Despite a Series Split With Cincinnati, Mets Look Better Than Ever

Greg JansenCorrespondent IJuly 21, 2008

The Mets came into this series riding a nine-game winning streak—seven games over .500 and one game behind Philadelphia for the NL East Lead before the All-Star Break.  Four games later, they're still seven games over .500, but are tied for the division lead after the Phillies lost 2 of 3 against the Marlins.

Now, many Mets fans are disappointed, given that the four-game set was against Cincinnati, with a Won-Loss record four games under .500.  They believe we should have won three if not all four games of the series. 

But they are not the same team that they were during the win streak that ultimately reached 10 games.  To expect them to play the way they did during the win streak is just unfair. 

The offense was firing on all cylinders, and most importantly, the pitching was impeccable.  To expect a team to do that day in and day out is too much to ask.

The Mets pitching was much below average this weekend.  Mike Pelfrey had his first bad start of his last seven, giving up five runs in seven innings, the only starter to go past six. 

Even Johan Santana, the most consistent starter in the rotation, gave up five runs in only four innings.  Overall, the starters pitched 21.2 of the 35 innings pitched with an ERA of 7.06. The bullpen pitched the remaining 13.1 innings with a 4.73 ERA.  Cincinnati scored at least five runs in every game.

But this weekend was not a complete disappointment. In the first game, the Mets were down 5-2 and 8-6 before coming back with four runs in the ninth against Cincinnati closer Francisco Cordero. 

They became the final team in baseball to win a game after being down three or more runs.  The fact that the pitching took a terrible turn from their performance in the win streak makes it that much more surprising that the Mets salvaged a split. 

But if anything, it's a testament to their offense.  Delgado went 8-13 with five RBI in the series.  Wright hit two HR and drove in six.  In the two wins, the Mets amassed 28 hits and scored 17 runs.  More importantly, they got timely hits in those two wins from players who aren't household names. 

In the first game, Argenis Reyes hit a single that began the six-hit barrage of Cordero.  Fernando Tatis had an RBI and Damion Easley scored a run.  In the 7-5 win on Sunday, Robinson Cancel hit a double in the 10th inning and was driven in on a ground ball by Argenis Reyes (who reached on an error).

Ultimately, there are four classifications you can put games in:

Games that should be lost, and are lost.

Games that should be lost, but are won.

Games that should be won, but are lost.

Games that should be won, and are won.

In my opinion, good teams have three classifications of games:

Games that should be lost, and are lost.

Games that should be lost, but are won.

Games that should be won, and are won.

While they didn't play well in their losses, and their pitching overall was nowhere near stellar, their offense bailed out the team and salvaged the series split.  The team was far from perfect, but they won games they should have lost. 

In the two wins, they came from behind and won in the late innings.  They are getting timely hits, and getting them from everyone in the lineup and everyone on the bench.  And that is how good teams win.