Mets Improved By Absence

Ah yes, secretly, I knew it would work.

With the Mets in a terrible tailspin; four consecutive losses, swept and humiliated by the hated Atlanta Braves and wallowing in an 18 inning scoring draught with a four game series against the then-NL East-leading Florida Marlins on the menu next, Archie Bunker's Army decamped to the canals of Utrecht with the hope that four days of sin and fun would somehow, magically perhaps, reverse Mets fortunes.

And of course, it did.

Three of four from the Florida Marlins with only a late inning meltdown from the bullpen between them and a full four game sweep puts the Mets right back on the map and confirms that this is not a team that is willing to die with it's tail between it's legs. This is a team that can hang in there for the duration and perhaps, with a few masterful touchups by Omar in the Department of Trade, a team that can well bank hope on a possible future this postseason.

Of course, we are getting ahead of ourselves with enthusiasm. The Marlins are the only winning team out of the Cards, Braves and Yankees the Mets were able to take a series from. We did note prior to this flurry of Yankees then Braves then Marlins:

"If the Mets can at least break even during this stretch, 5-5 or 6-4, they will be keeping pace and continuing to prove themselves."

Ok, not a paradigm for hyperbolically optimistic support, but a safe projection that the Mets, who went 4-6 instead, nearly met. And thus, they are still reasonably close to sniffing distance from the front runners (2.5 games from the Marlins and Braves, tied for third with the Nats) and did it without Carlos Beltran for more than half of those games. Not bad.


Coming to town to join the Mets will be the 29-22 Arizona Diamondbacks. Game One will see Kris Benson, RHP (3-1, 3.86) against Brad Halsey, LHP (3-2, 3.34).

Game Two is scheduled to feature Victor Zambrano, RHP (2-5, 4.74) against Brandon Webb, RHP (6-1, 3.39) and the finale will see Pedro 5-1, 2.79) facing Shawn Estes, LHP (4-3, 3.79).


For the purpose of record keeping, here is a brief recap of what we missed:

May 25th: Mets 12 Marlins 4:

Carlos Delgado must have made hearts all over Queens sink when he homered in the first inning off of Kris Benson to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Here we go again, one can imagine one might have thought. But Benson singled in a run in the second inning followed by a patented Jose Reyes triple to drive in two more runs and suddenly it was 3-1 Mets. The Marlins came back to tie it in the bottom of the 4th but the ill-fated Frank Castillo project was not to be. The Mets pounded Castillo, then Vorman Bazardo, then John Riedling for a total of 12 hits and 12 runs whilst Benson, Bell and Aybar kept the Marlins at bay the rest of the night. Reyes (pair of triples) and Cameron (pair of doubles) both had 3 RBIs each and Wright stayed a step ahead of his perpetual miscues with a 2 for 4 night and 2 RBIs of his own. Two nice rarities for the Mets: no errors, no bases stolen against them and only two walks surrendered all night.

May 26th: Mets 1 Marlins 0

Pedro against Brian Moehler, hardly your classic ingredients for a pitching duel but Moehler had a 2.13 ERA coming in, even lower than Pedro's. Both pitched 8 solid innings, Moehler giving up only 4 hits but a run whilst striking out 6 and Pedro giving up 5 hits, 0 runs and striking out 10. Not even Looper Scooper could blow this one and actually pitched a rare 1-2-3 9th inning for the save, his 11th of the season. Familiar sights: stolen base off of Piazza and an error by David Wright (his 8th of the season)

May 27th: Mets 6 Marlins 1

Facing the dreaded D-Train in what seemed a certain loss with the unpredictable Ishii on the mound for the Mets, much like Benson in Game One, Ishii generated a run of his own with an RBI single in the 4th. Not only that but he gave up only 5 hits, 3 walks and a run in almost seven innings of work to outduel the D-Train, who gave up two runs over 6 innings of work. This was perhaps the most surprising victory of the trip and even Mike Piazza managed to break out of his slump with 3 RBIs and didn't allow a stolen base. Better still: no errors. You can see a pattern building: pitchers knocking in their own runs, virtually errorless baseball and none of the wild and unpredictable outings so characteristic of the bottom end of the rotation. Result: three consecutive wins. Not so hard, was it lads?

May 28th: Marlins 6 Mets 3

Although this promised to be four-game-sweep worthy with Tom Glavine in a Mets uniform looking suspiciously like Tom Glavine in a Braves uniform before tiring after six innings with a 2-1 lead outdueling Josh Beckett, it was not to be as the bullpen became goats. Heath Bell got the loss and KooKooKachoog the blown save when Carlos Delgado blasted a 3 run homer and the Marlins totalled 5 runs in a fatal 7th inning. Sweep averted, but the Mets have to feel reasonably good about themselves with Carlos Beltran due to return shortly, the top end of the rotation pitching admirably, tales of Ishii and Glavine regaining form, virtually errorless baseball and the biggest worry likely to be their youth and a power struggle at second base between Kaz Matsui and Miguel Cairo.

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