BY JOE RINI
Journeying at the outskirts of the wildcard race, are the Mets 2014 playoff hopes an alluring, attainable oasis in the distance or a tantalizing, yet hopeless mirage? As the Mets seek to end eight years deserted of playoff baseball, perhaps the current road trip against the division leading Washington Nationals and rival Philadelphia will provide some clarity. The Mets took a step forward on Tuesday by defeating Washington 6-1 as a resurgent Zack Wheeler gutted his way to his fourth straight victory.
After a respectable 5-5 road trip following the All-Star break, the Mets took two of three at Citi Field last week from the Phillies to cap a 15-10 July (tying Pittsburgh for the most wins in the National League in July), but when the July 31 trade deadline struck, the Mets stayed “as is.”
Speaking of the Mets inactivity at the trade deadline, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said, “We were looking at the market and what it would dictate. We set a price on some of our players, and under the circumstances, felt they weren’t met. So be it. We’re happy with the team that we have. We’re happy that we’ve retained all of our players.”
The pitching of Mets rookie Jacob deGrom highlighted the Mets weekend series at Citi Field versus the San Francisco Giants. Locked in a no-hit duel into the seventh inning with his mound counterpart Jake Peavy, deGrom and the Mets prevailed 4-2 on Saturday. DeGrom was awarded the National League’s Rookie of the Month for July his fifth win in five starts and an ERA in the mid 1s.
But it was the only win against the Giants. While the pitchers on the Giants couldn’t silence the inspiring rendition of “God Bless America” by singer Amelia Scaramucci on Sunday at Citi Field,
they did quiet the Mets bats this past weekend by limiting them to only eight runs in four games in taking three of four from the Amazins.
Looking ahead to 2015, the rehabilitation of Matt Harvey progressed as the Mets hurler threw pitches off of a pitcher’s mound last Friday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery nearly one year ago. Afterwards, Harvey said “It was fun to get back out there and do what I love doing. It felt pretty normal, so it was definitely a big success.”
As the Mets prepared to be reintroduced to Matt Harvey, they said good-bye to Bobby Abreu. The 40-year-old outfielder was designated for assignment on Monday after struggling in his role as a pinch hitter. If this is the last major league stop for this veteran of 18 major league seasons, Abreu will finish his career with 2,466 hits and a solid .291 career batting average.
The Mets enter play on Wednesday in fourth place with a record of 54-59, seven games behind second wild card the San Francisco Giant, whom they missed an opportunity to close ground on during the home stand. Following the current road trip starting with three against the Washington Nationals, they return to Citi Field on August 12 for a seven game homestand against Washington and the Chicago Cubs.