The first half of the 2022 season has been an excellent run for the New York Mets.
Clutch hitting, dominant pitching and unlikely heroes have stepped up to give New York one of the best starts in team history. Sitting at 23 games over .500, the Mets finished with 58 wins before the All-Star break: one win shy of the team record set in 1986.
In a first half full of top moments, which ones were the best of the best?
5. Arenado’s error propels Mets in 9th
New York did not lose their first series of the season until the middle of May. The consistent pitching and timely hitting were a major cause for that, but it doesn’t mean that they weren’t able to capitalize off of other team’s mistakes.
After squandering a superb Max Scherzer start on the road in St. Louis on April 25th, the Mets went into the ninth trailing 2-0 and down to their last out. A costly error by Nolan Arenado cut the Mets deficit to one when Dom Smith beat out an infield single to take the lead at 3-2.
A Brandon Nimmo home-run would end up sealing the game.
This game was one of the more improbable comebacks Mets fans have seen as the Cardinals rotation was just stifling the Mets bats for one of the first times all season. The win gave the Mets a 13-5 start, and what was the start of a three game series win in St. Louis.
4. Bad Fundies! Marlins error gifts Mets win on Keith Hernandez Day
New York handled Keith Hernandez’s number retirement about as well as a team could. It helped that the Metropolitans had a bit of late inning magic to send everyone home happy as well. After giving up a late 3-2 lead, the game went into extra innings.
Francisco Lindor’s error in the 10th gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the order for New York. Down to their last out, Tomas Nido doubled home Canha to tie the game. Then, a Tanner Scott errant throw on the next at-bat sent Nido home, the Mets into a celebration and the fanbase into a frenzy.
Much like the Cardinals comeback, the Mets capitalized on an opposing team’s own mistake. As unlikely a play as could possibly happen, it continued to show that this was a much different New York Mets team than people were accustomed to seeing.
3. Scherzer/Bassitt live up to their billing against the Braves
There wasn’t a team playing better than the Atlanta Braves in the month of June. At 21-6, the Braves erased a 10 and a half game deficit in the NL East to be just a game and a half behind New York when the two teams met in Atlanta for a crucial three game set.
Without Starling Marte (injury), and Jeff McNeil (birth of his son) New York needed to rely on top pitching from their two top acquisitions in the off-season. Both Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt did not disappoint.
Scherzer locked down Atlanta’s potent offense for seven innings while giving up only three hits and one run. The Mets took game one by a score of 4-1 thanks to Scherzer’s dynamic performance and excellent work from the bullpen.
But after losing the second game of the series, Chris Bassitt had enormous pressure to perform well and steal a series on the road. The former Oakland All-Star would match Scherzer’s performance.
Bassitt went six innings, gave up just a run and struck out six. His performance kept Atlanta at bay and gave New York a comfortable 2.5 game lead before the All-star break.
2. Adonis Medina shocks the Dodgers
Forget the Mets unlikely comeback wins or top performances. What Adonis Medina did in Los Angeles to tie a four game series with the Dodgers is one of the most improbable performances for the Mets this season.
With Atlanta scorching hot, the Mets were in danger of losing three of four games to the Los Angeles Dodgers in LA. Trevor Williams pitched admirably but exited the game after five with the Mets down 2-1. An eighth inning onslaught by Pete Alonso, Eduardo Escobar and Tomas Nido put the Mets out in front 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
But reliever Seth Lugo struggled and gave up two runs to send the game to extras. After Davis scored Alonso in the top of the 10th for a 5-4 lead, the Mets called upon rookie Adonis Medina to get his first career save against the top of the Dodgers order.
The Dodgers had Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Trae Turner up to face a player who had made just five appearances in the majors before the season started. Everyone expected the Dodgers to feast on the young righty.
A fly-out to Betts, a groundout to Freeman, and a Will Smith strikeout gave Medina the save, the Mets the win, and a series split in LA. As improbable a performance as the Mets have seen all year, this one will be remembered for a long time.
1. Mets Rally from 7-1 down to stun Philadelphia
For the last 330 times the Mets were down by six runs in the ninth inning, they had lost.
That streak ended in Philadelphia on May 5th. Trailing 7-1 against a Phillies team that had chased Taijuan Walker before the fifth inning, the Mets bats woke up in the top of the ninth to make one of the most improbable comebacks in team history.
Lindor got the scoring started in the top of the ninth inning with a two-run shot. An infield single by Mark Canha, a double by JD Davis and a Nimmo single ended up tying the game all with two outs.
Then Starling Marte, who led off the run with an infield single, hit a moon-shot double to left center to give New York an 8-7 lead.
To cap it all off, Edwin Diaz, who Met fans had demonized for most of his time with the club due to a history of blown saves, was elite in the bottom of the inning for his sixth save of the year.
The comeback was incredible, the bullpen was excellent and the win had all of Major League Baseball talking about the New York Mets in a much different light than before.
The rally in Philadelphia was New York’s announcement on the national stage that this was a different club than in years past and got the Metropolitan faithful excited for the rest of the year.
The Mets had a superb start to their 2022 season. But the season isn’t over. Great first half moments can be overshadowed if the team doesn’t make the playoffs or struggles in the second half of the year.
Time will tell just how good this Mets team is, but if it’s anything close to the first half of the season, the Mets’ faithful could be in for a fun ride.
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