By: Joe Messineo

Four Mets Players Who Have Stepped Up During Their Recent Surge


Four Mets Players Who Have Stepped Up During Their Recent Surge

Back in July, the Mets looked like they might stay a second-place team all season. They lacked any real offensive threats, they were poor on defense, and they somehow managed to leave Wilmer Flores in a game even though he’d come to believe that he was involved in a trade to the Brewers.

Since late July, however, everything has changed. The Mets made the trades they needed to make, bringing in supporting bats like 3B Juan Uribe and OF Kelly Johnson before grabbing a true offensive threat in the form of OF Yoenis Cespedes.

Those new players have reinvigorated the team, as have the Mets’ core of young pitching aces, but’s taken more than them to bring the Mets to their current first-place position. Here are the four players who have significantly improved their game over the past couple of weeks. Thanks to their ability to step up and help the superstars, the Mets have surged past the Washington Nationals and show no signs of slowing down.

Lucas Duda

No Mets batter has improved over the past few weeks the way Lucas Duda has. Until recently, Duda’s 2015 campaign could only be described as a disappointment. He’s hitting .247 on the season and was horrible in midsummer, posting a .187 average in June and batting .178 in July. He hit one homer in June. One.

Through the first 10 days of August, though, Duda has been a new man. He has hit three home runs over the first nine games of the month. All three of those came in the series against the then-division-leading Nationals. He has hit .324 so far this month, and improvement that has been key for the surging Mets.

Duda sat out the Mets’ last game with a stiff back. Mets fans hope to see him back healthy as soon as possible – the team’s recent winning ways have a lot to do with him.

Wilmer Flores

At this point, everyone in baseball seems to know Wilmer Flores’ story. Flores has been shuffled around the Mets infield for most of his major-league career, playing shortstop, third base, and second base. He struggled early this year and was booed by a fed-up fan base. And then, on the fateful night of Wednesday, July 29, he heard that he had been traded. Flores wept openly, showing a level of emotion that’s rare in professional sports.

The catch was, Flores hadn’t been traded at all – the rumor going around the stadium was false. In the days that followed, Mets fans rallied around Flores, turning him into a sort of folk hero. Flores responded by becoming red hot at the plate. He crushed a home run in the bottom of the twelfth inning against the Nationals, winning the first game in a series that the Mets eventually swept. Then he batted in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning against the Rays the following Friday. Flores still isn’t a world-beater at the plate, but he’s providing a huge spark for the Mets, who have rallied as a team in the weeks since that night in late July.

Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson is the Mets’ team leader in home runs. For most of the season, that was kind of an embarrassment – after all, Granderson is an aging player and the 15 home runs he’d hit as of July 29th were nowhere near the league leaders.

In nine games after the 29th, however, Granderson slugged four more homers. He failed to get a hit in just one of those games, and he batted .317 over that span (he’s a .257 hitter on the season). Granderson collected 10 RBIs over the same stretch, which is more than an RBI a game. The Mets, not coincidentally, went 7-2 over those 9 games.

Jon Niese

The 2015 Mets’ claim to fame has been their starting pitching. Their young guns (Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom, and Noah Syndergaard) give them a great chance to win the game in each of their starts. That’s three out of five games that the Mets don’t need to worry quite as much about.

But to properly evaluate the Mets’ recent run, you need to get credit to the pitchers who aren’t expected to win most of their starts. Jon Niese has gone seven innings in each of his two starts this month. He gave up three earned runs total across those two starts, and he won both of them. Along with Bartolo Colon, who went eight innings and won the game on August 3rd, Niese deserves a ton of credit for keeping the Mets’ streak alive.

The Mets aces are key to ending losing streaks and starting winning streaks, but it’s the back end of the rotation that is tasked with keeping that momentum alive. That’s what stepping up is all about.

About Joe Messineo

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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