Games 16 & 17 - Mets
Mets 7, Braves 2
Braves 9, Mets 6
My recent focus on the performances of the starting pitchers -- with satisfying results (Perez 6.2 IP, 9 H, 0 BB, 9 K, 2 ER; Glavine 6 IP, 7 H, 0 BB, 3 ER) -- was promptly interrupted by a sideways glare towards the bullpen yesterday. A chance to even the season score against Atlanta and win the weekend series was squandered in heartburn-inducing fashion, thanks to "Knockwurst" Schoeneweis and "Sauerbraten" Heilman. We aren't in crisis time where the set-up role is concerned . . . yet.
So far, the Mets have shone everywhere except versus the soulless Atlanta Braves. 9-2 when playing the others, 2-4 in play against the Braves. The New York nine finds themselves stubbing their toe on the rival club in the early-going; while the overall picture is obviously still pretty, helping the Braves gain some early confidence with a few big wins like yesterday's only makes the road longer and more arduous for the Mets. With an eye on the title, boys, you don't have to wait until Labor Day to start mustering something a little better for the Braves.
If you need an idea of what I mean, scroll down to Rob's recaps of the weekend series at Fenway. As statements go, Boston made a serious one about its discontent with the '06 progression. Meanwhile, the Mets muttered something about being really good against the rest of the NL and getting to face the Rockies and Nots this week.
All in all, the first few weeks are mostly about getting off on the right foot and seeing what weapons you have in your arsenal for the new campaign that's been launched. As such, it's hard to get too worked up about Aaron Heilman resembling a Grateful Dead lyric ("set up like a bowling pin"). But make no mistake: our full attention has temporarily turned from the rotation to the relievers. If they keep giving away Baltimore Specials like a Charm City call girl, we'll be calling for back-up well before the trade deadline.