Ten days ago when you were looking forward on the schedule and saw the New York Mets visiting the Philadelphia Phillies, you figured one of those teams would be in first. But, really 10 days ago would you have said it was the Mets? They were 4 games back of the Phillies, coming off a 2-4 roadtrip and the bullpen was a wreck after a 20-inning game.
Then something weird happened. A homestand started and they got back-to-back good starts by Jonathan Nieve and Mike Pelfrey. A stumble by Oliver Perez against the Cubs was the only blemish on a 9-1 homestand. The last time they went 9-1 on a homestand was in 1988, they also had a 9-1 homestand during the 1969 season.
Hmm, 1988, 1969? Both years the Mets made the playoffs. Sounds good to me.
John Maine pitched six plus innings, struck out 9 and allowed three runs to get his first win of the year as the Mets swept the series against the Dodgers. The won all 3 games in less than 24 hours. After coming out of the game last week with an injury to his non-throwing elbow, Maine stuck around almost twice as long and continued the recent great starting pitching for the Mets. The starters are 6-1 over the last 13 games.[picappgallerysingle id="8652647"]
Ike Davis and David Wright each had two hits and Wright continued to show signs of regaining his 300 average form. Jeff Francoeur and Angel Pagan drove in two each and the Mets were 5 of 11 with runners in scoring position.
The Mets got off to a strong start again, scoring 4 times in the 2nd inning. Wright doubled, Davis singled then Francoeur drove in Wright with a fielders choice. Catcher Rod Barajas was hit with by a pitch and after a John Maine sacrifice, Pagan tripled pushing the lead to 3-0. An Alex Cora double scored Pagan, and Maine went to the mound in the 3rd up 4-0, and that was enough for the streaking Mets.[picappgallerysingle id="8647971"]
The Dodgers closed the gap to 5-3 in the 5th after a Russell Martin two-run homer, but Maine and the bullpen held them scoreless after that. The Mets tacked on two more runs in the 7th to win the game 7-3.
Against the Dodgers the Mets were driving the ball into the gaps and showed signs of figuring out how to hit at Citi Field. Here’s a hint, drive it into the gap and run. The Mets have 10 triples this year, all at home. You can land planes in the Citi Field outfield, don’t swing for the fences, it is one of the most pitcher friendly parks in all of baseball. Just look for a pitch to drive, there’s lots of room for it to get down and roll to the wall. I saw the backs of the Dodgers outfielders’ uniforms more than the people in the bleachers did. They were constantly chasing the ball in the gaps. The Mets had 12 extra base hits in the three games, only 1 left the yard.
Next up for the Mets is a weekend series in Philadelphia and the rotation sets up nicely for the Mets. Jonathan Niese will pitch in the series opener on Friday. Saturday’s match up features two of the hottest pitchers in the NL, Mike Pelfrey (4-0) for the Mets vs Roy Halladay (4-1) for the Phillies. The final game of the series will be ESPN’s Sunday Night game and the Mets will throw their ace Johan Santana (3-1) against Jamie Moyer (2-2) who’s 235 years old.
They have picked the right time to start playing well, bringing a seven game winning streak into the City of Brotherly Love. After this weekend we should have much better idea of how the rest of the season will play out in the NL East.