Surprising Mets Have The Look Of A Playoff Contender

New York Mets Playoff Contender
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 02. May 2024.

Unlike a year ago when the New York Mets opened the season with World Series aspirations, this year's campaign started with little hype as New York dropped its first five games. However, the Mets surprised the hometown fans by rebounding to win 12 of their next 16 outings despite missing several key players.

New York, which had its six-game winning streak snapped by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, still managed to notch its fifth straight series win. Not bad for a squad that was supposed to be in transition this season.

A starting rotation missing Kodai Senga and Tylor Megill is second in the National League with a 3.48 ERA. The Mets have also allowed the fewest home runs (12) while surrendering a league-low 154 hits. But pitching coach Jeremy Hefner is not surprised by the success of a makeshift rotation.

"I thought we thought we had a really good pitching staff, even without Senga," Hefner said. "The depth with Jose and Lucchesi and the young guys coming."

Impactful Newcomers

Former New York Yankee hurler Luis Severino has posted a 2-1 record with 21 strikeouts and a 2.14 ERA over 21 innings. Butto is an emerging star who has tallied a sparkling 1.65 ERA and fanned 21 hitters in 16.1 frames. The 26-year-old sported a 1–4 card and a 3.64 ERA over nine appearances last season.

"I think those guys are doing a really nice job," team president David Stearns said. "The way Butto has come up and given us very, very competitive outings and thrown the ball at a very high level gives us confidence that we're in a good place right now.

"We've got a number of quality arms that are gonna get healthy here over the next month or so and that will help. But we're always looking to get better."

Veteran Contributions and Prospect Highlights

Veteran southpaws Jose Quintana and Sean Manaea have also pitched well during the early stages of the season. Quintana has compiled a 1-1 record with a 3.05 ERA and tossed five innings of one-run ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 16. Manaea (1-1) has struck out 21 batters over 19.2 frames while tallying a 4.12 ERA.

The Mets also have excellent pitching depth at the minor league level with Christian Scott, Mike Vasil, and Dom Hamel. Scott, a 2021 fifth-rounder, has emerged as the top pitching prospect to the delight of Stearns.

"What Christian Scott has done has been great and, frankly, what a lot of us expected he was gonna be able to do," Stearns said. "He's a great pitcher, he's feeling good, he's healthy. We expected him to have success. What he needs to do is to continue to do that and I certainly have confidence that he'll be able to do that and when the opportunity presents itself, he'll be ready."

Bullpen Success Stories

New York welcomed back All-Star closer Edwin Diaz this season after the flamethrower missed the entire 2023 season due to an injury suffered while celebrating at the World Baseball Classic. Diaz has recorded eight saves with a 1.12 ERA while racking up 12 strikeouts in just 7.2 innings. But the biggest storyline out of the bullpen has been journeyman Reed Garrett.

The 31-year-old reliever has been electric with a 3-0 mark, a spotless 0.00 ERA, and 21 strikeouts over 10.2 frames. He also collected his first career save against the mighty Dodgers.

"It's one of those you dream about," Garrett said. "And that was really a dream come true."

The long-time minor leaguer impressed Diaz with his ability to perform at a high level while pitching on consecutive nights.

"He did an amazing job and I am really happy for him," Diaz said. "He came in and struck out the side even though he threw over 30 pitches . He came in back-to-back days in a stressful situation and did an amazing job."

Offensive Rejuvenation

The Mets offense has been rejuvenated with the improved play from both Francisco Lindor and Sterling Marte, as they work towards the playoffs. Lindor is hitting .360 over the past week and is looking worthy of his $341 million contract.

"There's a lot of things I'm doing very well right now from the right side right now that I haven't been able to accomplish from the left side. But I'm there. I'm there. Now it's just a matter of staying consistent.

"I try to be the same hitter from both sides. I try to help myself from the right side to the left side, and from the left side to the right side," Lindor said. "It's a blessing and a curse at times, because when I'm locked in on one side, I try to bring it to the other side. But I guess I get a little mixed up. Sometimes I have to think as two different hitters."

Marte is also finding his groove at the plate after an injury-plagued 2023 campaign. The former All-Star is batting .276 with four home runs and 12 RBIs and is healthy and confident this season.

"I feel good," Marte said through an interpreter. "Last year is a year that I want to forget. But at this point last year, I was fine, and a little bit after that was when I started to really deal with it, whether it was the migraines, whether it was the stuff with my legs.

"But right now, I feel really good."

Health and Player Management

Another hitter who is looking to get healthy is J.D. Martinez. The veteran slugger continues to prepare for his Mets debut after inking a free-agent deal before Opening Day.

"He swung the bat yesterday, Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said recently. "Scheduled to continue to swing the bat today. Cage, tee, toss, things like that. But the one thing I'll say, where he's at and us going to the West Coast after the game, it's very unlikely that he will join the team in this upcoming trip."

The 36-year-old designated hitter season debut has been delayed by lower-back pain and body soreness, which required a cortisone shot on April 9.

"We talked to his representation plenty and I think J.D. did a very nice job of keeping himself in shape during the downtime before he signed," Stearns said. "I think as he's gotten going, he kind of ran into the same level of back stiffness that plagued him over a couple different points of his career and was pretty confident that the way the Dodgers treated it last year really helped him throughout the year. So, we've adopted to treat it the same way."

Injury Setbacks

The Mets received some bad news last week when Francisco Alvarez tore a ligament in his left thumb while rounding first base and nearly falling. The second-year catcher injured his thumb while using his hand to keep himself from falling while running to second base. Alvarez will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks, which is a major setback for New York.

"He's a phenomenal player, a tremendous worker and he's taking so many strides forward, not just maturity at the dish, but defensively he has helped out our staff a ton,” first baseman Pete Alonso said. "He's a great competitor, a great personality and he's always energized and ready to go. We're going to miss having him out there and I am going to miss having him out there for sure."

Betting on the Mets' Playoff Chances

As the Mets continue to defy expectations and cement themselves as playoff contenders, sports fans and bettors alike might find themselves considering placing a wager on their success. Utilizing top MLB betting sites can offer a variety of options, from futures bets on the Mets making the playoffs or winning the World Series, to game-by-game betting and prop bets on player performances. 

These platforms provide comprehensive odds, analytics, and world series betting advice to help make informed decisions. Whether you're a seasoned bettor or a newcomer to sports betting, following the Mets' progress and assessing the risk and reward could add an extra layer of excitement to watching their season unfold.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Let’s stay connected. Never miss a good news and betting offers in New York.

return to top