September 18, 2020

Monday Mets: Trying To Find The Positives

A week ago, the Mets had just finished being swept by the Phillies and things looked bleak. They haven’t lost a game since then, and still for a little bit, things looked even worse.

This seems like the beginning of an “only the Mets” type of story, and really it’s a bit more serious than that. The Mets bounced back nicely from their Philadelphia woes by winning the first three games in Miami. While beating Miami may not sound like an accomplishment, it’s worth noting that the Marlins were in first place (by a few percentage points) when the series began. For whatever reason, the Mets came into Miami looking very different from the team that left Philadelphia. Even in the third game of the series, after blowing a lead in the 8th inning, they went ahead to stay in the top of the 9th, with an air of confidence they hadn’t really shown so far this year. Furthermore, the team had announced that they were moving the struggling Steven Matz (also just known as Steven Matz) to the bullpen, and inserting Seth Lugo into the starting rotation. Lugo, as you may know, has been working his desire to start again into almost every conversation with the media. For a season in which Mets players, mostly pitchers, have been going on the Injured List almost daily, and in which two of the more hyped players ended their Mets careers without any advanced notice, things were looking relatively up.

Then it all came to a halt. On Thursday, a Mets position player and a coach tested positive for the coronavirus. Immediately, the last game of the Marlins series, as well as the opening game of the weekend series against the Yankees were postponed. Not surprisingly, the remainder of the series against the Yankees was postponed as well.

Historically speaking, the Mets have often taken a proverbially unusual route to the ball (yeah, I adverbed that word, so what?). It’s why there’s a term “LOLMets” and most people understand it and can immediately think of reasons for the terms existence. So, it’s easy to automatically blame the Mets for finding themselves in this coronavirus jam. However, in this case, that would seem to be inaccurate. The team had been heralded by many for their approach to protecting the players and staff. They weren’t just following MLB mandates, they had instituted their own safety measures and reportedly,  everyone felt as secure as possible with this approach. So, for a player and coach to test positive, is another reminder of how quickly and easily this virus can spread. Fortunately, as of Sunday night, it appears that the rest of the Mets team and coaching stuff have all tested negative, twice. So, unlike the team-wide outbreaks that the Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals experienced a few weeks ago, the Mets outbreak seems to have been more contained. Hopefully this means that the Mets will be able to resume their season on Tuesday, as scheduled, against the…um…Marlins.

So, here are a handful of positives to think about, now that it seems the most glaring negatives have been avoided:

  1. The Mets are in the midst of their longest win streak this season, and have looked pretty good doing it.
  2. The bullpen, while not perfect, has certainly been more reliable so far this season.
  3. Pete Alonso, the main cog in the Mets offense, has begun to heat up after a slumpy beginning to the season.
  4. The time off has given the injured players a little more time to heal.
  5. With just a little more than a month left in the season, the Mets are only 3 games out of first place, and only .002 percentage points out of a playoff spot.

Really though, as fortunate as those things are, the best thing to come from this week is that only two players tested positive, and it seems like everyone involved will be healthy, at least from a coronavirus standpoint.

In other words, it could have been much worse. Maybe that will be the team’s slogan this year.