The Rest of the Mets Season Equates to House Money
by John Jastremski
Oct 04, 2016 | 4273 views | 0 0 comments | 270 270 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The New York Mets season has been the definition of a roller coaster ride. There have been ups, there have been downs,. You’ve seen moments of doubt, and certainly moments of triumph.

In fact, considering where the Mets were in the standings in mid to late August, it's quite amazing that they are getting ready to host the National League Wild Card game on Wednesday.

On August 19, the Mets season appeared to be as dead as a doornail.

They were 60-62, eight games back of San Francisco in the loss column and seven games back of St. Louis in the loss column.

The team was missing the likes of David Wright, Matt Harvey and Lucas Duda, and was about to get devastating news on Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Neil Walker.

The Mets had every excuse to pack it in for the 2016 season. It would’ve been very easy to say that there’s simply too many injuries and too much adversity to expect this team to find their way back to the postseason for the second straight season.

Thankfully, that was not the mindset of Terry Collins and his group.

The Mets finished 27-13 over their final 40 games, and the team that finished the month of September didn’t come close to resembling the lineup you saw on Opening Day or the team you saw in last year's World Series.

Yes, the Mets in this 40-game stretch relied on their team MVP Yoenis Cespedes and were aided by two of the pitching darlings from last October, ace Noah Syndergaard and closer Jeurys Familia.

However, the Mets improbable run towards a second straight October is due to a lot of unlikely contributors over the last six weeks of this season.

Raise your hand if you thought offensively the Mets would feature a starting lineup that includes Jose Reyes, James Loney, TJ Rivera and Rene Rivera at the start of the season?

All four of those players have played pivotal roles in jumpstarting the Mets offense.

The pitching staff was expected to be the best in all of baseball. Clearly injuries to Harvey, deGrom and Matz changed expectations, but the performance of the rotation has been quite astonishing.

The Mets were able to get unbelievable efforts out of unheralded youngsters Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman to help fill the void left by the other starters, and the ageless wonder Bartolo Colon was able to turn back the clock for a 15-win season.

Unlikely contributions offensively and in the pitching staff are certainly a main reason why this team will be playing on Wednesday, but Mets manager Terry Collins deserve an immense amount of credit.

Collins was able to keep this team together, they continued to play hard despite all of the injuries and adversity, and he was able to keep struggling veterans Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce on track despite their season-long struggles.

Collins patience paid enormous dividends when both Granderson and Bruce turned into key contributors in the month of September.

I fully admit that Collins will make moves over the course of 162 games that will leave you scratching your head at times, but the bottom line is he gets the most out of his teams year in and year out.

The 2016 season may have been his best work as Mets manager. He kept the team together, he guided them to the postseason, that to me would be good enough for National League Manager of the Year.

So here we are, the Mets are in the postseason for the second consecutive season. The expectations are much different than what they were at the start of the year.

At the start of the season, there was a World Series-or-bust mentality. I advocated that sort of mentality considering the team won the National League pennant in 2015.

However, with all the injuries and all the adversity, it’s remarkable this team is still a participant in this year's postseason.

I don’t think they’re the best team, not by a mile, however having a team that has nothing to lose is always a dangerous proposition for the rest of the field.

The Mets should play free and easy and hope the stage is set for a rematch with the team they defeated in last year's National League Championship Series, the Chicago Cubs.

No matter what happens, the Mets season has already been a success. Enjoy the postseason, but know full well your team is playing with house money the rest of the way.

You can listen to me Wednesday and Friday from 10 to 2 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM.
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