Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Eager for Another 'Miracle'

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Eager for Another 'Miracle'

Article excerpt

As they anxiously awaited the start of the National League wild- card game against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday evening, Mets fans overwhelmingly said this year's patchwork roster fought adversity, and just getting to the postseason was something to be grateful for.

For fans of a team that has competed in back-to-back playoff appearances only twice in its history, it was a "miracle" the Mets survived despite missing so many players instrumental in the team's unexpected ride to the World Series last year.

"We are resilient, but we aren't as strong as we were last year," said Jeff Fox, 26, of Teaneck. "The season has been a success. When three of your five starting pitchers go down and you still make the playoffs? That's a victory in itself. Somehow we pulled it off. The miracles keep on happening."

Since the beginning of the year, the team's injury list had grown: captain David Wright, aces Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom, fan- favorite Wilmer Flores, hometown hero Steven Matz, second baseman Neil Walker and slugging first baseman Lucas Duda, all for extended or season-ending periods. Those losses seemed insurmountable as recently as August, when the team appeared on the verge of collapsing. But a late-season push, and a league-best record of 27- 13 since Aug. 20, catapulted them into the playoffs.

The roster that filled in the gaps gave fans an emotional roller coaster of a year, they said, but unexpected offensive production from the likes of Jose Reyes, Kelly Johnson and James Loney, and the out-of-nowhere success of pitchers Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo pushed the team into the Wild Card game.

"We may have lost a few key players, but we are back in action," said Shawn Hund, 18, of Toms River. "You have to like having the young players in the lineup."

Although the team isn't as packed with stars as it was last year, that didn't stop fans from soaking in the second year in a row of playoff baseball in Queens. …

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