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PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 10: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets throws a pitch in the bottom of the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 10, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Mets Continue Surprise Playoff Push Fueled By Starting Pitchers

Just a few weeks ago the New York Mets sat seven games outside the NL wildcard race, and even after acquiring pitcher Marcus Stroman and his impressive 3.09 ERA, most saw the Mets as simply an afterthought as we inch closer to the playoffs. Flooded with issues often warranting laughs from surrounding clubs, even including an affair which involved a pitcher and manager threatening a reporter with violence after a loss, the Mets’s disappointing narrative for the season already appear printed onto New York newspapers weeks before the season’s end.

However, as the summer transitioned into its final month, something strange happened in the Big Apple’s largest burrow: the Mets started winning. Now riding a 13–1 record during their 14 last contests, the Mets find themselves somehow only 1 game back from the second wild card spot, breathing down the necks of the Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, and St. Louis Cardinals.

Excelling with the same tool which helped the Mets reach a World Series just four years ago, the starting rotation continues to serve as the main factor behind the Mets push back into contention. Leading the majors with a 2.22 ERA since the All–Star break, the Mets strike fear into all who oppose them while on the mound. With big names playing up to their full potential such as Jacob DeGrom (2.77 ERA), Noah Syndergaard (2.88 ERA in his last ten starts), and Zach Wheeler (4.20 ERA) now allying with Stroman, the rotation offers opposing batters zero wiggle room between starts.

Veteran slugger Todd Frazier applauded his team’s starting pitchers, as he stated earlier this week, “We got five top-dog-caliber guys that any team would want. And they’re gonna put us in a good position every game.”

The rotation’s excellence most importantly masks the team’s largest flaw, their bullpen. As pitchers continue to find success, they manage to go deeper into games, consequently limiting the need for a bullpen staff which leads the NL with a whopping 22 blown saves.

Offensively, the consistent hitting from rookie sensation Pete Alonso continues to propel the Mets, hitting .259 with 37 HRs and 80 RBIs. Outfielder Jeff McNeil deserves recognition as well, leading all hitters with his astounding .340 batting average. Although New York’s bats never fell silent even during the team’s loosing days, their improved pitching which at last appears capable of protecting the leads extended by said bats, helps an exhausted offense certainly accustomed to trailing on the scoreboard and seeing their efforts go wasted.

While this resurgence from the Mets indeed gives fans a reason to cheer for the first time since the season’s earlier days, a heavy workload still lies before this (not to jinx things)  “Miracle Mets pt. 2” show. Up next, New York will put its hot streak to the test, facing the expectation exceeding Washington Nationals before taking on the NL East leading Atlanta Braves.

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Written by Collin Helwig