Yesterday the Mets spilt a day/night doubleheader with the St. Louis Cardinals, while the Washington Nationals had a ninth inning collapse in Cleveland. The Mets now sit back 4.5 games behind Washington heading into action tonight, and things are beginning to look interesting again in the NL East standings. And guess what? Offense may not be the reason why the Mets can take the division.
Where the Mets may lack in offense, they do not struggle in closing games when they have the lead. Jeurys Familia is on a historic run with a league leading 36 saves and has converted 52 consecutive regular season saves, dating back to last August. Those 52 consecutive saves is third-most all-time.
Heck even Addison Reed has been virtually unhittable as a set-up man as he holds a 1.91 ERA in 48 appearances this season, and he has not been scored upon in his last eight outings. He is also a virtual lock to break the franchise record for holds which is 26 by Aaron Heilman. Reed currently has 23.
The Nationals however have had question marks surrounding Johnathan Papelbon it seems since they acquired him last July. Papelbon has a 9.53 ERA over his last seven appearances, and has allowed six runs over his last two outings, both losses. The Nationals struck out on trying to trade for now Cubs reliever Aroldis Chapman, and they are scouring the market for help to solidify the closers role. And unfortunately for the Nationals there isn’t much out there that is affordable unless they are willing to pay a steep price for someone like Wade Davis.
Right now the Mets are riding a historic wave with the way Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia have pitched so far this season. Yes the Mets need to find better ways of manufacturing runs, but if the Mets have a lead heading into the eighth inning it’s a virtual lock that they are going to come away victorious as they hold a 45-0 record. If I were a betting man, I’d take the Mets bullpen down the stretch rather than the Nationals, and that could be a key to winning the NL East.