Click your heels three times and say there’s no place like home. It was the longest road trip the Mets had so far this season, but it felt much longer then the ten day span it took.
After a long trip on the west coast that kept Met fans awake until one A.M every night, the Mets entered their way into Boston beaten, battered, and bruised. Every night was a new scenario of a line-up that just didn’t feel right to some Met fans. However you can’t complain because they did their job. They provided Santana with five runs in Friday’s opener at Fenway, once again proving that Johan is the stopper of all losing streaks. Then after Josh Beckett ripped through the Mets for eight long innings, Omir Santos gave the Mets a huge boost with his, "twirl the finger ’cause its gone," home run off Papelbon. Then, the Mets witnessed a terrible relief performance from Brian Stokes in the closing game loss of 12-5.
All in all, it was not bad for the Mets coming out of the series vs. the Dodgers where they looked pathetic. That team is the class of the National League right now and if the Mets want to contend, they better bring their A-game when Manny visits with them on July seventh. As for right now though, we’re not going to see the Mets A-game, but if their game can be anywhere around a B or B+ level playing, would certainly be acceptable. This happens every single year. Big names like Moises Alou or Cliff Floyd have gone down around May and the team has needed to bring in the scrubs off the scrap heap to give them a boost, cue in Jose Valentin, Fernando Tatis, Chris Woodward, and now Angel Pagan for this 2009 season.
Jose Reyes is irreplaceable. No matter who sticks around whether it be Ramon Martinez or Argenis Reyes at short, you’re not going to replace him. Although at the lead-off position, Angel Pagan provides the patience at the plate that you love the lead-off hitter to have. He can work a pitcher to a nine pitch at-bat and then land on base via walk or base hit. He’s a good base runner too, very sneaky. He doesn’t let the pitcher know when he’s going to steal by taking a giant lead. He’ll simply, slowly inch up and then crank the speed to land him safely into second. The bat doesn’t have the same extra base hit production as Reyes provides, but his fielding is certainly a nice replacement for Church.
Yes, this team is hurting right now in more ways then one, but it just seems like the same old storyline they’ve endured throughout the years. But what makes this year different? David Wright. Wright, who has taken a leadership role on and off the field with his bat, glove, and voice. Carlos Beltran has been the everyday player ever since the Mets bought him four years ago. You also have Gary Sheffield, who without the Mets, would be lost in that clean-up spot after losing Delgado. No matter how you slice it, this is a very good team even without all the stars.
This week's match-ups will prove what kind of team they are for the remainder of the season. In order to be the kind of juggernaut the team was in 2006, they must hand a beating to the smaller clubs in the division. The next six home games they face the Nationals who’ve managed an incredible thirteen wins this season, and the Marlins, baseball’s best team in April that turned laughing stock in May. Going 4-6 is only satisfactory. They’ve got to be able to win the games against the no ones to continue battling with the big boys. For history’s sake, we all know how important every single game before September is.
Randy Sobel is a contributor to HowBoutThemMets.com and can be reached at Randy.Sobel@gmail.com.