returned to the rotation, and provided huge sparks in their first outings of the season. Things can be looking up for the Mets, who look to make a midseason run.

The Mets have struggled all season, but are starting to heal and return to form. If they are fully healthy and at least at .500 by Aug. 1, they can be poised for a run at the wild-card spot. However, their current home stretch against the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals can prove to be the turning point for the season. Should they be successful, the Mets could be a force to be reckoned with.