It was a sight for sore eyes for Mets fans Monday night.
Pete Alonso returned from the injured list to hit his usual mammoth home run and drove in four runs. Jacob deGrom mowed down the Arizona Diamondbacks by striking out eight and allowing two hits in six scoreless innings.
Kevin Pillar made his return by being a defensive replacement for Dominic Smith in left field and singled in his first plate appearance off the injured list (he was hit in the face by a pitch on May 17 in Atlanta). Oh, and the Mets activated Seth Lugo off the injured list, even though he did not pitch.
It resulted in a 6-2 victory over the hapless Arizona Diamondbacks. This put the Mets on a five-game winning streak at the end of Memorial Day. After a 6-5 loss to the Diamondbacks in 10 innings on Tuesday night, the Mets remained in first place with a 26-21 record and three ½ games up on the underachieving Atlanta Braves.
It’s impressive in a sense the Amazins had season-high 17 players on the injured list just last week. Most of the core players on the team have been hurt with various injuries. Yet here they are in first place with a winning record.
It speaks well about the character of the players on the team. It shows how well the Mets’ depth is that their replacement found a way to win games. It reflects well on second-year Mets manager Luis Rojas.
Maybe it means good karma, too, with the Wilpons no longer owning the Mets.
Mets owner Steve Cohen should be pleased with how things have gone. It could have been much worse. The Mets fans seemed to embrace this team. It’s been a while since they complained about anything. Of course, the Mets must reduce the number of guys from the injured list from 13 to 5 at the minimum.
I wouldn’t bet on Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco to be pitching this season. Syndergaard had a setback in his second rehab start by having right elbow soreness, and there’s no telling if he really recovered from the Tommy John surgery. Carrasco’s hamstring continues to be an issue.
Taijuan Walker is off the injured list, and the Mets could use him to complement Marcus Stroman and deGrom. He picked off where he left before being on the injured list by striking out eight in five shutout innings in the Mets’ 13-2 blowout victory over the Braves on Saturday night at Citi Field. He has been a steady starter, and he is why the Mets have hung around in the NL East race.
Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, and Michael Conforto should be back shortly. Those guys set the table for Alonso. Plus, it would take pressure off Francisco Lindor, who continues to struggle at the plate by hitting .198
It’s a blessing the Mets depth stepped up, but the Mets can only get by in the course of a 162 game season. Players get exposed for their shortcomings. They can’t keep this up for a long season. They could do it for a few weeks, and then they get exposed, which is why it was a sight for sore eyes on Monday just watching Alonso play.
Plus, the Braves and Washington Nationals are not going to struggle forever. The Mets benefitted from those two teams off to an underachieving start. In the course of a 162 game season, teams with talent and good health survive in the survival of the fittest.
The Mets have the talent to be a playoff team at best. With deGrom, Stroman, and Walker pitching every fifth day, they will win their fair share of games. Their lineup can’t be any worse than they showed in April. This is where it’s encouraging the team managed to get by with all those injuries. This is a team that can do more with health.
The Mets become an interesting team all of a sudden. Maybe they can finally fulfill their potential that they haven’t done in the last two seasons. Maybe everything comes together. Maybe good luck finally is finding its way with the Metropolitans.
The Mets are due to get one after being plagued with bad luck all these years.
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