It took a sweep of the lowly Nationals, but the New York Mets are beginning to ride high again. They sit at 26-20, which is good enough for a half-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies at the top of the National League East.
Now the momentum must carry over against another team that has given the Mets trouble in recent years: the Florida Marlins. After successfully derailing the Mets' seasons in late September two years in a row, it's safe to say the Marlins own the Mets at the moment.
The Marlins are fresh off of taking two of three from the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park and roll into Citi Field looking to do the same. The Mets, of course, have other ideas in mind.
After their three-game sweep, the Mets are noticeably playing a “team game.” Injuries to Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado have taken the individual factor out of the Mets. They are now a team of nine fielders and hitters rather than a team led by two or three names.
Like the Boston series, game one is absolutely key for New York in order to keep their momentum going. The Marlins' probable starter is Sean West, a 22-year-old left-hander with one career start to his credit.
The Mets have Mike Pelfrey going, who has been excellent recently. A good performance from Pelfrey combined with some timely hitting will be instrumental in game one.
In game two, the Mets will definitely have to bring the bats out. Minnesota-born Josh Johnson has been excellent for Florida this year and had two great outings against the Mets in April. Tim Redding will look to shake off his most recent performance with a bounce-back game, but it's clear the Mets offense will need to fire on all cylinders.
Chris Volstad and John Maine will square off in the final game of the series on Sunday. Volstad has been lights out in his two career starts against the Mets, sporting an ERA of 0.73. Maine is looking to build on a mostly solid month of May. He’ll be looking to pitch into the seventh and really get himself stretched out as he heads into June.
The Marlins are always a tough out for the Mets, and it only gets harder with Florida confident after their recent series win over Philadelphia. However, the patchwork Mets are handling adversity pretty well thus far, and a series win over Florida could send them soaring.
Mark Krulish is a contributor to HowBoutThemMets.com and can be reached at email@example.com