Three key Mets questions for the second half

Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon is congratulated by teammates Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon is congratulated by teammates as he returns to the dugout after doubling and scoring in sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Photo Credit: AP / Chris Lee

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1. Buying or selling?

Bartolo Colon (8-8, 3.99 ERA), the 41-year-old righty, should draw heavy interest as the trade deadline approaches. Daniel Murphy (.294/.342/.413), the team's All-Star second baseman, likely will draw much more interest in the trade market than he did last winter. Had the Mets gone 2-8 on their recent homestand, it would have been easy to envision Sandy Alderson shopping both. Instead, they went 8-2 and positioned themselves for a second half in which they could sneak into contention. Perhaps they look for an upgrade in leftfield.

 

2. Real or imagined?

Shortstop Ruben Tejada (.353 OBP) has picked himself up off the canvas after a brutal 2013 season. First baseman Lucas Duda (team-high 14 homers, tied with Curtis Granderson) has emerged as a middle-of-the-order slugger, validating the choice to keep him instead of Ike Davis. In the bullpen, Jeurys Familia (2.06 ERA) has been so good lately that Terry Collins has to be careful about overusing him. Jenrry Mejia (10 saves in 12 chances) looks like he's been a closer all along. In the rotation, Jacob deGrom (3-5, 3.18 ERA) has been a pleasant surprise. Now, is any of it sustainable?

 

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3. Bang or whimper?

The Mets must go 45-22 (.672) to hit Alderson's 90-win benchmark. That's unrealistic. However, the Mets' first winning record since 2008 remains within reach, and that would be a significant step for a franchise that has long awaited a turnaround. They'll have to defy recent history to do it. The Mets have been abysmal in the second half since '08. But to finish at .500, the Mets would need to go 36-31, which is nearly in line with the winning percentage expected from the Mets' run-differential (plus-19) from the first half.

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