The New York Mets have won three consecutive series.
After yesterday's 5-3 win over the Giants at AT&T Park, there was a lot talk of momentum—positive momentum, that is—surrounding the Mets. The hangover from last year's collapse might finally be over.
For the first time this year, the team seemed to resemble their former identity. Not their swagger, mind you—but their identity.
Three-straight series wins can do that for a club. They took two-of-three from each of the Giants and Marlins, and three-of-four from the Dodgers. Now they head to San Diego to face a struggling Padres team in a four-game set.
The Padres are 13-games under .500, and have their top two pitchers—Jake Peavy and Chris Young—on the DL. The Mets will also miss nemesis Greg Maddux this weekend since he pitched yesterday against Atlanta. Maddux has a 1.73 ERA at Petco Park.
This is the perfect opportunity for the Mets to take another series. Mike Pelfrey goes tonight against Josh Banks, who is starting for the only the second time in his career. On May 31, in Banks' first and only start in the bigs, he pitched a complete game shut out in San Francisco.
Pelfrey just got a vote of confidence from the club. They could have sent him to New Orleans, but opted to let him sink-or-swim on the major-league level.
After winning his first two starts of the season, Pelfrey has gone 0-6, with two no decisions. It is not as bad as it seems. In those eight starts, Pelfrey logged in four quality ones to go with the clunkers.
His last start is the one, however, that the Mets are hoping to see more of. Seven strong innings against the Dodgers: 2 ER, 7H, 6K, and only 1 BB. In that game, Pelfrey got ahead in the count on hitters and got outs when he needed to. The Mets hope he can build on that performance.
If he can, that would give the Mets a fairly solid rotation. John Maine has been steady, Johan Santana is settling in, and Pedro Martinez's 109-pitch debut was an encouraging sign. Only Oliver Perez remains a question, and the Mets are seeking solutions to get him straightened out.
This weekend in San Diego is key for New York. They need three-of-four here to move up in the NL East. Right now, they are only 3.5 games out.
Florida has leveled off, losing six of their last 10, and Atlanta has just shut down John Smoltz for the year. That leaves the Phillies, who we knew would gamely defend their division title. They have won eight-of-10 and head down to Atlanta and Florida for the next week.