Mets’ ‘consistency’ key to winning ways: Showalter

Mets’ ‘consistency’ key to winning ways: Showalter


WASHINGTON, D.C. — How have the Mets done it this year?

It’s a question on lots of people’s minds, both the diehards who bleed blue and orange and the ones actually doing all the winning. Many have speculated that it’s the Buck Showalter effect, as the one-of-a-kind manager has brought an air of playful confidence rooted in the belief that players do better when there’s less tension around them.

But also, a few quick looks at the stats makes another thing clear. The Mets are really freaking good. Barging into D.C. with six straight wins in their pocket, Showalter gave his thoughts on why they don’t lose very often.

“We’ve pitched real well,” Showalter stated. “That’s one thing. We’ve played good defensively. That takes a lot of pressure off. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve gotta score a bunch of runs a night. I’ve been there. Some nights you have to, but I think giving our pitchers a margin for error, grinding at-bats, it’s hard to keep that concentration level. The thing that’s been most impressive is the consistency of the concentration level. I think they kind of feed off each other.”

Recently, the winning has come against both good teams and ones that are going nowhere fast. This current winning streak began with a W against San Diego and two triumphs over the Yankees, and the Mets also took two of three from Atlanta in mid-July. But that month also saw them run roughshod over the Cubs, Reds and Marlins, whose main contributions to Major League Baseball for the rest of the season will be trading away their few desirable players.

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All a team can do is beat who’s in front of them, though. The Nationals are next, and should get brushed aside just like the Marlins were in Miami, but anything can happen. The team’s secret weapon, whether coincidentally or not, has been Daniel Vogelbach. Since making his first appearance with the team on July 24, the Mets are undefeated.

“There’s eight other spots, four other guys on the bench that play, the bullpen, there’s a lot of factors in that,” Showalter reminded reporters in his office on Monday. “He’s been one of them.”

A not-so-secret weapon, two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, is champing at the bit to make his start on Tuesday. The Mets are in a tremendous position right now—FanGraphs has their playoff odds at 100% heading into Monday’s game—which removes any urgency to push deGrom more than they need to.

“I try to keep in mind, it’s been a long time since Jake’s pitched,” Showalter said. “We’ll sit down after every outing and see where we are, make sure that we’re covered like we are with all the pitchers in case there’s a problem.”

He did not rule out the possibility of using deGrom on longer rest, something that he said he’s always open to with his pitchers, not just the one who’s right arm is about as valuable as Steve Cohen’s art collection.

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“There’s some unknown about Jake, we’ll see,” Showalter conceded. “That will evolve with off days and doubleheaders and different things as we go.”

The Mets introduced first-round pick Kevin Parada to the press on Sunday. Via Zoom from Citi Field, the 20-year-old catcher from Georgia Tech spoke about the Yellow Jackets of the past that have helped him through this life-changing process.

“Guys like Joey [Bart], Matt Wieters, Jason Varitek,” Parada said, listing the other notable catchers to emerge from Georgia Tech. “I had marketing class with Mark Teixeira so I got to meet some guys who played in the big leagues and have been through it. They’ve always been very open if I have any questions or need any advice. I can always get a hold of them.”

Flanked by Tommy Tanous (VP of international/amateur scouting) and Drew Toussaint (assistant director of international/amateur scouting), Parada donned a Mets hat, jersey, and ear-to-ear smile after signing his contract. The signing bonus for the young catcher was a little over $5 million too, which probably contributed to the kid’s excitement.

“I’m elated to be part of the Mets organization. I’m super excited that they believe in me. I’m ready for the next steps.”

Those next steps, according to Tanous, will be going to Florida for “on-boarding” workouts. From there, the team’s player development department will decide what level of the minor leagues Parada will report to.

“I’ve been swinging the bat a little bit, throwing a little bit,” Parada informed. “Doing a very light amount. That’s obviously going to ramp up in the next couple weeks.”

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