200 Miles From the Citi

May 28, 2010 5:52 AM

Measuring A Month


You know I've been waiting for this day all week, right?

Not just Friday - but that's a big selling point, too.

No, Thursday night's game wrapped up the measuring stick month o' games with the Mets that was going to tell us what they were made of.

A month ago, the Mets were in first place, embarking on a trip to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies.

Today, they come off a series in New York against the Phillies just two games out of first place, in third place, in what has shaped up to be a very competitive National League East so far.

To be honest, I don't think we've learned too much about the Mets over the past month - except, maybe, that they're not quite a first place-caliber team.

Let's break it down.

This stretch started with a win, against the Phillies, on April 30.  It was the eighth win in a row for the Mets, improving their record to 14-9, proving to be their high-water mark for the young season.

3 games at Philadelphia

After their 9-1 win in the first game of the series, the Mets got their doors blown off in the next two, 10-0, and 11-5.  The latter was the ESPN embarrassment for Johan Santana.

3 games at Cincinnati

This was a tight series, perhaps proving more important for the soon-to-be-first place Reds than the Mets.  The Mets dropped two out of three to Cincinnati in a series that featured three straight final at-bat decisions.

3 games vs San Francisco

The Mets held their own against the Giants at Citi Field, which was somewhat surprising, but the Giants have proven to be less than world-beaters so far.

3 games vs Washington

After dropping two out of three to Washington in the season's first week, the Mets did it again.  Washington is 4-2 against the Mets this year at Citi Field.

4 games at Florida

Definitely the most disappointing time during this stretch - the four games at Florida.  Among the low points:  Oliver Perez's last start before he was pulled from the rotation, John Maine's 12 straight balls to start the game, and Jonathan Niese's injury.  The Mets were swept in the series.

2 at Atlanta, 2 at Washington

The Mets, like the rest of baseball, had back-to-back 2 game series before their interleague interruption, and they split with Atlanta before splitting in Washington.  Notable here was the yanking of John Maine after five pitches, and R. A. Dickey's first impressive start.

3 games vs Yankees

The Mets played well in these three games, losing the first 2-1 before taking the next two behind Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana.  The loss featured the first strong outing by Hisanori well as Sunday night redemption for Santana.

3 games vs Philadelphia

Which brings us back to this series.  A rotation that started with Santana, Maine, Niese, Perez, and Pelfrey is now Santana, Dickey, Takahashi, Pelfrey, and TBD.  The short-term results - a 3-game sweep, and three straight shutouts.  As terrible as the Phillies looked in these three games, the Mets did look more inspired than they usually do.

The Mets are now 25-23.  They went 12-14 over this stretch - some inconsistent play, but certainly a strong finish against two big rivals.

The National League East right now is the only division in baseball where everyone is above .500. The Mets have a strange little road trip now, where they go to Milwaukee, then San Diego.  They need to build on their five game winning streak against the lowly Brewers, and then we get a chance to see how good the Padres really are.

The last month hasn't told us much about the Mets except this - they don't quite deserve to be a first-place team just yet....and Jerry Manuel probably won't lose his job.  I don't think he possibly can after that sweep....but let's not forget you just never know with the Mets.

And with that distraction out of the way, let's see how the rest of the season unfolds.

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