The Mets end the 20 game segment with 3 straight wins to go 10-10 over the period. They are now 29-31, just 2 games under .500.
Amazingly, the Mets are treading water despite losing their power-hitting corner infielders and yet another reliever in Buchholtz. The reason? The kids and supposed spare parts are stepping up big time and Jose Reyes is carrying the load for the vets with help from Beltran. The rotation while not going deep and completing games has yielded quality starts and if not for bullpen meltdowns, might have this team over .500.
Also let's give Terry Collins some credit. Unlike Manuel who threw his hands up and looked for excuses, this guy has stayed upbeat while showing a fire-in-the-belly Jerry sorely lacked. He's made some mistakes with his pen, but considering how toxic they've been over the last 2 weeks(a near 11 ERA and 5 games blown after the 7th) he really can't be blamed too much.
First of all, Turner and Murphy have not only filled in well for the injured Davis and Wright, they've thrived. Murphy is on fire having raised his average over .300 and had a stretch where he got 16 hits in 28 at bats. Turner has been an RBI machine and by far the Mets best hitting with RISP. These guys were fighting for the 2B job and now are manning the corners. When both Wright and Davis return hopefully in early July, they may be platooning @ 2B and will make the bench much stronger. Also, Tejada has been excellent since his call up and Pridie has won 3 games with his bat. All have stepped up.
Secondly, Reyes has been unreal offensively. He still makes defensive and base-running blunders(inexplicable for a 9 year veteran), but he's made this offense go. He's driving the ball in the gap, stealing bases and scoring runs. He's doing his job better than ever before. He's certainly raising his stock in free-agency and though we are loving it, ultimately this may make his demands untenable for ownership and they may be forced to deal him. Fortunately, his season does increase his value and the bidding may be furious.
Thirdly, Beltran though at times streaky has played more than expected and put up good power numbers. He still hasn't stolen a base and is very tentative on the bases, often avoiding any chance for a close play at home. Defensively, he's been pedestrian at best. On 2 occasions he could have caught balls in RF that were HRS, but came up short. A younger, more athletic RF would have caught those balls. Overall, he's done his job and increased his trade value. There is a 100% chance he's dealt. Expect Kirk Nieuwenhuis to be in RF come 8/1 if he's healthy.
Lastly, kudos to this backend rotation. Niese is pitching nicely and Gee has been the 2011 Dickey. Dickey showed guts not going on the DL and has been better than his numbers. Pelfrey has his moments, but is still too inconsistent. Capuano has done what he's been asked to do and when Santana returns, he should be in the pen or possibly dealt @ the deadline.
The big disappointment in these 20 games is the pen. They've been horrid. Beato hasn't looked the same since returning. Izzy has been solid, but Buchholtz was slipping before his DL stint. Rodriguez has been horrible. 2 losses and other bad outings. O'Connor remembered who he was, Igarashi showed he's not an MLB pitcher and the newly promoted Acosta is a stiff. Hopefully, Parnell and Izzy can step up and Beato return to his early season form. Brydak is a AAA pitcher and that's it. The Mets may need to dip into AA until the deadline where arms may be coming back in deals.
Overall, despite all the negativity with those idiot Wilpons and the injuries, this team is where we thought they'd be. That's hovering around .500. However, unlike the past 5 years, this team has some guts and has rallied twice from 7-0 deficits, winning one of those games. July may be a great month with the wounded returning and Reyes, Beltran and Rodriguez playing for a chance to be moved to a contender. Just hang in there another month and this season may be more exciting than many thought.