Monday, April 26, 2010

Back in the New York Groove

A week ago, I wouldn't have thought the Mets capable of being where they are right now, but it's happened, and here they are, 6-1 on the current homestand, a game over .500, and coming off a sweep of the Atlanta Braves.

And yet, I still don't think the Mets are really clicking much, if at all, offensively. It seems like they have been simply starting to catch some of those fabled breaks that eluded them so many times in the past couple of seasons. They're doing it with Wright not hitting, Bay not really hitting (though he's showing signs), Francoeur not hitting, and Reyes really looking like he's about 80-85% there.

So, what's it been? Pitching, mostly. Playing in their ballpark, the Mets have been able to win by getting outstanding starting pitching 4 out of every 5 days (even Perez was decent), and getting their runs on a timely hit or two and some bad fielding by their opponent. It started on Thursday night, a game I was at, and a game I glossed over following a hellacious trip home following the game (Note: The G train probably shouldn't be used in general, and definitely not after 11pm, when it turns into a pumpkin). Nonetheless, the game was fine, Santana got into jams, the Cubs had men on base in every inning, and Santana got them out each time. They waited out Tom Gorzelanny and finally scored some runs in the 6th aided by an egregious error by Mike Fontenot, and then survived a pair of Cub rallies in the 7th and 8th.

Friday, the recipe appeared to be much of the same. Maine basically did little more than not kill the Mets before departing with an injury, and the Mets bats remained quiet save for a moon rocket of a HR by Ike Davis that journeyed to a part of Citi Field reserved for people named Howard or Dunn, and tantalized us as far as the promise such a mammoth shot contained. Then the Mets waited out Kenshin Kawakami and capitalized on a pair of egregious errors by the Braves to pull out a 5-2 victory.
Saturday, well, you guessed it. Scoreless into the 6th, the Mets finally break through against Jair Jurrjens, aided by some key hits from Bay and Francoeur, and an egregious, first-class fuckup by Yunel Escobar on the basepaths that is worthy of stripping Escobar of his All-Ballclub Team status. This time it was Jonathon Niese providing the solid start.

Sunday brought The Biggest Game In The Galaxy on ESPN, and with it some lousy weather. The weather seemed to take its toll on Pelfrey, who really battled tooth and nail to simply get through his 5 innings. But, such as things have gone this week, he basically stoned up, got every single out when he needed to get it, induced a pair of key DPs, and allowed the Mets lone run, scored on an egregious throwing error by old friend LARRY on a ball he should have stuck in his back pocket, and the Mets waited out a rain delay that wasn't going to break and got themselves a sweep, albeit a rain-shortened one. Not that any of us are complaining.

The formula basically seems to repeat itself over and over again. Get good starting pitching, bank on the other team committing some form of vapor lock, wait out the other team's starter and then scrape across as many runs as they're able, and hope it holds up. It works, at least for now, and it's been enough to get the Mets above .500, something few thought possible a week ago. But can it last?

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