I believe in the next installment we'll improvement and creep closer to respectability. This isn't a good team, but it's not as bad as it's played.I stated the above in my initial 20 game breakdown. They've responded well and are only 2 under. This despite losing Pagan, Davis, Parnell and Beato to the DL, Young for the year and still no Santana. Wright and Bay have done little offensively as well. Reyes, Beltran and Davis have carried the load. The Mets have gotten key contributions from Pridie, Turner and even Murphy. This club has shown some spunk. They've rallied a few times down late. They didn't battle and fall short like last year or past years, but have actually won those type of games. Overall, you can't be that upset with their position in the standings.
The big worry was, is and will be the rotation. Until Santana returns mid-late summer, that won't change. Pelfrey-Niese-Dickey-Capuano-Gee are decent-pedestrian pitchers. None of them are aces or even #2 pitchers. In truth, there isn't a true #3 amongst them. 3 of the 5 have 5+ ERA's and the other 2 are near or above 4.5. This despite pitching 19 games in cavernous Citifield. If not for the pen, the staff would be a disaster. Beato, Buchholtz, Izzy and Rodriguez have been excellent. Rodriguez has converted 12 straight chances after blowing the first(he even won that game). To his credit, he's bounced back. Izzy has done a solid job setting up. Beato and Buchholtz have been an excellent bridge. Igarashi and Brydak have been up-and-down, but lately have been decent. If the starters can go 6, that's all they need to be. I think the rotation can improve and go deeper, but they have little room for error, since none of them have a real out pitch or a killer instinct. There is nothing @ AAA and in AA Mark Cohoon and Familia aren't ready. Cohoon is further along having logged 41 IP this year and having pitched in AA last year. Familia flopped @ A last year and has only 7 IP @ AA so far. He did well early @ A this year, but is young and far from polished. Cohoon doesn't throw hard, but have good off change pitches which he uses for outs. He could be used if this staff thins out. Let's hope not. In the lower minors, Harvey has been outstanding, but this is his first year of pro ball and shouldn't be rushed. He should be @ AA, especially if Cohoon moves to Triple A. So as you can see, there aren't any real immediate options.
A major positive has been the Mets play on the road. They've won 4 series already. Last year they didn't win a road series against a NL team until August(in Houston). They're 11-10 on the road and just had a 4-2 trip including a rare series win against the Rox. Now, they need to turn around their poor record at home. They have a short 4 game homestand to get it going. Hopefully, fans will come out to see this team which is showing some grit. Unlike the last 2 years, this team deserves fan support. Despite injuries and mediocre starting pitching, they're playing better than .600 ball since their 5-13 start.
This next 20 games is key. If the Mets can play .500 ball or better, they should be getting healthier and gaining confidence as the season truly heats up. The key will be the rotation stepping up and Wright and Bay getting going. Beltran and Reyes can't be expected to stay as hot and who knows when Davis and Pagan will actually return. Imo, Davis will be back first. The pen needs to be effective and Collins must remain upbeat. I think they'll continue to hover around .500 because that's who they are.