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Mets Are Real Before Thin Crowds

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Apparently, Mets fans are not believing in this team. The Mets completed 5-1 homestand at Citi Field before thin crowds that was capped Wednesday afternoon with a 9-1 win and a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Also taking two-of-three from the vastly improved Kansas City Royals shows their resilience and an ability to come from behind.

Perhaps a Mets 9-1 win will carry over with a six-game road swing against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. Visits to the West Coast have been notorious over the years for killing any early season momentum the Mets may have had at the time.

After a dismal 0-5 start the Mets are 10-3 and feeling that early season momentum. Though their fan base is not feeling that momentum as reflected with a dismal crowd of 18,092 Wednesday afternoon. It was the sixth game out of 11 at Citi Field that had under 20,000 fans.

Dismal numbers for sure, but it’s April. There is room for an excuse about low attendance numbers but take nothing away from this Mets team with a different look. They earned their seventh comeback win of the season to tie the Orioles for best in baseball. The three wins against the Pirates were all comebacks and there were four overall on the homestand.

They are pitching and closed their day with a NL league leading staff ERA (3.15) allowing one or zero runs in six games, tied with the Royals. Slashing .292/.364/.451 over their last 11 games are also good numbers. Perhaps when the weather improves the crowds will increase because meteorological metrics tend to say that April showers will bring May flowers.

This win got manager Carlos Mendoza talking about the homestand. A Starling Marte 150th career home run gave the Mets a 2-1 lead in the third inning. Tyrone Taylor with a two-run single in the sixth and Harrison Bader who followed with his first Mets home run, are newcomers that will hopefully play before larger crowds. Mendoza said it was a good homestand and last season let’s recall how comebacks were difficult to find at Citi Field. He mentioned how Taylor has played a role during this span of wins.

“We were able to comeback a couple of nights,” Mendoza said. “Today, got behind again. It’s good to see the team continue to play well. The one thing I like about (Taylor) is he’s ready to play all the time. You know as a manager he’s going to be ready for any situation.”

Mendoza is constantly referring to this being an early part of a long season, as all managers will say in April with a string of wins or losses. Taylor, though relatively unknown, not the high profile free agent that fans hoped for, is batting .458 with a 1.107 OPS in his last 10 games. He recorded his eighth career three-hit game.

Perhaps, when the Mets return to Citi Field a week from Friday the fans will show. And if the comebacks continue with Taylor in the lineup, it will be a matter of time. But the Mets have become that early season surprise and with Taylor a part of the impact.

“I just try to be my best self every day,” Taylor said. “I work hard in practice. I have a game plan. I’m consistent with my work.”

But how long can Taylor continue at this pace? That’s a matter of time as is the case with fans flocking to Citi Field. But Taylor and this Mets lineup for the moment are hitting on all cylinders. The enthusiasm showed in their clubhouse as they packed their bags for a long flight to meet the potent Dodgers’ offense.

Then again, the Royals and Pirates were off to a good start but the Mets pitching was able to contain them. Luis Severino continued his comeback on the mound, appearing early as the proper acquisition for president of baseball operations David Stearns.

Severino (2-1) allowed an unearned run in six innings. It was his longest start since throwing seven scoreless innings last season in an August start with the Yankees. Three double play balls helped him and the Mets bullpen continued to impress with a .243 ERA in their last 9 games.

“We’re doing great,” Severino said. “Putting great at-bats, scoring a lot of runs, defense was unbelievable today, We are where we want to be.”

Yes, the Mets as Severino said, are where they want to be. And those fans will eventually be at Citi Field. The sweep was the Mets first at Citi Field since early June of last year against the Phillies. And Taylor in the outfield with a good throwing arm can also backup Marte.

Winning will bring the fans and weather conditions in April will not. Right now, though, the Mets are riding some momentum.and that’s more important.

Rich Mancuso: X (Formerly Twitter) @Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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