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The Amazins Have “Met” Their Expectations

How did the Mets come this far, you might ask? The one thing I can assure you is that it was far from easy.

Eran Vaknin, Contributor

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The 2015 New York Mets have defied all odds. A team that found themselves digging out of a seven-game second place hole in late June find themselves champions of the National League, set to start competing in the fall classic for their first World Series title since 1986. How did the Mets come this far, you might ask? The one thing I can assure you is that it was far from easy.

The Metropolitans came into the 2015 season soaring with high expectations. Matt Harvey, their breakthrough All-Star caliber pitcher, was finally healthy and ready to go after missing the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John Surgery. “The Captain,” David Wright, had finally been healthy as well for the first time in many years, ready to go for opening day. Key starters such as slugging first basemen Lucas Duda, veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson, and reigning National League Rookie of the Year starting pitcher Jacob deGrom were all practiced and prepared. As expected, the 2015 campaign was off to a roaring start out right of the gate. The Mets won 13 of their first 17 games, which included tying a franchise record of eleven consecutive wins in a row. Everyone was hitting, sitting dead-red and filling roles as expected.

As time went along, things took a turn for the worse. The Mets had lost David Wright for 4-6 months due to a rare case of Spinal Stenosis, key hitters were barley hitting the ball out of the infield, and the Mets’ record started to dip. The epitome of the struggles came at the end June. The Chicago Cubs were in town for a four-game series and the Mets had already lost their previous three matchups. As the struggling Mets continued in their losing ways, they were swept all four games in the series.

As the Mets continued to struggle, one magical night in Flushing changed it all. It was July 27th, 2015. The San Diego Padres were in town and the trade deadline was approaching. Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson made a peculiar move, sending young and promising infielder Wilmer Flores along with another young and upcoming stud, starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. As news of the trade quickly spread through Citi Field, Wilmer Flores was seen on the field crying as he was taken out of the game, knowing he had been traded. After seeing the desire of Wilmer to remain in orange and blue, Alderson immediately called off the trade. The next night, the Washington Nationals came to town for a playoff-deciding primetime weekend series, and Wilmer Flores pulled off the impossible, turning around the Mets’ season. Just one night after tears flowed from eyes onto the infield dirt, Flores came to the plate with the game tied at 1 in the bottom of the 12th inning. “Flores drives it to deep right-center field, that ball is…. Outta here! The Mets win the ballgame! A season saving home run from Wilmer Flores!” exclaimed Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen as Flores sent the Mets faithful home happy. The next day, Sandy Alderson made a season-defining acquisition of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from Detroit. Cespedes went on to be one the best hitters in all of baseball, slugging 17 home runs in his 1st two months in New York, leading the Mets to the playoffs with a division title, their first since 2006.

The Mets began the playoffs on the road again in the National League Division Series against one of the tougher teams in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers. After splitting the first two games in L.A., the Mets came home and took a commanding 13-7 victory in the first playoff game in the history of Citi Field. With a chance to clinch the series at home, rookie product form Long Island Steven Matz took to the hill to try securing the victory. Matt got off to a shaky start, allowing three runs to score in the 3rd inning. The Mets answered as Daniel Murphy slugged his 2nd home run of the series, but it wasn’t sufficient; the Mets fell 3-1 and forced a decisive Game 5 in LA. Jacob deGrom. The Mets found themselves tied at two in the 6th inning, when Daniel Murphy stopped up to the plate and crushed his 3rd “homer” of the postseason. The Mets won that game 3-2 and advanced to the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. This series was a totally different story. The Mets were the complete dominant team by far. Sweeping the series four games to none, playoff hero Daniel Murphy continued his postseason heroics, hitting a home run in all four games of the series, setting a postseason all-time record. The Mets came all this way, and won the National League Pennant for the first time since 2000.

What the Mets will do in the World Series set to start Tuesday, October 27th  is still yet to be determined. One thing that we know for sure : “Ya Gotta Believe.”

 

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The Amazins Have “Met” Their Expectations