69° Good Evening
69° Good Evening
SportsColumnistsDavid Lennon

Mets are starting to make us believe

Curtis Granderson celebrates his first-inning three-run home run

Curtis Granderson celebrates his first-inning three-run home run against the Yankees with his teammates at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Any idea where Matt Harvey is currently rehabbing? Sign that online loyalty oath yet? And how often did you wonder Tuesday night if Saul Katz might in fact be peddling his share of the franchise?

The Mets could employ an army of spin doctors, but nothing erases the off-field absurdity more effectively and efficiently than playing winning baseball. For a few days now, Terry Collins and Co. have accomplished something we hadn't seen in a while around this team.

The Mets have changed the conversation.

After beating up the Yankees for two nights in the Bronx, including Tuesday night's 12-7 drubbing, the Mets are trying to convince us that maybe, just maybe, they could matter this season, even if they're still a long, long way from Fred Wilpon's "meaningful" games in September.

Let's not get greedy. We'll settle for the Mets being a factor in the Subway Series, and they're giving us that so far. Other than Zack Wheeler, who couldn't make it out of the fifth inning despite a pair of four-run leads, the Mets partied again in the Bronx -- and made it enjoyable to be a fan.

Imagine that.

"The last few days have been a lot of fun," said Eric Young Jr., who scored three times from the leadoff spot. "I'm excited to see what the next few months hold."

Over the span of 72 hours, starting with Sunday's walk-off win over the Phillies, the Mets have done more than speak vaguely about success in the distant future. Though it's true the Yankees are hurting badly, a win is a win, and the Mets are supposed to be getting to 90 this season, right?

At least now, Sandy Alderson is not just talking big. On Monday, the general manager acted swiftly to improve the roster with two Vegas call-ups for the pitching staff and the move of Jenrry Mejia to the bullpen. In the past, the Mets had waited to summon youngsters such as Harvey and Wheeler, and by then, it was more about their long-term development instead of the team's short-term fortunes. And also saving the Wilpons a few bucks by waiting to start their arbitration clock.

Now the Mets are telling us that's not how they do business anymore. And this sense of mid-May urgency is showing us that they're at least trying.

"I think it says a lot," Collins said before the game. "We've been ridiculed at times that we're worried about Super 2s [arbitration] and worried about things down the road. We're worried about winning."

Being worried about it and doing it are two different things, but we'll take it one step at a time. Alderson promised when he took over that the Mets would be contenders in 2014 and the GM shouldn't get a free pass just because Harvey is sidelined.

There is now a glimmer of optimism, and not only for beating the Yankees. Is it possible that the Mets may have accidentally stumbled upon a shortstop with the revival of Ruben Tejada? After losing his job Friday, Tejada got a second chance to reclaim it when Wilmer Flores suddenly became too sick to stay in the lineup.

Tejada reached base twice and scored both times through the first seven innings of Tuesday night's marathon. Collins expected to start Flores Wednesday night to keep him from getting stale. But the manager suggested Tejada has a legit chance to be the regular shortstop again. "No question about it," Collins said.

Where the rest of us used to see nothing but failure, the Mets are showing us possibilities, from Lucas Duda swatting away any lingering memories of the traded Ike Davis to Mejia perhaps carving an inside track to the closer's role.

When asked how much longer the Mets could go without a designated closer, Collins joked, "We got about 130 games left?" The actual number was 125, and it's now looking like they could be more interesting than Harvey's rehab.

New York Sports