Despite being 4-8 and having lost the first three series, there are many signs that this Mets team will not only avoid a years-end collapse, as I thought would happen, but be able to give the better teams in the league a run for it.
Santana, Pelfrey, and Perez are off to great starts. Combined they allowed only one run in the last 21 innings of their starts, against two very powerful offenses.
Have we finally found our strong No. 2 pitcher?
Mike Pelfrey's last start was a gem, holding the Rockies scoreless through seven innings without issuing a walk, and painting corners with his fastballs. No team in over a year had been able to keep the Rockies scoreless in hitter-friendly Colorado.
This year, he has a 1.29 ERA over 14 innings of work. If he can continue to perform at or around this dominant level, we will finally have our No. 2 pitcher and a sweet one-two punch in the rotation.
Santana's second start grand slam was just a nightmare.
Last night proved his return to dominant form. He held the powerful Cardinal offense to no runs in seven innings with nine punch outs, sit downs, get losts, whatever you want to call them.
The sky is not falling.
Then there's Ollie. His first start wasn't a bad outing, and his second was a lights out, lock up of Pujols and the mighty Cardinal offense. We've seen him do this before. Imagine if he can keep this up?
As optimistic as these signs are regarding our rotation, our bullpen looks like it will be able to come in and slam the door.
The bullpen is now ranked second in the national league with a combined 2.07 ERA in 26 innings of relief.
Ryota Igarashi, Fernando Nieve, Raul Valdes, Hisanori Takahashi, Pedro Feliciano, and Jenrry Mejia gave us a performance last night that was very impressive.
Who in a million years would have bet that our pitching would be able to hold the Cardinals to one run through 20 innings?
It's now a fact.
A little more success and it becomes a habit. An expectation. We really want that to happen.
What's not looking good.
But, it will soon heat up. Jose Reyes and Jason Bay will get hot.
The best news is Jeff Francouer, who has returned to form and with David Wright and are leading the offensive charge.
Rod Barajas is a much welcome surprise, adding both power and timely hitting. You can't overlook the impact he's having behind the plate, calling pitches and providing solid defensive skills to his position.
The real issues are John Maine, who is one meltdown away from the minors, and Manager Jerry Manuel's spring training choices, Mike Jacobs and Gary Mathews Jr, who haven't been able to get hits.
Daniel Murphy will return and relieve Jacobs at first base. Hopefully, Angel Pagan gets more starts until Carlos Beltran gets back.
If so, our lineup will be Reyes, Luis Castillo, Wright, Bay/Beltran, Francouer, Murphy, Barajas, and the pitcher. That's a strong lineup, with both speed, power, and depth.
Last in the problematic area of the team is the often questionable (allow me to be polite) managerial decisions of Jerry Manuel.
I am hoping that last night's relief-pitching marathon showed Manuel that he does not have to limit his relievers to one inning or less, and can "stay with the hot hand" if a reliever is having a great game.
Last night he was forced to let every reliever on our staff, aside from our "Goggled Wild Man" go longer than an inning.
Many of them pitched two entire innings.
Let the hot hand pitch Jerry.
We want to win. And last night, this team showed it was willing to fight until the end of time to prove it.
Lets Go Mets.