The Mets may sit in fourth place in the NL East, (52-56), but as they enter August, their starters and bullpen have secured them a glimmer of playoff hope.
Jacob deGrom has been stellar, making quite a case for National League Rookie of the Year. Zack Wheeler is turning his season around, and Jon Niese and Dillon Gee have put together solid outings, when healthy. Out of the 'pen, Jenrry Mejia's nasty repertoire is screening in ninth innings everywhere.
Here are a few numbers proving that the franchise's prestigious pitching culture is alive and well.
The Mets' mark at the two-thirds point of the season represents the 10th-best ERA in the majors prior to Thursday's games. The last time the Amazin's boasted an ERA this low through a full season was in 1990 (3.43), with Frank Viola leading a staff of Doc Gooden, David Cone, Sid Fernandez and Ron Darling. This year's team is well below the big-league average of 3.78 -- the lowest since 1992 -- which is no rarity for Flushing's finest.
Despite a fluctuating major league ERA over the last few decades that peaked in 2000 (4.76) and has steadily diminished, the Metropolitans have been below it nearly three-quarters of the time. In 52 complete seasons, Mets arms have been above-average in 38 of them, with anomalies surfacing in the team's first six years and, most recently, in 2009, 2011 and 2012. They have led the bigs in the category four times (1971, '76, '86, '88)
A team is only as good as its next day's starter. Well, what if that guy had a sub-4.00 ERA, along with the seven relievers in the bullpen? That's all 12 available hurlers having statistically sound seasons.
Twenty pitchers have thrown for the Mets this year, with 14 below that line. The six above have either been released (Jose Valverde), suffered season-ending injuries (Scott Rice and Bobby Parnell) or are in the minors (Rafael Montero, John Lannan and Gonzalez Germen).
Reliever Kyle Farnsworth (3.18 ERA) was outrighted to Triple-A and picked up by the Astros, and Buddy Carlyle (1.00) was called up on Saturday to replace Daisuke Matsuzaka (3.87), who is on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.
When the highest ERA on the team is 3.88 -- belonging to 41-year-old Bartolo Colon -- there's a chance to win each night and continue vying for a ticket to October.