Welcome to 2015, Mets fans

Michael Thompson, Staff Writer

By Michael Thompson, Staff Writer

It’s been one Amazin’ April for the New York Mets.

For some time now, the Mets have been synonymous with disappointment, frustration and pain. The Citi Field era has not been particularly generous for New York’s second most famous team. Inflated contracts, injuries and blown games are just a few grievances Mets fans have a right to complain about. But even in times of dismay, they have stuck through, and now, maybe, they will see a return on their investment.

Coming into the season with rejuvenated postseason aspirations, due in part to the return of  ace Matt Harvey and acquisition of leftfielder Michael Cuddyer, the Mets have stormed out of the gate. With a 13-3 record and an ongoing 11 game winning streak, they are currently the best team in baseball.

This is not the same Mets team that baffled fans with their underachievement in years past. No, this team has a will to win and is as great as any other team in Major League Baseball. In April alone, the Mets have come from behind to win seven times. The last time the Mets showed this much promise early in the season was their dream season — 1986.

The Mets have been tested with injuries early on, and so far have bent, but not broken. In a game against the Marlins, captain David Wright went down with a pulled hamstring, putting him on the 15-day DL. They inserted Eric Campbell, a Triple-A call-up with loads of potential, and won.

Days later, catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who was leading the team in RBIs, was struck in the hand by a pitch that put him out of action for three weeks. They inserted Kevin Plawecki, a 24-year-old future major leaguer who got the call earlier than expected. Plawecki took the red-eye to New York from Las Vegas and quickly made his mark in the majors, going 2-4 in his first game, and the Mets won again.

The Mets’ never-say-die attitude this season has caught the attention of many, including CAS freshman Kevin Jiang.

“As someone new to the city, it was great to see the sports fans get excited about something,” Jiang said. “The Yankees, Knicks, Giants and Jets have been let-downs recently, but the Mets have something good going on.”

At a time when the prospect of an Islanders-Rangers series should be getting the most attention, the Mets have turned the spotlight to Flushing, where they play their home games.

Of course, the Mets will eventually lose and cool down — all teams do. They are a team that, even during this impressive run, has its flaws. Starting second baseman Daniel Murphy is still struggling at the plate, and while Curtis Granderson’s on-base percentage is productive, he will need to do more with the bat as the season progresses.

But for fans, there is no need to be pessimistic — we have had years to do that. It is time for the Mets to focus on the positives. Their pitching, which was predicted as their centerpiece before the season even started, has lived up to its billing. Harvey has battled through sickness and a sprained ankle on his way to a handful of quality outings, while Jacob Degrom has shown no signs of a sophomore slump. Lucas Duda, after a breakout 30-homerun year last season, is quickly becoming one of the best first basemen in baseball, offensively and defensively. Juan Lagares continues to dazzle in the outfield, and Wilmer Flores’ bat is just beginning to come alive. David Wright will be back soon, and d’Arnaud’s hand appears to be on the mend. Lefty specialist Jerry Blevins, who broke his forearm in the same inning as d’Arnaud’s injury, will likely resume baseball activities in six weeks, and closer Jenrry Mejia will be back for the second half of the season after serving his 80-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. Thankfully, Jeurys Familia has filled in well in Mejia’s absence, recording a league-leading eight saves in the Mets’ first 16 games.

There is a long season ahead for every team, not just the Mets. Games will be won and lost, and the variability that makes baseball so intriguing will surely affect the Mets. But early signs point to a change of culture in Queens, and perhaps finally a winning attitude. The true test begins Friday, when the Mets travel to the Bronx to play their cross-town rival the New York Yankees. It is the first Subway Series of the year, but more importantly the first chance for the Mets to show that the beginning of their season is not a fluke by asserting their role as the best team in New York. For once, I am confident they can actually do it.

Email Michael Thompson at [email protected].