It started by trading for Marcus Stroman.
To be fair, just prior to Stroman joining the Mets rotation, the team's starting pitchers had produced the fourth-most WAR among NL staffs. So it's not like they were struggling.
But the day Brodie Van Wagenen added Stroman, FanGraphs projected the Mets would elevate to being the best rotation in baseball for the remainder of the season.
So far, they've been right...
In the nine games since the Stroman trade went down, during which the Mets have lost just once, the rotation has produced 2.2 WAR, which is the most in all of baseball.
The next closest team is the Dodgers, who have produced 1.8 WAR.
Interestingly, Stroman's contribution has been only symbolic. In his first and so far only start for the team this past Saturday, he pitched just 4.1 innings and gave up three runs.
Meanwhile, Stroman's rotation-mates Jacob deGrom (two starts, three earned runs), Noah Syndergaard (two starts, one earned run), Steven Matz (two starts, five earned runs) and Zack Wheeler (two starts, zero earned runs) have combined for a 1.59 ERA.
While they Mets won an impressive, league-best 18 of their past 24 games, 91 percent of those 24 games were played against below average teams, i.e., under .500.
However, beginning with Stroman's second start for the Mets this Friday at home against the Nationals, 63 percent of the team's remaining games will be against teams either leading or contending for a playoff spot.
In other words, as legendary Orioles manager Earl Weaver once said, "Momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher."
For instance, despite each being considered an "ace," deGrom and Stroman have actually spent most of their time on a mound this season pitching against teams below .500.
The opposite is true for Wheeler, Syndergaard and Matz. This should be expected, but in each pitcher's case, they've allowed on average a full run more against the better competition, which is exactly what they'll be facing most often between now and the end of the season.
In the case of Syndergaard, he's allowed on average three or more runs per game against above-average teams. Again, this is who he'll likely be facing these final seven weeks of the season.
The good news for the rotation, which has been scorching hot the past few weeks, is that Syndergaard, deGrom, Stroman and Wheeler have performed better in the second half of the season during their careers. Matz is the outlier.
In addition, Syndergaard, Wheeler and deGrom each have a history of upping their game during stressful (high leverage) situations. In this instance, Stroman and again Matz are the outliers. However, it's worth noting that, like Syndergaard and deGrom, Stroman has pitched well during his five postseason starts,
"The talent is undeniable," a rival NL East team's advanced scout told me. "I appreciate the numbers you're citing, that's all well and good, but -- in terms of what they've been through during their careers, their postseasons and their competitiveness -- I'd take Stroman, deGrom and Syndergaard to go toe-to-toe with any front three in baseball. They'll be fine."
It's also worth noting that, just like the team's starting rotation, their hitters have scored the most runs (50) in the National League since adding Stroman.
The Yankees lead baseball during that time frame with 52.
Statistically, the Mets finally have the dominant, elite rotation they have been dreaming about since 2013. At the same time, they are finally scoring at an elite level. The bullpen has been average.
"No one wants to face their rotation in a short series," an NL executive added. "Right now, we see them as one of, if not the best, front three in baseball."
I love the above quote because I want the other team to be intimidated.
However, it will be difficult for deGrom, Syndergaard and Stroman, along with Wheeler and Matz, to continue performing the rest of this season as they have during the past nine days. Frankly, it's unrealistic and would be an unprecedented two-month run.
But even if the Mets' rotation is a tick worse, their recent talent, demeanor and past experiences should be enough collective swagger and performance to stave off a losing streak. That means that collectively, these five pitchers give the Mets a chance to win every time the teams steps on a field, which is what they'll need if they plan on continuing their push for the playoffs.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!