Let’s not have any of this wild card talk, it’s up to the Mets to go for the throat, and as Bob Murphy once so eloquently said, “win the damn thing.’’
For the first time in franchise history, the Mets overcame deficits in each of the last three innings to beat Tampa Bay last night.
It was an effort manager Terry Collins correctly labeled “pure character,’’ as the Mets increased their winning streak to seven straight.
Noah Syndergaard takes the ball tonight with the objective of putting the Mets games over .500, where they were when they won 11 straight games.
The Mets have won 18 of their 59 games – tied for eighth with the game’s best record – in those two winning streaks. It’s numbers like those that win pennants.
With things going their way and their lead over the Nationals now up to 2.5 games, the Mets want to win this thing going away as to avoid the wild-card play-in scenario and to set their rotation as they please. Honestly, I never thought I would write those words this year.
If the season ended today, the Mets, Cardinals and Dodgers would be the division winners and Pittsburgh and Chicago would be the wild cards.
Things frequently fluctuate this time of year and there’s so much more of the season to be played. The Mets are starting their push down the stretch at a good time, and they are gradually improving on some important team stats. They’ve now won four straight on the road to improve to 21-32 (still the worse among those National League teams that would qualify for the postseason) and their runs differential is now plus-16.
In addition, Lucas Duda is hitting homers; David Wright could begin a rehab-assignment on Monday; and the team was energized by the acquisitions of Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe.
The Mets still have issues, including their bullpen (which is always critical in the playoffs), but as they were in April they are again a thrill to watch.
But, let’s not have them be content with playing well, but let’s have this be like the college football rankings and go heavy on the style points. Let’s have them put this away and “win the damn thing.’’
On the heels of being swept by the Mets, Nationals outfielder – and NL MVP frontrunner – Harper, when asked about the Mets, snapped: “I don’t give a crap about what the Mets are doing.’’
Same goes for Werth, who all but discounts the Mets when he said the NL East still belongs to the Nationals, that it is their division to lose.
“I think it’s a matter of time really,’’ Werth said. “We’re a great second-half team. … Half our team has been hurt all year. That’s the reality of it. When we all get back, we’re right there, in first place.
“We’re [two games out] But I think going forward we can get all back healthy and get rolling and it’s our division to lose.’’
He might end up being right, but pennants aren’t won in the papers; they are won on the field and currently the Mets have the Nationals’ attention, regardless of what their players say.
Both Harper and Werth speak with a sense of entitlement, that all they have to do is show up. It is reminiscent of the Nationals’ front office when it shut down Stephen Strasburg at the end of the 2012 season, acting under the assumption the playoffs were a given.
They are not.
It doesn’t work that way, and the mere fact they are commenting about the Mets, seemingly by-passing them as threats is interesting. The Mets, wisely haven’t responded. Nor should they.
That the Nationals are talking tells me the Mets are in their heads. And, will stay there for a while.
The teams have six games remaining with each other, Sept. 7-9 in Washington and Oct. 2-4 at Citi Field.
Interesting doesn’t begin to describe it.
Conventional wisdom says Yoenis Cespedes is a two-month rental for the Mets, with hopefully an October extension. Nobody expected GM Sandy Alderson to get him, much less keep him long-term.
However, Cespedes said he’d like to stay. Maybe it is gamesmanship on his part, but assuming he means it and he has the warm-and-fuzzies for the Mets, now is the time for the full-court press.
If the Mets want him, Alderson must strike hard and fast. Signing Cespedes will give the Mets a jumpstart to their Christmas shopping.
“This is something I can’t control,’’ Cespedes told reporters Tuesday in Miami, conveniently overlooking the fact if he’s set on staying he can if they want him. “I don’t know what the front office is thinking about. But with what I see so far, I would love for everything to work out and stay as a Met for a long, long time, because I like the atmosphere.’’
Cespedes has a contract clause stating the Mets must release him before the free-agency period begins if they don’t want to sign him. This means is if he’s released after Aug. 31, he can’t re-sign with them until May 15, 2015. That means they sign him now or kiss him goodbye.
The Mets could fool around and say they want to re-sign him, but renege. They could do with him what they did with Jose Reyes.
That would tick off a lot of people.