These Mets are the anti-Jets, a feel-good New York story

NEW YORK -- Geno Smith and the New York Jets will probably be on the back pages of this city's tabloids on Wednesday morning. But Matt Harvey and the New York Mets are more deserving.

While Gang Green seem as dysfunctional as ever, the Amazin's are looking more and more like a pennant contender again, at long last.

Harvey gave the Mets eight shutout innings on Tuesday night. That's nothing new, really. But this time the Mets scratched out a few runs for him in a 4-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Juan Lagares, of all people, was the offensive hero, going 3-for-5 while hitting a two-run double in the eighth inning. The 2014 Gold Glove winner, now a bench player because of his struggles at the plate and the trades the Mets have made, got just his second start of the month. He made the most of it.

"I go in ready to play every day, and if I don't play, I still have to be ready to be in the game," Lagares said. "I just try to control what I can control, working hard every day. Tonight I got the opportunity and tried to take advantage."

He certainly took advantage. In doing so, he made his manager, Terry Collins, look like a soothsayer. Collins predicted during Tuesday afternoon's pregame session with the media that Lagares would have a strong outing.

"I'll tell you something about big league players, they're proud guys," Collins said after the game. "They're very proud. Every guy in that room has an ego; that's what makes them great. They believe they're really good, and they are good.

"And when you're relegated -- he's used to playing every day, and now he hasn't -- it doesn't sit very good. Sometimes you gotta go out and prove, 'Hey look, I'm the guy that belongs out there.' He's been itching [to play], and I thought he might have a big night."

Collins said Lagares will continue to play against lefties, so he should be back in the lineup on Wednesday against Jorge De La Rosa.

The Mets suddenly have lots of viable options in the outfield. Michael Cuddyer saw his first action Tuesday since returning from the disabled list, and he also had a big night, with two hits and two runs scored.

Cuddyer heaped praise on Lagares after the game.

"Tonight he got the opportunity to go out there and start, and he had a great game," Cuddyer said. "It's nice to see, especially a young guy, be able to follow suit like that, and get on board. 'Cause what we need in order for us to get into the postseason, we all gotta pull in the same direction, and that's the direction of winning."

Cuddyer may face more bench time himself if Lagares keeps hitting. You have to figure Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson are going to be in the lineup almost every day, leaving just one more outfield spot to fill. But the veteran doesn't sound fazed.

"The situation that I'm in right now is very similar to Lagares': I'm maybe not gonna play every day, I don't know," he said. "But to have that attitude of whenever Terry calls upon you, whatever you need to do to help win the game, that's what you want to do. And I think guys in here are seeing how fun it is to win."

That kind of leadership? Priceless.

The Jets, who shared Shea Stadium with the Mets from 1964 to 1983, certainly don't appear to have those kinds of leaders right now, at least in their locker room.

But a far different story is developing here in Queens. The Mets are rolling, and Harvey days are a lot more fun now that he has some help.