It took the Mets until June 13 last year to accomplish what they already have in their first series; win a road series. The first matchup had them pitted against 6’7” 250lb flamethrower Josh Johnson of which they predictably lost. Johnson is tough enough to hit, even had a no hitter going through 6, but then giving up a grand slam to newly acquired John Buck proved to be the nail in the coffin for Mike Pelfrey. The Mets have proven (so far) to be a resilient team. They came back and ripped off the next two games in style, in extra innings and a shellacking of once dominant Javy Vasquez.
While all of this does give each Met fan a small glimmer of hope of “why not us?”…Let’s slow down the World Series ticket buying just for a bit. We beat a Marlins team who lost its power bat 2nd baseman and replaced him with a catcher who had a .281 average last year while previous best was a solid 34 points less. A team that was almost forced by Major League Baseball to spend money on players. I’m not saying that they are an awful team, but they aren’t the Phillies. As I watched the games in Florida I couldn’t help but notice almost a swagger about the Mets. Something about them came off as almost professional. They seem much more energized. Skipper Collins and his brash motivational talks may be exactly what this team needs after 2 years of “it is what it is and let’s get them next game” mantra from Jerry Manuel.
Speaking of which, a Phillies series is right on the horizon. This will be much more telling than Florida series. The Mets somewhat dodged a bullet and won’t have to face Lee or Oswalt but they will have to face possibly the best number 4 and 5 pitchers in all of baseball along with Doc. Hamels was 0-4 last year against the New York Metropolitans and Blanton can shut down a team as easily as he implodes. Beltran, Wright, Hairston, Thole are all batting over .300 versus Doc. So there is hope. It’s not impossible, it is improbable.
Final prediction: Mets win two out of three, World Series ticket purchases from New York area double, Mike Francesca explodes from Mets callers, and Family Guy can eat their heart out.