After last night's washout with the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Mets completed April with a record of 15-11. The mark comes as a surprise considering the team struggled to score runs throughout the month and played a lot of difficult competition. The Mets survived due to some strong starting pitching, however, and won 15 games in April for the first time since 2007. The strong start has the Mets in position to make Sandy Alderson's 90 win talk more of a reality than originally thought.
The Mets' season got off to a bad start as they were swept in their first series of the year by the Washington Nationals. The Mets were able to rebound quickly, however, taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds, a wild card team in 2013. Following the 2-4 home stand, the Mets embarked on their first road trip of the year. The Mets started the trip on a positive note, taking two out of three against the Atlanta Braves in Turner Field. This is the only series the Braves have lost so far this season. A trip out west started to look ugly for the Mets, as they dropped two out of three to the Los Angeles Angels. The series was headlined by an ugly 14-2 loss in the finale, where starter Bartolo Colon got rocked for nine runs over five innings.
The Mets could have been shell shocked for a couple of days after a loss like that, but they quickly rebounded and swept the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks. The Mets completed the trip at 6-3, and entered a 10 game home stand facing questions about their ability to win at Citi Field. The Mets have been road warriors over the last few years, including posting a 41-40 mark away from home in 2013. The Mets had, however, struggled at Citi Field, going a combined 34 games under .500 at home in the past three seasons. With visits from the Braves and defending National League champion St. Louis Cardinals on the docket, more home struggles seemed likely from the Mets.
The home stand didn't start on a good note, as the Mets lost the first two games of their series with the Braves. They were one hit in the first game by former Met Aaron Harang, highlighting the team's offensive struggles. The Mets won the finale, however, and used the momentum from it to take three of four from the Cardinals. The Mets thoroughly outpitched the Cards in the series, allowing only six runs over the four games. The Mets built on that success by taking two of three from the Miami Marlins to complete a winning home stand, going 6-4 over the 10 games. The Mets wrapped up the month by winning the only game of their series in Philadelphia, as the Mets tattooed Cole Hamels to win 6-1 on Tuesday night.
The Mets got a lot of mileage from their pitching staff in April, even after losing closer Bobby Parnell for the season to Tommy John surgery. After Jose Valverde lost the gig within a week and a half, Kyle Farnsworth (2 saves, 2.38 ERA) has been solid in the closer's chair. Reliever Carlos Torres (2-0, 1.20 ERA, 1 save) has been outstanding as well, giving the Mets a reliable set up man they desperately needed.
The starting pitching has been lights out as well. Jonathon Niese (2-2, 2.20 ERA) has been the staff's best pitcher despite missing the first week of the season. Jenrry Mejia (3-0, 3.49 ERA) leads the team in wins after being named the fifth starter in late March, and Opening Day starter Dillon Gee (2-1, 2.88 ERA) has been outstanding as well. Colon (2-3, 4.50 ERA) actually has the highest ERA among the starters, but that was inflated by his terrible outing against the Angels.
The Mets haven't done a lot offensively, but Eric Young Jr (.215, 20 runs scored, 12 stolen bases) reached base in 20 consecutive games and leads the team in runs scored and stolen bases. Daniel Murphy leads the team in batting average at .304, while Lucas Duda is the power leader with a team high four home runs and 13 RBI's. David Wright hasn't displayed much power in the early going, but he leads the team in RBI's with 15. Juan Lagares was also off to a strong start, hitting .314 before being forced to the disabled list after injuring his hamstring in Arizona.
The Mets will now look to improve on their 15-11 mark over an interesting May schedule. The Mets will wrap up their road trip with four in Colorado and three in Miami before heading home to face the Philadelphia Phillies for three. The Mets will then begin a rough 10 game stretch where they face the Yankees (two at Yankee Stadium, then two at Citi Field), go to Washington for three games, and then host the Los Angeles Dodgers for three more. The Mets will then host the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks and reunite with old friend Ike Davis and the Pittsburgh Pirates for Memorial Day before ending the month on the road in Philadelphia for what is now a five game series with the Phillies.
The Mets will play 29 games in May, and the Mets really need to finish at least over .500 for the month to make things interesting. The Mets currently trail the Braves by 2.5 games in the National League East, and posting another winning month could show that the Mets will be here to stay in the division. If the Mets finish May with a 17-12 mark, just five over .500 for the month, they would enter June with a 32-23 mark. If the Mets can get close to 10 games over .500 over the season's first two months, they would be right on pace for Sandy Alderson's 90 win prediction.
Tags: April, Baseball, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Dillon Gee, Eric Young Jr, Jenrry Mejia, Jonathon Niese, Juan Lagares, Kyle Farnsworth, Lucas Duda, MLB, New York, New York Mets