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Know your enemy: New York Mets

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As always with the Mets, it’s pitching.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure you all remember the 2015 NLCS, when New York Mets starting pitchers dominated the Cubs in sweeping the series.

Mets starters have gone through various stages of injury, illness and ineffectiveness since 2015, and now have had two straight losing seasons.

So, as always, the key to Mets success is the starting rotation. It is, as it has for several years, still lead by Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. deGrom, of course, had the best year of his career in 2018 and won the N.L. Cy Young Award. But he will turn 31 this year — he’s a year and a half older than Jose Quintana! — and replicating a season that good will be difficult. Sure, deGrom will be good, he just likely won’t be great again, and thus the Mets will have to depend on health from Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler for success.

The one big deal the Mets made was taking on the remains of the Robinson Cano contract in exchange (essentially) for the remains of Jay Bruce’s contract. The key to that trade, though, was the Mets sending several prospects to the Mariners and acquiring closer Edwin Diaz, who led the big leagues in saves in 2018 and struck out 15.2 per nine innings.

The Mets also reunited with former closer Jeurys Familia, who they sent to the Athletics for a couple of prospects last summer, as a free agent. The Mets should have a strong, deep bullpen to back up that rotation. Pitching will be a real strength for them.

What they’ll get from Cano is anyone’s guess. He missed half of last year with a PED suspension, though he produced well in the 80 games he played. He’s 36 now with five years and $120 million left on his contract. I’d expect him to be a solid performer this year; down the road, who knows?

The other significant Mets acquisition is catcher Wilson Ramos, who was also signed as a free agent. Ramos had a decent season split between the Rays and Phillies last year and should be a steadying agent on the Mets’ pitching staff.

Yoenis Cespedes? Who knows?

As I have noted throughout this article, the Mets will go as far as their pitching will take them.

The Cubs will host the Mets June 20-21-22-23 at Wrigley Field, and will travel to Citi Field in New York August 27-28-29.