It’s remarkable. A lot has happened since that long ago Tuesday in mid-June when the Mets swept the Braves in Atlanta and Zack Wheeler made his major league debut. The Mets were decimated as they entered play that day, a battered team that had lost 11 of the 14 games they had played after the miraculous four game sweep of the Yankees. I was sad to admit it, but my preseason radio show prediction of only 68 wins for the Mets had more credibility that it deserved.
And, consider what has happened since. The Mets lost their best position player in David Wright for a huge chunk of time. The opening day shortstop was lost to injury. After several seasons of unfulﬁlled promise, Bobby Parnell seemed to ﬁnally ﬁnd that missing conﬁdence as the Met closer, but he too, hit the disabled list and was eventually lost for the year. Just when he showed signs of breaking free from a season long slump, Ike Davis was ‘obliqued’ and gone for the season. A trade sent our leading power source, Marlon Byrd, and a steady major league presence in the line-up, John Buck, packing for Pittsburgh. Then it seemed the heart was ripped from the chest of every Met fan when pitching ace Matt Harvey was lost for the year with an elbow injury.
The one constant for the Mets has been continual change forced by circumstance. Lost in all the hullaballoo, is the fact that since Wheeler’s arrival, factoring in last night’s 3-2 loss to the Reds, our Metropolitans have somehow managed to play .500 baseball. That’s right, the loss last night leaves the Mets with a 46-45 since the day young Zack arrived.
Some will scream and shout and gnash their teeth that I even mention this fact. For some, marveling at the fact the Mets somehow managed to win as many games as they lost over a 92 game stretch with a Swiss cheese line-up mostly made up of young prospects scratching and clawing for a chance to stay in the big leagues will smell of the acceptance of mediocrity. Whatever!
Maybe it was my depressed expectations coming into the 2013 season. Maybe it was a seesaw of raw emotion going from a totally unexpected exuberant high after sweeping the Yankees in four games to the lowest of low losing six straight times to the Marlins over the next nine days that left me eager for anything, even mediocrity, to feel better days are ahead for my Mets.
Whatever it is, whatever it was, I think a 46-45 run during the Wheeler days, in light of all the personnel issues that have gone down, is remarkable. The unexpected span of one up and one down baseball during a season where we had already lost 15 times more than we had won and common sense told me to expect only more of the same.
.500 baseball since Zack Wheeler arrived on the scene as a harbinger of better days to come – I’ll take it.