Games 57 & 58 - Mets
Mets 9, Giants 6
Mets 5, Giants 3
In their last nine games, the Mets have looked a whole lot like a team that intends to be playing meaningful games after Labor Day. And not "meaningful" like last year's one-for-the-record-books chuteless skydive. "Meaningful" like maybe going to play in -- and make some noise in -- the postseason. Nine games is but a pittance in the grand scheme, but appreciating the difference between this niner and its predecessor makes all the difference.
The Mets have put up 50 runs in those nine games, this from an altogether struggling collection of bats for most of May. Met-barometer Jose Reyes is flashing leather, power strokes, and smiles again. Carlos Beltran has an OPS in the 8's and Carlos Delgado has a stray moment when he doesn't remind us of Wilson Delgado. The team as a whole is in the middle of the NL pack in terms of offensive categories (you should see Ramon Castro's nosehair), as opposed to languishing near the very bottom for the early part of the season.
As for the folks who dwell in the box score's nether regions (pitchers, duh), there's reason not to throw things against the wall any more there, too. Reason #1 is Pedro Martinez. I have to admit I'd written him off after his deflating first "start" many moons ago. If he can be a serious presence in this rotation (let's face it, he's armed with stubbornness alone at this point), that's a huge uptick in our confidence in this club -- and their confidence in their own chances, I'd figure.
The Met arms have not been totally dominant over the recent nine-pack, make no mistake. But they've been solid enough. Johnny Maine, Santana, and at long last Pelf have delivered outings resembling quality starts. The only real blemish in this recent stretch has been what we'll call "What Oliver Did." And I think I'll leave that particular night (and a brewing long-term problem) alone for the moment.
The pen has been equally resurgent, despite Scott Schoeneweis's Aaron Heilman impersonation the other night. Oh, yeah, Aaron Heilman -- just because you're pretty much the longest-tenured Met pitcher with origins in that prison stint I did called "MLC 2003" (that's my number) doesn't mean you have to wax nostalgic about this blog's initial foray and provide fodder for abuse. You seem like a good dude, and you never complained (all that loudly, or all that often, or with any substantial and logical points made) when they relegated you to set-up/blow-up man. But it may be time to think about other options.
But enough about Messieurs Perez & Heilman; today it's basking in the . . . sweltering heat of this 90-degree day. Oh, and being relatively un-pissed to see the Mets above .500 and just 3.5 games behind the Phavorites to win the division. Reason to believe, Bruce sang.
No cartwheels here, but let's just say if the destination of this season were, say, Las Vegas, after two months of dicking around, packing up and asking for directions in grubby locales like Hyannis, Delmarva, and Grundy, we're finally on I-70 West. We just stopped at Skyline Chili for a few Coneys, and simply being the hell out of Pennsylvania and its sterling array of PA-holes has us reasonably pleased. It's the little things, you know.