Friday, April 24, 2015

Turn It Up To 11

The Mets capped off a sweep of the Braves and a sweep of their entire Opening Homestand on Thursday afternoon with yet another victory that came by virtue of the Mets ability to just execute. There wasn't anything particularly fancy about this game (not that I know this firsthand; being that it was an afternoon game, I was relegated to my usual post in front of a computer screen so I haven't actually seen anything aside from some highlights), unless you consider Bartolo Colon's nimble unassisted pickoff of A.J. Pierzynski fancy. Most, I think, consider it high comedy, seeing as how Pierzynski, a 38-year old Catcher, was probably the last person to attempt to steal a base, and instead, he froze and managed to get run down by a 42-year old Pitcher who's built like an On Deck circle.

This particular play seemed to sum up the game and the series for the Mets. They made every play they needed to make, to keep themselves in games, to get ahead in games and to finish off games, and every day it was someone else stepping up to get the job done. This, perhaps, is why this now 11-game win streak the Mets are on—one that equals the franchise's best, set in 1969, tied in 1986 and equaled in 1990—feels more like the norm for this team than a mirage. Perhaps I could be wrong, perhaps the injuries and the schedule might catch up with them eventually, but you can't take wins away from a team, and the more wins they can rack up now, the better they look later in the season.

I've been saying this as the wins have mounted for the Mets, so it's not a new observation by any stretch, but it sort of hammers home the point I'm trying to make. Whenever the situation is down on this team, someone is able to pick up the team. Think about it. Winning teams are teams that get meaningful contributions from all 25 guys on the roster. When the Mets won their most recent World Series Championship, now more than a generation ago, they did it without the benefit of one standout player. Everyone played a part. The Giants have turned a roster of savvy, instinctive players into Baseball's current dynasty. Now, it's the Mets who have broken from the pack quickly by leaning on this same formula.

It seems like a surprise to most, and, sure, even I'm surprised by 11 wins in a row, but I'm not surprised that the Mets have played well this season. The Mets have been building towards this for the past 5 seasons, pretty much ever since Sandy Alderson traded for Zack Wheeler. That set everything in motion. Pieces were continually brought on and put into place until we finally have something that can gel, and it's this team right now. What happens from here, I have no idea. They could just as easily lose 11 in a row for all I know, although it seems unlikely given the way they play. But having a little trust and faith in what the plan was for the direction of the team is now starting to pay off for the believers.

And in some weird instance of happenstance, the Mets now have the opportunity to set a club record for consecutive wins tonight against, of all teams, the Yankees. The team that's been their chief tormentor basically for the past 20 years, in spite of the fact that they never meet more than 6 times in any given season. The team that's been the embodiment of everything and everyone that's just stomped on the Mets for years. Now, the shoe might be starting to slip on the other foot. Wouldn't it be fitting, the way things have played out so far this season?

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