Although only five games worth of a winning streak, the Mets have not only swept their two chief rivals in the NL East but have now added an uncharacteristic late-inning rally to their growing list of achievements.
Sure, the first week in May is a little late to be getting your first late inning rally but finally you have to like what looks to be the Mets beginning warm up to the 2009 season.
Old Man River Keeps Rolling
Carlos Delgado, a one-man wrecking crew with 5 RBIs (just passing Mickey Mantle on the All-Time RBI list)has proven the cortisone shot to the hip was enough to keep him blasting away a little longer as he continues to edge towards the 500 homer mark. His three-run shot last in the 8th last night was the catalyst to the Mets win.
Castillo shows Beltran how to slide at home.
The Magical Murphy, continuing to establish himself as perhaps one of the game's better young hitters, showed off his improved defensive skills with some fine catches in left field.
The Future Is Here?
And perhaps most importantly, Jonathon Niese, in his first MLB start of the season, seized the opportunity for a permanent starting role in the rotation by tossing 6 fine innings of two-run, seven hit ball while striking out five and walking none. One of those runs was the direct result of an outfield blunder/miscommunication between Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church.
It was by no means perfect baseball from the Mets and probably more a result of facing the rubbish Pirates, losers of 10 of their last 11 than a great game. In addition to the outfield gaffe, Reyes had an error and Niese threw a wild pickoff play. The bullpen, spewing forth Sean Green, Tagahashi, Bobby Parnell and Putz, gave up a run put was generally effective over the final three innings of the game, especially compared to the Pirates pen, which collapsed by surrendering 5 earned runs over only 2 2/3 innings.
Be glad you aren't stuck supporting the Pirates, even if they do have several young, talented players. There is a clear pattern to their losing which, with a better bullpen would almost mirror the Mets previous woes:
1. Starting pitcher does well.
2. Offense does next to nothing.
3. Bullpen gives it up late.
So, whilst we could easily bemoan why a stiff like Jeff Karstens was able to hold the Mets to two runs and seven hits over six innings, bemoan the absence of lead-building until the 8th or bemoan the slow start until now, we could equally rejoice for the moment because for the moment anyway, the Mets look like they might possibly know what they're doing.
The funny thing is, if it holds, we might look back on the GM's statements as the ignition point, the snap of the fingers that snapped these Mets out of their somnambulism.