11.5.09

Metsamorphosis Is Complete: Series Sweep, Seven Game Streak and First Place

It's no big mystery, is it?


Sliding home is just a game

Starting pitching, solid defence, timely hitting, the baseball triad for success.

So often and for so long this has eluded the Mets but during this neat little seven game package that have seen seven wins catapult the Mets into sole possession of first place in the NL East, this is precisely what is propelling the Mets forward.



Yesterday, Mother's Day, Pink Bat Day, it doesn't matter what day right now or the opponent. The Mets are going through their schedule like a knife through hot butter.

Starting pitching: Livan Hernandez tossed 6 solid innings after a sluggish start and other than Sean Green surrendering a two-run homer in the top of the 9th, the bullpen suffocated the Pirates in the later innings. Ever since Ollie shat the bed and was demoted to the "dodgy knee" status and made to disappear, Met starters have had quality starts; 7 in a row to end with 6-0 record and a 2.44 ERA.

Solid defence: other than Reyes' error in the 4th inning on Friday night, the Mets sailed through this series not only without any errors but with the outfield, both corners, and plays like Reyes' run-saving, back-handed stab on the outfield's edge in the 4th, twisting to throw out the Pirate batter on one hop to first.


The Pirate bullpen was like a buffet table of runs in this series

And finally, timely hitting. Over the course of this streak the Mets are no longer falling asleep after jumping to an early lead. They were even behind in this game and rallied from a two run deficit to take the lead in the 4th before padding that lead with a run in the 7th and three more runs in the 8th. A week ago this was unheard of, the Mets scoring late in the game to build on a lead, the Mets coming from behind to take the lead and keep it. This is a new Mets-amorphosis from the gutless, scrawny kids they looked like a week ago. And you can't just blame it all on the Pirates. The Mets have also faced two of their biggest nemesis during this streak in the Braves and Phillies.


No end in sight to Beltran's push for a career-year

During the streak Beltran has 4 homers, 10 RBIs, 22 total bases and a .321 batting average in seven games. The other Carlos, Delgado, is hitting .423 with a .500 on base percentage. Omir Santos has hit .364 and even Reyes has a .412 on base percentage and 6 stolen bases in 6 tries over the last 7 games.

Despite a sluggish start, even David Wright is hitting with runners in scoring position - he's now hitting .302 in such situations and although he's struck out 14 times in 43 such at bats, he's also driven in 16 runners. Only Beltran and Delgado have knocked in more under pressure.

So call this what you will, a blip of surreality in an otherwise unending streak of failure and misery beginning its third season, a sudden burst of awareness that the Mets need to close out precisely these kinds of sweeps against mediocre teams and score even when they think they don't need to any more. There isn't a finite number of runs the Mets will score all season yet they some times play as though there is and they want to conserve those runs until they really need them.

It's taken them a month and a half but if you're letting the warm air get to your head you might just see this 7 game winning streak as the beginning of a season-long run in the NL East.

Or, they tumble back to reality.

For the moment though, these 7 games seem real. These new Mets, without the Ollie Curse, look at though they are ready to stop disappointing us every night.

*****

And Look! They've made it all the way up to 6th in the power rankings

6 comments:

sanchez said...

the first several innings didn't have any good vibe, other than Livan managing to get out of the first giving up only a run. damn, when they said he takes a little longer to warm up they weren't kidding. but they mets keep fooling me. they keep getting better instead of staying bad. there might be hope for them yet.

jdon said...

The ollie curse is real. that is 12 million per there. They will shoehorn him back into the rotation and he will eventually disappoint again. Interesting reading: now Reyes is saying we don't take these teams lightly anymore. In other words, admitting that they took nights off for two seasons? Don't these guys get it? Are they stupid or what? Wright and Reyes admitting they did not play hard. Geez. Oh well. Keep the clutch singles coming, boys.

Jaap said...

well, I dunno sanchez, there's always hope, I suppose. Over these last 7 games, these are the Mets on paper, how they're supposed to play in real life. Let's hope, you're right, that it lasts, not just a temporary illusion.

Jaap said...

yes, jdon, the ollie curse. you're right, he's omar's baby so it isn't likely they'll get rid of him. on the other hand, say niese stays up and performs and they've got 5 good starters, who's to say omar wouldn't trade his baby on someone desperate enough to take a chance on him? (really I could see Duncan in St Louis working some magic and the Cards coming back and dumping us in the playoffs after we trade ollie to them and ollie comes back to haunt us.) that would be apropos, innit?
As for Reyes admitting they haven't been playing hard? I think that's just brainwash bullshit to be honest. I think they're all thinking about what Omar said (even if he did back track on it afterwards) and they're thinking that's been what's missing all along, the grit. Maybe they've had a change of heart but really, I find it hard to believe they'd be playing all those games the last two seasons at half speed, especially when you consider the hideous losses in the thick of the pennant race against some of these so-called lesser teams. I think it's probably more likely that they've found something they can seize, like psychologically putting more effort forward and being tougher and they're just going to run with it. probably because it's true, they've been a gutless bunch up to now but if this is enough to transform them, I'm all for it.

jdon said...

Well I odubt the pittsburgh pirates are the tonic. they really stink, and some of them have their hats on sideways. Let's face it, we can only guess. September will be the sounding board. Of course, if they did get to the playoffs they would lose, because they would assume, as they did in 2006, that the World Series was their birthright. This is my dream: that they do not re-up Delgado, who is a loser and a person I dislike intensely (he simply refuses to run. No one, except perhaps Ramon Castro, could be that slow). That some Japanese (or even Taiwanese) team takes a flier on Ollie, and that they get a Bobby Valentine robot to coach third base.

Hey, I said it was a dream.

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