By: Paul DiSclafani
YOENIS? Can you use that in a sentence?
Every New York newspaper is talking about Yoenis Cespedes. And why not? How is it possible that in just over a month, every Mets fan learned how to pronounce and spell Yoenis? The numbers have been staggering: 15 Home Runs, 39 RBI in just 38 games. And to think, he hadn’t even hit his first HR as a Mets until game 12 in the orange and blue.
Today all the talk is about signing him to a long-term deal (a must) and if he should be considered for the NL MVP after just 38 days in the league (absurd). More on if he should be the NL MVP on a different post.
Signing Cespedes, in the eyes of the fans, is a no brainer. But at what cost? Before you yell out, “I don’t care what the cost is?” let’s take the emotion out of it, shall we? His Cuban birth certificate says he is 30 years old. Not debating the validity of the document, just pointing it out. His representatives (Jay Z and Roc Nation) got Robinson Cano a seven-year, $175 million contract after he was 30 years old – and how is that turning out for the Mariners?
Do we really want to give a 30 (something) year-old player a six-year contract, regardless of the dollars? What are we going to do with an aging slugger making $20-25 million dollars if he’s not hitting 8 home runs in 11 games anymore? I’ll take some time and expand on that thought in a later post, also.
Really? We went into Washington and swept them?
Raise your hand if you had the Mets sweeping red-hot Washington on the road this week after they lost two out of three in a weekend series with the Marlins and the Nationals had won five straight, cutting the Mets one-time 6.5 game lead to just 4 games? I thought so…
Three straight wins would have been enough to make any Mets fan happy to increase their lead to 7 games. But it was the way we swept them that may have not only reinforced the notion in Met’s Land that this is not 2007 anymore, but may have ended the reign of the Nationals as the “Beasts of the East”.
There was the stunning Labor Day afternoon comeback where John Niese gave up a 3-0 lead with a Grand Slam and another five-run inning, only to have the Mets tie the game against Max Scherzer and then get into the Nats bullpen, where the Mets scored three runs for an 8-5 win. The lasting memory of the Nationals 2015 season may have been the mass exodus of their fans after the Mets took the lead. Mets hit three solo home runs, including one from Cespedes.
Then on Tuesday, the Nationals got to Matt Harvey and were leading 7-1 in the seventh, but once again the Mets got to their bullpen for the most amazing win of the year, scoring six times in the inning to tie the game and getting a pinch hit home run from, of all people, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, to win 8-7. The National had over 15,000 empty seats for this game. Cespedes had three extra-base hits.
Cespedes made sure the Mets completed the sweep on Wednesday, another game with 15,000 empty seats in a pennant race. He hit another home run and the Mets got to the Nats bullpen again after manager Mike Williams took out Stephen Strasburg to start the ninth. Kelly Johnson was the hero this time.
So a week that started with the Mets having a 4 game lead in the NL East and a Magic Number of 23 has turned completely around. Mets are now 9.5 game ahead in the NL East and reduced their Magic Number to Ken Boswell (12, for you youngsters).
Are Mets fans beginning to talk the “P” word?
9.5 game lead with 20 games left. The Mets (and all other first place teams and serious contenders) began selling playoff ticket packages. Even if the Mets lose all 20 games and finish at 81-81, the Nationals would have to go 12-9 to overtake them. Forget about the absurdity of the Mets losing 20 straight (it is absurd, right?), can the Nets even play .500 ball the rest of the way? Mets made it to 80 wins for the first time in the Sandy Alderson regime, dating back to the 2008 season. Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard were just 15 years old.
A VIEW FROM THE BENCH: Mets will be happy to see Turner Field get bulldozed in the off-season as the Braves move into yet another new field. Mets were 56-103 all time in Turner field before this series began … I know that today is the first weekend of the NFL, but for the first time in a long time, I don’t seem to care … Conforto and Syndergaard should be in consideration for Rookie Of The Year discussions … There is no way manager Mike Williams keeps his job in Washington. They made a serious mistake giving that packed roster to someone without any major league managing experience. Hope they don’t get Wally Backman next year … Boy, hasn’t Jeurys Familia been just a great find for the Mets as a closer? He has made us all forget about that idiot Jenrry Mejia … Terry Collins said Matt Harvey told him about Cespedes, “I don’t know if there is a higher league, but he needs to be moved up” … The Yankees got swept by Toronto in a doubleheader on Saturday to fall 4.5 games behind and no one seems to care …
BY THE NUMBERS: Mets won just 4 games against the Nationals all year in 2014 (4-15) and have won 6 in Washington this year alone and have won 10 of 16 … Bryce Harper is 0-20 in his career against Harvey … Famillia, who saved all three games in the Washington sweep, now has 40 saves and is approaching Armando Benitez’ team record of 43 … Cespedes had his third game since coming to the Mets with three extra base hits on Tuesday. Only three other players in baseball have done it once this year (including Lucas Duda) … Mets scored 365 runs in their first 103 games (last in the league), but have scored 239 in their last 39 (first in the league) … Bartolo Colon is a story, huh? He was the NL Player of the week and stretched his scoreless innings streak to 31 before surrendering two runs on Thursday. He’s 3-0 in his last 3 starts … Mets have scored 3+ runs in 26 straight road games … Mets were 27-11 since August 1st (.710), second only to The Blue Jays (.750) … Mets are 25-11 on the road since July 1st, the best record in baseball … Mets lead the majors in Come-From-behind wins with 36 and have 14 of them since August 1