FIRST A WIN AWAY

24 Jun

With the Braves losing Thursday afternoon, the Mets with a win tonight can take over first place. In fact, they enter tonight’s game tied with the Braves as both teams are 11 games over .500.

It has been a fun ride this season as the Mets play the game well. They have rootable players like Dickey, Pagan and Francoeur.

With Beltran close and a new pitcher probable before the trading deadline, the Mets are alive in the race.

After last season, it is extra exciting to be in contention. Some fans are still hesitant to pull out the old shirts and banners, but this team continues to play the game right and may be in this hunt for the full season.

They go for sole possession of first place tonight.

HOME COOKING

21 Jun

This week at Citi Field brings the strongest competition since the Yankees and Phillies made a visit to Flushing in late May.

That homestand launched the Mets into a pennant race and they return home to face two of the American League’s best.

The Tigers and Twins are the competition as the Mets look to rebound from their first series loss in several weeks but a 7-2 road trip. They come back home depending once again on the back-end of the rotation to pick up losses with Pelfrey and Santana on the mound.

The Mets are in a rough stretch of facing some strong pitching. They managed to play small ball well on their last home stand but they were limited in their opportunities while in the Bronx.

It will be interesting to see how they approach these games and how they use their ball park to their advantage.

If the Mets can pull off a 5-1 home stand, we can seriously discuss the Mets and their home field advantage.

Given the competition, you could find peace with a 3-3  stretch, loving a 4-2 home stand. Anything less has to be a disappointment.

If we are to believe that this team can hang around long enough and compete with the other mediocre to above-average competition in the National League, they need to play well against the game’s better  teams.

A season isn’t made in a series or home stand, but as the Mets continue to win, the more convinced management will be to make a run at a star pitcher to turn this team from an October hopeful into a World Series contender.

As June turns into July, the Mets play for a chance to bring in better players to fill holes and build postseason dreams.

JUST DON’T GET SWEPT

17 Jun

What can ruin a 7-game winning streak?

Getting swept by the Yankees this weekend, that’s what.

After beating up on the dreadful Orioles and Indians, the Mets now face the much more competitive Yankees in the Bronx.

While the pitching match-up is identical to the first round of the 2010 Subway Series, the Mets enter this one as a different ball club.

When these two teams first met, the Mets were 20-22, trying to get back to .500. Since the Friday night loss to the Yankees, the Mets won 18 of their next 23 games.

It would be impressive for the Mets to take two this weekend, but a Met fan has to be content with winning one out of the three.

Getting swept is unacceptable and it can be crushing to this fan base.

For a team that is doing everything right, the fans are getting used to waiting for the other shoe to drop. A bad weekend, fans will once again doubt who this team truly is.

This weekend is just another weekend in a long season. But the Mets enter the Bronx as a team with something to prove, ready to show the league, and most importantly, the Mets fans, that they are a serious contender in the National League.

A bad weekend, and much of this month’s success is tainted.

WRIGHT WAY

17 Jun

The Mets are supposed to beat the dreadful Orioles and Indians, even if the games take place on the road.

But supposed to be hasn’t meant much to this team and their faithful fans over the past few years.

They were supposed to beat the Cardinals in the 2006 playoffs. They were supposed to clinch the division or wild card in 2007 and 2008, both times having healthy leads and plenty of expected wins against the Marlins and Nationals that never came to be.

Last year, they were supposed to be competitive and injured stars were supposed to come back.

For this franchise, there is no such thing as supposed to be.

This is what makes these games of late so enjoyable. Sure, when the Yankees beat up on the worst of the American League, it almost doesn’t feel fair. But they are a different franchise with a different past.

For the Mets, no games are easy games.

Winning games against the teams you are supposed to beat is unfamiliar but welcomed territory for the boys from Flushing.

David Wright, who after last season, isn’t supposed to or expected to do anything. Yet with each big hit, he begins to resemble the Mets franchise third baseman.

The Reyes-Wright duo, enhanced by Angel Pagan’s presence, provides a way of playing the game that I for one never thought I would see under Jerry Manuel’s reign.

The Mets play small ball when the game calls for it and plays big ball when the opposing pitchers lack the velocity that the Mets see a great deal of in their division.

I am very interested in their execution of this style of ball in the coming week.

They go into the Bronx facing very good pitching while throwing two of their best out on the mound. After this series, the Mets return home to face the Tigers and Twins, two of the better AL teams.

After this stretch, we will have a better idea of where this team is and if management will go for the kill by adding a big time starter and some bullpen help.

With each sacrifice bunt, two out hit and big pitching performance, the Mets smart and gutsy form of baseball helps you realize that this team is good and has the potential to get better.

They are finally doing what they are supposed to do. The question is now if it can last as the competition gets stronger.

Go Yanks

14 Jun

I fell under heavy criticism last October when I rooted for the Philadelphia Phillies over the New York Yankees in the World Series.

As I explained then, it was the best of two evils and Yankee fans were in a closer proximity to me. I didn’t want to hear them, which didn’t work out to well.

Well, these two teams meet again this week, but this time it is June and I am rooting for the men in pinstripes.

And the reason is simple.

The Phillies stand in our way from getting to October. After the weekend, there is nothing that the Yankees do or don’t do which will affect the Mets and their chances of seeing October for the first time since 2006.

The Phillies, although struggling, are still the Mets biggest problem in the NL East. If the Yankees beat up the Phillies this week and if the Mets take care of business in Cleveland, the results could pay off come the fall.

The Phillies are a second-half team, they have been one for three years. I have no problem rooting for the Yankees to bury the Phils a little more, giving the Mets a little more breathing room.

Will it be weird rooting for Jeter and Rodriguez? Absolutely, I can’t stand any of them.

Remember, there is plenty of time this weekend and the rest of the season to poke your voodoo doll and hope for the worst in the Bronx.

But this week, I am their biggest fan, ready to soak in all of the arrogance that is indeed Yankees baseball.

GETTING FAT

13 Jun

The Mets entered this weekend series with an opportunity to beat up on the sinking Orioles and to fatten up their offensive numbers, and more importantly, move up the standings.

New York dominated Baltimore, both on the field and in the stands as Mets fans easily outnumbered the home team.

The Mets pitched well, hit well and had an easy weekend, moving within 1.5 games of first place and standing tall at 7 games over .500 for the first time this season.

Carlos Beltran is getting stronger in Florida, John Maine is improving as well and the Mets are going in the right direction as summer is a week away.

The road gets a little tougher with the Indians who are playing better of late. New York should take two and go into the Bronx on Friday with a 5-1 road trip behind them.

It is tough to win a series in the Bronx, although the Mets will have Pelfrey and Santana going. Even if they only manage one win, they will be 6-3 on this road trip and 7 over .500.

Any Mets fan will sign for that.

The road after the Yankees brings New York back to Citi Field as the Tigers and Twins will pay a visit.

The series against the Orioles and the three upcoming games against the Indians are an opportunity. The Mets are doing what they need to do.

A fan can only hope that this team will not only get fat in the standings, but that they will build confidence to help this team on the road in the future.

The season was almost lost back in May, but this team is right in the mix with a summer left to play.

CITI AN ALL STAR

13 Jun

Rumors around the web have Bud Selig announcing the next five years of All Star Game sites this Wednesday.

This announcement will include Citi Field getting the 2013 All Star Game. The only other All Star Game that the Mets hosted was way back in 1964 when Shea Stadium opened its doors.

This nod was rumored for some time, especially after the Yankees received the honor when they closed their stadium in 2008.

This year’s game will take place in Anaheim, followed by Arizona hosting it in 2011. The Royals will get the game in 2012, the Mets in 2013, the Twins in 2014 and the Nationals in 2015.

Remember, the Super Bowl will take over this town in 2014.