Even the Mets “B” and “C” teams are capable of winning baseball games now…
Just two months ago, the Mets A Team wasn’t as good as the B Team the Mets featured on Tuesday.
With Travis d’Arnaud, David Wright, and Daniel Murphy all getting well-deserved days of rest on Thursday, the Mets had Juan Uribe start instead of Wright, Kelly Johnson instead of Murphy, and Kevin Plawecki instead of d’Arnaud.
Plawecki proceeded to drive in three runs, as did Uribe, and that sent the Mets well on their way to a convincing 7-2 win over the Braves on a soggy night at Turner Field on Thursday, all of which came after a rain delay of two hours and twenty minutes in some very poor field conditions.
And this is all with Yoenis Cespedes going 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout to end what was an epic eight-game hitting streak.
“It’s a much different team,” Wright said earlier this week in Washington.
At another time – not too long ago – Terry Collins wouldn’t have such quality alternatives to be able to produce in that manner.
Of course, it’s easy for Collins to rest his players against the fragmented Braves, losers of 21 of their last 24 games. But he finally has a lot toys under the Christmas tree he can play with which could in fact last him into the holiday season in 2015.
“I’m very proud of them,” Terry Collins said after his abbreviated squad extended their lead to 7 1/2 games over the Nationals early Friday morning. “I’ve never come here where we don’t play a game. I don’t care what time it starts. Everybody else is getting postponed. We play. Eleven o’clock, it doesn’t matter.”
There is clearly a special vibe surrounding the team, and the players feel it as the club closes in on it’s first National League Eastern Division championship in nine years.
“It’s definitely got that feeling,” Johnson said earlier this week. “You feel like everything’s going your way. You hear that all the time from guys who get to the World Series. Everything went right, we were meant to win it. Hopefully we’ve got a little of that magic. There’s no doubt we’re in an enviable position.”
And Wright is confident the 2015 season won’t end the same way his last two runs towards October ended seven and eight years ago, mainly because of the quality and depth of their pitching staff.
“When you have those types of arms, you don’t run into funks, where back in ’06, ’07 and ’08, the team was geared mostly around offense. Offense is a lot more fickle than solid starting pitching,” the team’s captain said.
With that pitching, the Mets can indeed withstand a day when their B team – or even their C team – is being fielded to afford everyone the necessary rest they need thanks to a grueling and tiring schedule with limited off-days down the stretch of the season.
But they’re going to need their bullpen to continue to pitch the way they have since their series in Miami. Over their last four games, they’ve delivered 11 2/3 scoreless innings, which is just as important as all of the big hits and clutch hitting from the offense over that span.
It had been a beleaguered group, responsible for coughing up two leads in Miami which led to a lost series against the Marlins and the Nationals ability to gain 2 1/2 games on the Mets in just four days.
Despite their 7 1/2 game lead in the National League East, it doesn’t take much for that deficit to be reduced, especially this time of year.
Just ask Wright about that one.
But if the Mets have indeed found a successful formula for their bullpen, getting to October could be the first step of many they take towards getting to November in uniform.