Marlins Manager Don Mattingly announced over the weekend that the club slugger, Giancarlo Stanton, had suffered a groin injury and would make a trip to the disabled list. MRI results show he has a grade 3 left groin strain, a far worse diagnosis that will likely end Stanton’s season. Let’s just say, this isn’t the best news for the Marlins, who have held their own under Donnie Baseballs’ helm and are only 0.5 games out of the NL Wild Card.
To put things into perspective, let’s look at the numbers. Out of 381 at bats in 2016, Giancarlo is hitting .241/.329/.496. At 25 home runs, he was on par to mushroom his entire 2015 HR total of 27. And let’s not even mention his OPS…okay, I can’t help myself! His on-base plus slugging is an insane 0.826, 2nd in the Majors. His bat and outfielding will be surely missed by the Marlins…but 1,300 miles North, there’s a sigh of relief coming from Queens.
Giancarlo Stanton has been a complete nightmare for the NY Mets. All their World Series caliber pitching can’t seem to stop him from not just getting on base, but from running down multiple base hits. (Stanton has an OPS of 1.115 against the Mets this year.) 1.115!!! (Yes, I am scream-typing!) His Triple-Slash Line against the Mets is better than his 2016 season numbers (.293/.383/.732).
So with this in mind, will the Mets be able to take advantage of the Marlins’ loss of their power hitter? My heart wants to say “yes,” but my rational side says, “no.” Mainly because the problems plaguing the Mets are a sum of many parts, not one of which can be resolved by an injury to their divisional rivals. Stacked injuries, a starting rotation that looks otired from a long 2015 season and huge problems with situational hitting – it all looks too much for the Mets to overcome.
But does it help that they won’t be facing Giancarlo for the rest of the season? Sure, why not. As of August 15th, the Mets are 2.5 games out of the NL Wild Card. With seven regular season games against the Marlins, any advantage the Mets are given, they’ll take. The real question will be if they choose to determine their own destiny, or continue to wait for their opponents to announce bad news.
When the Kansas City Royals lost in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, against the San Francisco Giants, the entire team was locked into the 2015 season and making it back to the World Series. When the New York Mets finished 2014 with a disappointing 79-83 season and a post-season drought of eight years, very few within the team could imagine they’d get to the post-season, let alone the World Series. And that was the deciding factor–a team with World Series dreams vs. a team just looking to finish above .500. And with that, I cannot be more proud of my New York Mets. Because with no expectations, from literally anyone in baseball, the Mets scraped together a team that finished with 90 wins, a National League Pennant and the experience of being in a World Series.
I’m not in the business of blaming individuals whom, at some point in the season, played a huge part in what the Mets achieved this year. I’m really tired of the finger pointing, but at the same time I get it. Fans’ collective patience is minimal in a huge market like New York. We all knew the flaws, and I won’t discredit the team’s accomplishments by naming names. (If you don’t know the people in question by now, chances are you’re a fair-weather fan reading this.) The infielding, defensive weaknesses and lack of discipline in keeping the line moving instead of chasing the long ball–these were the vulnerabilities haunting this team. I’m going to be disappointed for about a week that the Mets didn’t win the World Series and then go back to remembering where they were in July and, finally, be amazed where they ended up. After all, “Ya Gotta Believe.”
There’s much more to talk about in future posts, like what the Mets can do in the off-season to strengthen the team and what we learned about the makeup of this team, including its future potential for a post-season win. For now, let’s just remember the simple fact that the Mets weren’t being groomed for a World Series bid, but they made it there anyway. With a World Series under their belt and a young team that’s ready to make some moves during this long Winter, Mets fans should have nothing but hope for 2016. Let’s Go Mets! And THANK YOU!