By Rich Coutinho
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The Mets were supposed to be way under .500 by now. Some of their players were supposed to have been traded by now. Citi Field was supposed to be a ghost town by now. Injuries were supposed to wear them down by now.

The Mets were not supposed to matter by now.

Well, it looks like someone forgot to tell Terry Collins’ squad. They do matter and yes, Mets fans, you are in a playoff race.

Every time you think this team has absorbed too much they bounce off the canvass, ready to slug it out. Early in the season, most Mets fans I know fed into the negativity — even though I told you this was an 85-win team — and that was with the services of Ike Davis and David Wright. A 5-13 start is horrendous for any team, but for a Mets club  trying to establish themselves as more than an afterthought, it was disastrous — or so we were told.

All the Mets have done in the 68 games since is play 10-games over .500. That’s much more indicative of their overall play than that miserable 18-game stretch at the start of the season.

What’s been really impressive is the way the Mets play away from Citi Field. No team in the National League has won more road games than the Mets. They have recently taken road series in Milwaukee, Atlanta, Texas and Detroit, playing all four when they were red-hot. The Amazin’s are in the midst of a 16-game stretch that was supposed end their season with four road series sandwiched between a three-game set against the Yankees. They responded by going 7-4 so far, showing their resiliency and toughness on a game-in, game-out basis.

We all know how much Jose Reyes has meant to this team’s success. Mets fans may think without him in the lineup, even for a few days, things might unravel. But they have not. Angel Pagan has stepped into the leadoff spot and come up with some big hits while Carlos Beltran and a rejuvenated Jason Bay have taken care of the run production. Meanwhile, the starting rotation has continued to impress, allowing the Mets to do more with less. The bullpen also suddenly has depth with Pedro Beato and Bobby Parnell assuming bigger roles in the late innings.

Of course, when you pick up the paper all you see is trade talk: the Mets are talking to this team or that team. That doesn’t mean the Mets are preparing to trade anybody just yet. All it means is Sandy Alderson is doing what every general manager should be come July — testing the waters.

Make no mistake about it: the Mets are less anxious than ever to make a deal or several. The team is winning. The front office is keenly aware of the public perception — this team is in a playoff race, and this group is easy to root for.

The Mets pulled in some good crowds for the last two homestands — granted some of that was due to Subway Series — but how do you explain the numbers they got against the A’s? I think fans like this team because they are flawed, but boy do they hustle and play the game right. Whether it is because players are in contract years or whether it is because they are a bunch of young players trying to carve out a career, there is no denying this team plays tough for Collins. Everyone in that clubhouse is contributing.

The question remains: where is the ceiling for this team? That’s hard to say, but why is it so unbelievable to think the Mets will play at the same level for their next 68 games? That would put them at 83-71 with 8 games left in the season. I have said all year that 88 wins will snare the NL Wild Card. So you do the math.

At 5-3 in their last 8, the Mets could sneak in and grab it. And that’s just playing at their present level — not accounting for the addition of Wright or any contribution from Johan Santana.

Now, you can choose to immerse yourself in Mets trade talk or you can enjoy watching this hard-nosed team — a club that amazin’ly refuses to believe they are doomed. You make the call.

Are you with Coutinho? Make your case in the comments below…

Comments (13)
  1. flea says:

    Let’s not get crazy yet. There is an entire second half to go. They will finish right where they belong.

  2. MetFanInChicago says:

    Yeah the Yanks are dominating the AL this year huh? How did it feel to get swept TWICE at home against your most hated team? Now that’s something to be real proud of. 1st place will trickle away and the Yankees may barely back in with a lucky wildcard spot. As a Met fan, no expectations = no disappointment. Anything else is a bonus.

    If they are overacheiving, so what? It’s fun to watch. Dopey bandwagon, trendy Yankee fans are so agitated to see anyone else do well when they really need to concentrate on their own team.

    They spend more time bashing the Mets and their fans than they do cheering for their own team. Laughable

    1. Need I say more? says:

      Hey Met-Loser-FanInChicago, how does it feel not winning a World Series in over 25 yrs?

      You have yet to recover from the spanking the Yankees gave the Mets in the 2000 WS

      When the Mets win one & that’s if they ever do, then come talk to us about winning.

      Seems like the cold weather there in Chi-town has frozen your pea brain

      1. MetFanInChicago says:

        Blah blah blah…broken record. nothing ever fresh outta Yankee fans The most painful thing about being a Yankee fan is knowing that the most hated rivalry in all of sports history belongs to the Boston Red Sox. No comment about that, just deflect with your childish dribble like everyone else. Nothing substantial.

      2. MetFanInChicago says:

        Silence….just as I thought.

      3. Need I say more? says:

        yeah, yet the Yankees are in first place sh** for brains, have won the division 14 times since 1996 while the Red Sox have not.

        Yankees have lost only once to them when it mattered in ’04. Yankees own those losers, look it up dumb*ss

        Every since idiots like you have become bandwagon Sox fans thinking they are the team yet its the Yankees that keep on winning.

        You never answered the question, how does it feel not having your losers win in over 25 yrs.

        What happened, had your tongue up your boyfriend’s b*tt that you could not answer the question. How does it feel having the Phillies be your daddy?

      4. MetFaninChicago says:

        FYI genius, the Sox are on of my most hated teams.

        Blah Blah Blah as usual. No substance.

  3. Larry says:

    Hey genius… the Met payroll of 140 million includes Castillo, Perez and Santana. None of whom are playing on this team. They ARE playing without Wright or Davis and a seriously under performing Bay. The only two established everyday veteran players that are playing up to or above their expected level are Beltran and Reyes. Turner, Tejada, Murphy, Duda has been the Met infield the last several games. Ealier in the season, Pridie was playing center field everyday because Pagan was hurt and even Bay was out for a few weeks . The mets are tough and resilient this year. They lead or are close to the ML lead in two out RBI’s. The strike out fewer times and walk more times than many teams in MLB. The entire identity of this team has done a 180 from where it;s been over the last 4 years. A refreshing turn of events.So stop trying to throw cold water on the season the Mets have had so far. Go wave your Yankee pom poms and blow kisses to Jeter when he gets his 3000th hit. Stick to making remarks about things you actually know to be true.

    1. Hello, McFly, anybody in there? says:

      Larry you’re an idiot and I’m sure you’ve been told that many times.
      It seems like you read what was written, but did not comprehend.

      Stop using the injuries nonsense, the payroll is what it is moron, $140 mil, whether those over paid players are on the roster or not.

      The Pirates payroll Einstein is just a little over $45 mil & the Nationals is at $57 mil, the Mets payroll is almost 3 times theirs, yet the Nationals record is the same as the loser Mets and Pirates are 5 games over .500 which makes their record better then the Mets

      Can you explain and tell us why that is possible that both these teams are doing better than your loser Mets with less payroll and no stars?

  4. ace11 says:

    pay Coutino no mind

    he’s a knucklehead

    he does it ot get a rise out of people

    but he’s a moron

  5. How did this guy get a writing job? says:

    Since when are the Mets the Pirates & Nationals, the Mets after all are a team with a payroll of over $140 mil payroll. This guy is talking like the Mets are playing with unknown players and put together by only minor leaguers.

    This the same guy who wrote an article just this past Friday on the Mets being as good as the Yankees, whatever happened to a rebutted article after the weekend series Monday morning.

    He’s been writing all season like its September. Half of remaining schedule games still needs to be played.

    Phillies had Utley down for 2 months as well as their closer yet they are in 1st place. St. Louis had their ace pitcher Wainwright done for the year & now Pujols & they are in 1st place

    The Yankees have their entire bullpen redone because of injuries to key relievers & 2010 eighteen (18) game winner Hughes out since April, yet they are in 1st place.

    For a team with a payroll of $140 mil the Mets should be playing better ball & that includes the injuries. There’s a chance in the next few weeks that three key players (Reyes, Beltran & K-Rod) are all goners. What then.

    1. Ray says:

      If you actually believe there is even a chance that the Mets are about
      to trade Beltran, Reyes and K-Rod in the next few weeks, it’s time for
      you to get back on your meds, pal. What planet have you been watching?

      1. How do Mets fans get around when they're stupid says:

        Ray, wake up the hell up, what freaking planet are you on? Planet Moron. How many times has it been said & printed that the Mets will be lowering their payroll.

        Reading Little Mets Club Fans report will not get you the information needed like you would in adult publications like the NY Times, Daily News & NY Post.

        They are already shopping K-Rod. He pitches in 19 more games his new contract for next year kicks in.

        It’s known that the Mets must trade Beltran because he has a clause in his contract where the Mets cannot offer him arbitration, in other words loser, if he signs with another team the Mets do not get a pick in the draft for losing Beltran.

        As for overrate Reyes, yeah, he’ll get the 20 mil a year he’s looking for with the Mets when they have no money to spend and for a player that does not hit in the middle of the order.

        Wishful thinking on your part, enjoy the next few weeks because that’s all the Mets fans have left in seeing these players in a loser Mets uniform.

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