NEW YORK -- It's not all gloom and doom for the New York Mets after losing the final three games of the first half to drop six games behind the Washington Nationals in the division. Here are five things that went right for the Mets before the break:
1. No shortcomings at short. When the Mets signed Asdrubal Cabrera to a two-year, $18.5 million contract in December that included a team option for 2018, some scouts told manager Terry Collins that Cabrera's days as a shortstop appeared over. That has hardly been the case. In addition to providing capable fielding, Cabrera has been a workhorse despite a cranky knee, appearing in 85 of 88 games. He's hitting .262 with 12 homers and 29 RBIs.
2. In-season acquisitions. Yes, the Mets have lost some big names to injuries this season, including David Wright (ruptured disk), Lucas Duda (lower back stress fracture) and now Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet syndrome). The silver lining has been positive contributions from in-season additions. Rene Rivera performed so solidly behind the plate that the Mets decided to keep him at the major-league level rather than Kevin Plawecki once Travis d'Arnaud returned from the disabled list. James Loney, who had been biding time in Triple-A with the San Diego Padres, has been a very effective plug at first base. And Kelly Johnson, who cost the Mets righty prospet Akeel Morris, has provided a valuable bench piece. The early returns on Jose Reyes appear positive, too. Not know for his power, Reyes produced three homers in addition to two doubles during his first week as a Met.
3. Power. The Mets' ability to manufacture runs clearly has been an issue, but the power department is more than fine. Highlighted by Yoenis Cespedes' 21 homers, the Mets have produced 122 long balls as a team. That trails only the Washington Nationals (124) in the National League.
4. Back end of the bullpen. Yes, he has made you sweat a little with the volume of baserunners, but first-time All-Star Jeurys Familia is 31-for-31 in save conversions this season. That blows away Armando Benitez's former franchise record of 24 straight saves to begin the 2001 season. Setup man Addison Reed has been equally as valuable. When he was acquired last August, Reed initially looked like a non-tender candidate during the offseason. Instead, he's 2-2 with a 2.16 ERA in 43 relief appearances. He has a 0.912 WHIP and opponents are hitting .190 with a .233 on-base percentage against him. And don't forget Jerry Blevins as the primary lefty specialist. Batters are hitting .178 against him. Just keep him away from curbs.
5. Something old and something (relatively) new. The rotation looked so deep during the offseason, the plan was to re-sign Bartolo Colon and have him move to the bullpen during the summer, once Zack Wheeler returned from Tommy John surgery rehab. Now, the 43-year-old Colon has been invaluable in the rotation and is not getting dislodged. He's even an All-Star for the fourth time in his career. Meanwhile, Noah Syndergaard has been the ace that Harvey had been billed to be. Despite pitching with a small bone spur in his pitching elbow and departing his last start with what has been labeled "arm fatigue," Syndergaard is 9-4 with a 2.56 ERA. He also will travel to San Diego for the All-Star Game and might have been Collins' choice as starter, but instead will not pitch. Syndergaard is due to pitch again in the fifth game after the break to maximize his rest.