2015 New York Mets
|2015 New York Mets |
|Major league affiliations|
|Local television||SportsNet New York|
|Baseball-Reference||2015 New York Mets|
Won NL Pennant
Managed by Terry Collins
History, Comments, Contributions
After surprising most observers by finishing in a tie for second place in the NL East in 2014, the 2015 New York Mets were optimistic heading into the season. One major cause for hope was that pitcher Matt Harvey, who had put together an All-Star season before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2013, would be back, joining an already strong starting rotation also including ageless veteran Bartolo Colon, NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom, youngster Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee. On the offensive side, all key players were returning, including 3B David Wright, 1B Lucas Duda, 2B Daniel Murphy, CF Juan Lagares, RF Curtis Granderson and C Travis d'Arnaud, with Michael Cuddyer coming on board as a free agent to take over the third outfield spot. The only question was at shortstop, where Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada were both vying for playing time.
There were a couple of key early injuries, with Wheeler being lost for the season in spring training with an elbow ligament problem, and closer Jenrry Mejia joining him on the disabled list on Opening Day, April 6th, and then receiving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a banned steroid less than a week later. 3B Wright joined the disabled list on April 14th, victim of a pulled hamstring that turned into a long-term absence. But in spite of those early injuries, the Mets started the year on a roll. They defeated the Washington Nationals, 3-1, on Opening Day, behind the pitching of Colon with another veteran, Buddy Carlyle, stepping in to record the save, and won two of three in the opening series. Then after a pair of losses, they reeled off seven consecutive victories from April 12-18, to stake an early claim to first place in the division. By winning their first six home games, the Mets tied a franchise record set in 1985. During the winning streak, Jeurys Familia had taken over as closer, saving five games in six days. They made it 8 wins in a row when Harvey made it three wins in three starts with a 7-6 defeat of the Miami Marlins on April 19th. However, the injuries continued to mount, with d'Arnaud suffering a broken hand and reliever Jerry Blevins a broken forearm in that game. The 10-3 start matched the best in team history. Luckily for the Mets, they had a top catching prospect playing with the AAA Las Vegas 51s ready to step into the line-up in Kevin Plawecki. He had a couple of hits and scored a pair of runs in his first game on April 21st, leading the Mets to a 7-1 win over the Atlanta Braves, their 9th in a row. It was their longest winning streak since a 10-game run in 2008. A 10th straight win on April 22nd left them one short of the team's all-time mark, last set in 1990, while fans were reminiscing about the 13-3 start in 1986, the last time they had won the World Series. The Mets tied the team record with their 11th win, 6-3 over the Braves, on April 23rd, the fifth time the team had strung that many consecutive victories. The streak ended with a 6-1 loss to the New York Yankees on April 24th.
The Mets cooled down somewhat after that but managed to keep pace over the first half of the season, even though at times the heavily-favored Nationals threatened to run away for good. The Mets relied heavily on their young starting pitchers, Harvey, deGrom, who was the team's lone All-Star, and Noah Syndergaard, who pitched very well after being called up in May. However, the Mets had all sorts of trouble scoring runs, the absence of Wright and d'Arnaud being felt, as well as the lack of production of their outfielders, particularly CF Lagares, whose OBP was well under .300. The offense got a boost just before the All-Star game when Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a three-homer game on July 12th, the first Mets player ever to do so at home. He then continued to hit after the break, until going down to an injury at the beginning of August. Lucas Duda also broke out of an extended slump with a three-homer game on July 29th. The Mets called up top prospect OF Michael Conforto on July 24th, and he went 4 for 4 in his second game, but the team brass realized that help would need to come from the trading market. On that same day, the Mets acquired veteran infielders Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from Atlanta and on July 27th got reliever Tyler Clippard from the Oakland Athletics. That turned out to be a major acquisition, because the very next day, Jenrry Mejia, who had just come back from his 80-game suspension and was pitching well, was caught again for PED use and this time was suspended for 162 games. Finally, on July 31st, the Mets landed slugger Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers, giving them the big bat that had been missing from the middle of the line-up. They swept the Nationals in three games that week-end and on August 3rd, with Cespedes tying a team record by hitting three doubles in a 12-1 rout of the Marlins, they took over first place in the NL East for the first time in over a month, a game ahead of Washington. The following day, they made another move, acquiring pitcher Eric O'Flaherty from the Oakland Athletics and releasing reliever Alex Torres. The Mets' surge into first place came in the middle of a seven-game winning streak.
The Mets ran into another hot team on the week-end of August 14-16, when they were swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game series at Citi Field. The first two games were decided in extra innings, but the Bucs thoroughly beat up the Mets in an 8-1 win in the Sunday contest to complete their season series unbeaten. However, the Nationals were having similar problems, losing 6 straight games, which meant the Mets were still 4 1/2 games in front in spite of the sweep. On August 21st, Cespedes had another great game, this time hitting three homers among five hits, including a grand slam, and collecting 7 RBIs in a 14-9 win over the Colorado Rockies. Shortly after that, the Mets had to place 1B Lucas Duda on the disabled list with a bad back, but they also got back 3B David Wright, who had been out since April. Wright's first game back, against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 24th, was a memorable one, as the Mets set new team record with 8 homers and 14 extra-base hits. Wright got the ball rolling with a drive to deep left field off Adam Morgan in his first at-bat in the 2nd inning, Wilmer Flores added a pair, and Cespedes, Juan Lagares, Travis d'Arnaud, Daniel Murphy and Michael Cuddyer all homered as well, to overcome a rare poor start by deGrom. Fighting for the league ERA title at the start of the game, he saw his chances decline seriously as he allowed 7 runs on 3 homers in 2 2/3 innings.
From September 7-14, the Mets put together an eight-game winning streak that virtually clinched the division title. They were carried by the hot bat of Cespedes, strong pitching, and some late game heroics. For example, on the 13th, Daniel Murphy hit a game-tying three-run homer off Ryan Kelly with two outs in the 9th inning and the Mets then added three runs in the 10th to beat the Braves, 10-7 for their first four-game sweep of that team since 1989.
Awards and Honors
- All-Star: Jacob deGrom
- NL Comeback Player of the Year Award: Matt Harvey
- 2015 Topps All-Star Rookie Team: Michael Conforto (OF) and Noah Syndergaard (RhP)
- Ted Berg: "17 awesome things about the New York Mets", For The Win, USA Today Sports, September 26, 2015. 
- Anthony DiComo: "Mets proud of surprising championship season: Trades, sterling rotation, emergence of Conforto highlighted campaign", mlb.com, November 2, 2015. 
- Anthony DiComo: "15 for '15: The 'Crying Game' and the Mets' run", mlb.com, December 29, 2015. 
- Richard Justice: "Amazin' run by Mets is just that -- amazing!", mlb.com, April 22, 2015. 
- Marty Noble: "Mets starting to form 2015 identity", mlb.com, April 16, 2015. 
- Greg W. Prince: Amazin' Again: How the 2015 New York Mets Brought the Magic Back to Queens, Sports Publishing LLC, New York, NY, 2016. ISBN 978-1-61321-945-8