It was easy for the Mets to give up when they were 60-62 on Aug. 19.
They weren’t hitting. Injuries piled up. The Mets manager was in danger of being fired according to The Record’s Bob Klapisch.
Rather than feeling sorry for themselves, they went back to work and found a way to win games and series to be in a position to make the playoffs as a wild card team this year.
This is a testament to the character of the players in the clubhouse. This is an example of great leadership from Mets manager Terry Collins.
The Mets secured the top wild card position by beating the Phillies 5-3 Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. They will host the Giants in the NL wild card game tomorrow night at Citi Field.
The Mets earned a playoff berth this year. Nothing came easy. Making the playoffs again this year was not going to be easy.
Teams were gunning for the Mets. The Mets had to deal with injuries such as losing Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom, David Wright and Wilmer Flores for the season. They even lost Lucas Duda, Yoenis Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera for a period of time because of injuries.
Despite all that, the Mets survived because of contributions by unsung heroes such as T.J. Rivera, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Fernando Salas, Gabriel Yona and Rene Rivera.
That’s a testament to the Mets minor league coaches for prepping them well to the majors. It’s also a credit to Collins for giving them an opportunity to succeed by showing faith in them.
There’s no question these guys gave the veterans a boost that they can get it done. When Cabrera and Cespedes came back from the disabled list, the Mets took off.
Overall, the Mets finished 27-12 in the last six weeks after going 60-62.
It remains to be seen how far the Mets can go in the playoffs, but this season is a success no matter what. To make the playoffs back-to-back years is an accomplishment for this franchise since this is the only second time in franchise history they accomplished that feat. To do it with so many guys being hurt is rewarding.
Some Mets fans did not believe in their team during the Mets’ rough stretch in the summer. Who can blame them? They had good reason with the way everything has gone for their team.
The players can’t be wired like the fans. They had to find a way. It’s what they are being paid to do. It’s a pride thing. This Mets team is a proud group, and they were going to go down kicking and screaming.
They were not going to waste this season despite all the injuries.
This Mets team found a way to win when they had to. Even when they were about to go on a slide, they rebounded by winning some games in September.
Of course, it helped the Giants and Cardinals could not take advantage of the Mets losing games. They were losing games on their own. The Giants were blowing saves while the Cardinals lost games to teams they had no business losing to last month.
To the Giants’ credit, they were able to win games last week to get the second wild card spot.
The Mets don’t have to apologize for that. It’s not their fault the Cardinals and Giants gave them a chance to be in this race. They did what they had to do by winning games when they had to.
For anyone that said the Mets had an easy schedule, guess what? Teams with playoff aspirations have lost to awful teams in September over the years. The Cardinals did just that, and that’s why they are not playing in the wild card game.
Awful teams can play with no pressure, and that gives them a chance to succeed. It’s on the contending team to find a way to beat them in the pennant race. That’s how a team plays in October. The Mets did their job.
Baseball is a long season. It’s about who grinds the most and come out as winners. It’s about finding a way. The Mets did just that.
In a way, this year is more rewarding than last year. The Mets made the World Series last year, but for them to make the playoffs despite the obstacles in their way, it’s even more fun.
There’s a reason the Mets are popular than the Yankees right now. They are likeable, entertaining and resilient. These guys know how to win.
The Mets earned their keep. They earned the right to play in the postseason.
Even the critics have to give the Mets credit.