Despite the fact that the Mets played a largely uneven series in Cincinnati over the past weekend, that showed both sides of this team, the Mets return home tied for first place with Philadelphia.
And Philadelphia just happens to be coming into town for 3 games this week.
It's time for the Mets to show us what the real face of this team is. Johan Santana is the poster child for this. After a patently awful outing on Thursday, and a good, but not dominant season to this point, now is the kind of game where Johan needs to step up and show us why the Mets went out and spent $138 million to get him. If there was ever a time for him to show up and rip off one of his signature games, now is that time. He's pitched two very good games against Philadelphia already, although he wasn't backed up by his offense in one of them, and the bullpen almost blew the other. If he rises to the occasion tonight like we know he can, maybe neither of those things will matter.
On the other side, Philly is countering with the newly-acquired Joe Blanton, a ragtag righty who was a middle of the rotation guy with Oakland, coming East to be a middle of the rotation guy with Philly, except that moving from spacious Dungbeetle Stadium to Steroid Field II in Philly might not bode well for his ERA. The argument across the board seems to be that he's a better fit in the Philly rotation than Adam Eatme was, and maybe this will put Philly over the top in the quest for the division. I know Joe Blanton. I had him on my Fantasy team last season. He's not the answer for Philly, particularly when you don't know how Wednesday's starter, Brett Myers, is going to respond after returning to the Majors following a stint in AAA ball. On the other side, Death Cab for John Maine just hasn't had anything over the past month or so, to the point where you have no idea what you're going to get from him. That game looks like a tossup on paper, so my guess is that both starters will throw shutouts into the 8th inning. Thursday, the 12pm Businessman's Special or Senior Citizen's Special or Camp Groups special or whatever the hell they call these ridiculous afternoon games. At least I'll be able to hear it on the radio at work. Ollie on the mound against Jaime Moyer in a rematch of Opening Day. Hopefully this will produce better results.
Both teams are, right now, erratic and inconsistent enough that there could very well be a sweep on either side. True, after the series in Philly earlier this month, the Mets might be in the Phillies heads a little, but after last season, Philly was in the Mets heads. The Mets could win tonight 10-0 or lose 3-1. But if they really want to assert themselves and kick Philly in the nuts, they need a sweep. 2 of 3 won't do. Looking at the available tickets on Mets.com (you know, just so I could see what kind of seats were available for games I can't go to), I noticed that there were still seats available for all 3 games this week. Mezzanine Boxes were plentiful, as were seats in the Upper Deck. If the fans here want to try to affect things somehow, I'd suggest that you go out and snap up the remaining tickets fast, before the opposing team's folks get a hold of them. This series is really getting a lot of hype. Let the fans show up and act like it. With the Ace tonight, it's time for a Tuesday Night Sellout.
An interesting week, indeed.