Front-office executives like to divide the season into thirds. The first third is all about evaluation: figure out where the strengths and weaknesses of the roster lie. The second is about action: make the trades or acquisitions necessary to fulfill the team’s goals. The final stretch revolves around results: play out the schedule and see what happens.
Officially, the Mets completed the first third of their season with a 14-1 romp over the Orioles on Wednesday to secure a two-game series split at Camden Yards. Much as they did last month at Citi Field, the Mets pounced on their former ace Matt Harvey for the first seven runs, including a three-run homer by Kevin Pillar and a two-run shot from Pete Alonso. Pillar and Billy McKinney each finished with multi-homer games in support of Taijuan Walker, whose seven stellar innings lowered his ERA to 2.07.
With all that positive ink in the box score, the Mets capped the first third of their season with a 30-24 record, while extending their hold on the NL East pole position to 32 consecutive days. It’s their best record over the first third of a season since 2016, which also happens to be the last time they played a postseason game.
“It’s something that’s never really discussed, the fact that we’re in first place,” Pillar said. “With everything that’s going on, it doesn’t necessarily feel like that all the time as far as feeling like we’re a first-place team. Our mindset and our confidence resembles that, but we’ve been tested. We’ve been pushed to the depths of our organization, and guys have just continued to come up and play well.”
Don’t take that to mean things have gone breezily; at one point last month, the Mets had 17 players on their injured list, but they managed to overcome those absences thanks — as Pillar mentioned — to the strength of their depth. Concerns do remain, particularly in the rotation, where Carlos Carrasco’s injury and David Peterson’s struggles might force the Mets to enter the starting pitching market at the Trade Deadline. But the club’s issues don’t seem to be any greater than those of other contenders around the league.
It’s nearly mid-June, and overall, they’re doing just fine.