Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mets Midseason Report: Highs/Lows & Awards

The All-Star break concludes on Friday when the New York Mets travel to Busch Stadium to face the St. Louis Cardinals.  The two teams split their series at Citi Field back in May, but after rest, the Mets face the challenge of tackling the best home team in baseball.

It's been a roller coaster first half for the New York Mets.  A fast start of 12-3 gave Mets fans some promise to the season, but then the injuries started catching up with the Mets.  Losing David Wright for an uncertain amount of time hurts, and once Travis d'Arnaud and Daniel Murphy made appearances on the disabled list, the Mets couldn't buy a hit to save them.

It led to them getting no-hit at home by the San Francisco Giants pitcher Chris Heston, and also led to a 7 game season sweep by the Chicago Cubs.

However, it seems as if the Mets have figured it out, winning 6 of their last 7, including 4 of 6 on the west coast against the top two teams in the N.L. West, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

But the gauntlet of July remains strong, with St. Louis, Washington and Los Angeles on their schedule fresh out of the break.

Before the first pitch Friday at 8:15PM against St. Louis, however, let's take a look at some of those highs and lows for the Mets in the first half of the 2015 season.

HIGH POINT OF THE SEASON: April 23rd.  The Mets just completed their third straight sweep to go 10-0 at home to start the season after beating the Atlanta Braves 6-3.  With Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey set to start the first two of the Subway Series, emotions were riding high for a successful trip to the Bronx.

However, losing David Wright, Travis d'Arnaud and Jerry Blevins to the disabled list in the past two weeks caught up with the Mets, as they went 3-7 in the 10 games that followed.

LOW POINT OF THE SEASON: June 24.  The Mets bats turned iced cold, leading to the no-hit game on June 9th.  They seemed to turn it around, winning 2 of 3 against the Braves and both games against the Toronto Blue Jays at Citi Field.  However, they left their bats at the customs checkpoint, as they were outscored 15-1 in the two games in Toronto, then was swept out of Atlanta.

The Mets road record reeked in the first half, but the stench grew more foul when they landed in Milwaukee for three against the worst team in baseball.  The Mets surrendered a 2-1 lead and lost the opening game 3-2, mustering only four hits in the effort.  That's one more hit than they had in the middle game, as they failed to bail Bartolo Colon out of a 2-0 hole he pitched himself into in the first inning, losing 4-1 as the losing streak reached a season high seven games, guaranteeing the Mets their third straight losing series.

THE GOOD NEWS: The Mets have already played all their games against the San Francisco Giants, and will have Los Angeles in their rear view mirror in 10 days.  And after this series with St. Louis, they will not have to face the Cardinals until the postseason, if they can get there.  Plus, the last big trip they will have to make is to Colorado in August, otherwise they will remain east of the Mississippi for the remainder of the 2015 campaign.

MVP: Jeurys Familia, P.  We agree with ESPN New York's Adam Rubin.  After the announcement that Bobby Parnell's return from Tommy John surgery and the suspension to Jenrry Mejia for supplement use, the Mets could have folded in their late game pitching.  But Familia came in and fully embraced the opportunity, and made the best, as he has converted 27 of his 29 save opportunities while pitching with a 1.25 ERA.

His pitching made it much harder for the Mets brass to figure out what to do with the bullpen with Parnell and Mejia's return.  Parnell has logged 10 innings since his return, only allowing 1 earned run in that span.  However, Mejia is the odd man out so far, only picking up a single out since his return to eligibility last week.

For non-playing candidates, David Wright would have to be a firm choice.  Whatever he said to his teammates when he had the opportunity to talk to them in Los Angeles seems to have cooled off the funk they were in.  The Mets are 7-2 since then.

GOLDEN BAT: Steve Matz, P.  Yes, we're going to give the Golden Bat award to a pitcher.  With no batter with over 100 plate appearances hitting better than .277, it's tough to give this to a position player.  Cases could be made for Wilmer Flores and Curtis Granderson, but Steve Matz electrified the crowd when he debuted on June 28th against Cincinnati, going 3-for-3 and driving in 4 runs in the winning effort.

GOLDEN ARM: Jacob deGrom, P.  Of the four pitchers who has started 17 games this season, Jacob deGrom's numbers are best.  With a 9-6 record and a 2.14 ERA, there's no surprise deGrom was the Mets representative for the All-Star team, and with a little more run support, he could have easily been a 10+ game winner by now.  He leads the Mets starting pitching crew with 112 strikeouts, has given up the fewest hits and homeruns, and has the best opposing batting average at .206.  Only Steven Matz has a better ERA and opposing batting average, but his sample size is smaller compared to deGrom's 113 2/3 innings pitched in 2015.

GOLDEN GLOVE: Lucas Duda, 1B.  Remember last year when there was the debate between whether or not Lucas Duda or Ike Davis should be at first base for the Mets?  Well, it seems like the Mets made the best move when keeping Duda over Davis, as Duda has turned into a dependable first baseman.  Only one charged error by Duda this season gives him a .999 fielding percentage.  If a put out isn't done properly, you can almost guarantee it was at the hands of someone else.

BROWN BAT: Michael Cuddyer, LF.  Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson has more strikeouts than Cuddyer does, but makes up for it with their power.  Cuddyer has half the home runs they do, and a worse on base percentage.  Mets fans were hoping for better than what they got from a batter with a better than .300 average the last two years, although they were in the air-inflated confides of Colorado.

BROWN ARM: Dillon Gee, P.  On the back end of the Mets stellar rotation is Dillon Gee.  And when it came to campaigning to keep a rotation spot, Gee came up empty, resulting in the pitcher being DFA'd and eventually making way to the Las Vegas 51's.  In the eight games Gee pitched for the Mets in 2015, he accumulated a 5.90 ERA, second to Akeel Morris's 67.50 that was picked up in the late inning of a Mets loss to Toronto last month.

BROWN GLOVE: Wilmer Flores, SS.  In the first 45 days of the regular season, Wilmer Flores accumulated 10 errors and led the Mets to several unturned double plays that would later come back to haunt them.  Since then, his play has turned better, especially when Terry Collins made the switch and placed Flores as the second baseman instead of shortstop.

YOU TELL US: Do you agree with our selections for these awards?  Is there a player you think should be placed in another's place.  Let us know in the comments below or by replying @WMML1230 on Twitter.

And be sure to listen as the Mets take on the Cardinals starting this Friday, with coverage beginning with Wayne Randazzo forty minutes before the first pitch of every Mets game this season on FOX Sports Radio 1230.

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