There were a lot of things I thought would happen before the Mets won 4 games. Most of them were not good. There are even more things I thought would happen before Daniel Murphy made a game-saving play at 2nd base, nevermind win the game in the bottom of the frame. But now that all this has happened, I’m thinking several other things.
The 4-0 start is nice. Great, even. It is an unexpected confidence boost that the team desperately needed. While it might be hard to say any team desperately needs anything in the first week of the season, it’s easy to imagine the psyche that a less successful week may have brought. The attitude towards the team has been so dismal of late that a bad start may have caused a young team to just pack it in, to accept a bleak reality.
The reality is that Frank Francisco is not this good. This is a guy who’s had exactly one season with an ERA below 3.33, hardly a sterling number for a closer. Johan will have some bumps, we can only hope they’re minor, but they’re coming. My ire for Pelfrey is well documented at this point, we know what kind of player he is. And Andres Torres, who I actually believe could be a nice piece for us, is already concerning me with these injuries.
That being said, there are a couple of good signs we can take to heart. Wright’s hot start is encouraging. He’s always somewhat streaky but if he hits, our whole lineup can work. Without him, the whole structure falls apart. Another great early sign is the play of Ruben Tejada. I have been saying for a while that I think he’s going to surprise everyone with how well he can bat. He’s never going to hit for power but he’s patient and just keeps knocking in hit after hit. He had only one month last season below .272 (a July that saw him play only 14 games) and ended the season with a .348 August and .297 September. He has the potential to be one of those consistent .280 2-hitters every team could use and he’s always playing hard.
However, the best sign overall has to be Terry Collins. Say what you will about the finances, about management, about lawsuits and lost stars, but this team has never quit under Collins. The team grinds, always. The most telling stat early on in the season is that 9 of the team’s 16 runs have come with 2 outs. Keeping innings going, manufacturing bases (the Mets’ .378 OBP is good for 4th in the league), and getting good swings are habits our young players need. All the rest will come with time but Terry has been a perfect fit so far, I only hope he’s given the tools to take the next step in the coming years.
But first, let’s just get to 5-0.