Subway Series: New York Mets Will Make a Statement in the Bronx
Who are the 2010 New York Mets?
We are going to get a very good idea this weekend, when the surging Mets, with their current six-game road winning streak, come roaring back to New York on their charter from Cleveland. They will take on the Yankees in the Bronx for three big Father's Day weekend games in the final installment of the 2010 Subway Series.
When the Mets took two of three from the Yankees at CitiField, it was a nice surprise. In a season that many expected, and even still expect, to crumble into failure at a moment's notice, beating the Yankees and sweeping the Phillies served some hope for Mets fans. But another failed road trip in Milwaukee and San Diego left doubt in the fans' minds once again that this team was nothing more than a .500 team.
For two-plus months, the Mets have played the dual roles of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde quite convincingly. One week, they look like World Series contenders—the next, they look worse than the Pittsburgh Pirates.
That is the life of the New York Mets. Any Yankee fan reading this should look over and count the gray hairs on his Mets fan friend's head.
Once again, the Mets look unstoppable, only this time it has come on the road. (FINALLY!) The Mets swept away the Orioles and the Indians this week to start the trip at 6-0, and improve their once-dismal road record to 14-18.
Here are some keys as to why the Mets are rolling right now:
1) David Wright has been off-the-wall amazin' with the bat. He has risen his average to .291 with 12 homers and (a National League-best) 53 RBI. In fact, Wright is making a case for N.L. MVP. He is hitting .500 (21/42) with four homers and 18 RBI this month. This is the best Wright has been with the bat in well over a year.
2) Ike Davis continues to produce. He has protected Wright in the five-hole, and even though he hasn't produced a lot of RBI's, he seems to be a lock for at least two hits every night.
3) Since replacing the dreadful John Maine and the pathetic Oliver Perez, R.A. Dickey and Hishanori Takahasi have been a revelation. The Mets are a combined 10-2 in games started by either pitcher, and both have staked a claim to the fifth slot in the rotation.
4) Jose Reyes—Heeeeeeee's baaaaaack! He may not be the Reyes that hit 19 homers, 19 triples and stole 70 bases in 2006, 2007, and 2008, but Reyes has been consistent at the top of the order lately. He is on a current eight-game hitting streak, and he is back to pacing the Mets offense.
5) Angel Pagan has surprised critics all year long, and he is doing well as the Mets No. two hitter. Pagan has been a consistent .290 batter all season and has four homers, 29 RBI, and 14 stolen bases. He has done everything the Mets have asked since he replaced Carlos Beltran as the starting center fielder, and he is making it hard for the Mets to sit him once Beltran returns next month.
6) Young aces Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey have been solid. Pelfrey has done it all year long. At 9-1, he is a lock to make the All Star team for the N.L. Without question, he has been the Mets' staff ace, especially with Johan Santana struggling this year.
Niese has picked it up since coming back from the disabled list. He is 2-0 in his last two starts, highlighted by a one-hitter against the San Diego Padres. Niese looks fluid and comfortable on the mound, something that will be key to any future success for the 23-year-old. One thing I have noticed about Niese is that he has a gritty edge to him on the mound, which is a great trait for a young lefty to have.
If the 2010 Mets have an identity this year, it is this: a young, gritty, cohesive unit whose members believe in themselves and every other person in the locker room. They don't care about their recent history or what people think of them. They believe they can win—credit Jerry Manuel for instilling that confidence in them, already!
However, consistency is the key. Many will write this morning, and this weekend, that the Mets took advantage of two terrible teams in the Indians and Orioles. True. But taking two of three from the Yankees in Yankee Stadium will go a long way to making the Mets fans really believe in this franchise.
It won't be easy. The Yankees are at home in their hitter-friendly ballpark. The three pitchers the Mets send to the mound this weekend (Takahasi, Pelfrey, and Santana) all pitched against the Yankees three weeks ago. Smart hitters like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mark Teixeira certainly took some good mental notes about those three since then.
C.C. Sabathia is hard to beat once—he is even harder to beat twice. Phil Hughes won't make the same mistakes he made three weeks ago. He's 9-1 for a reason. Mariano Rivera is the best closer on the planet. These guys are, after all, the defending World Champions.
If the Mets win the series, they will make a BIG statement; we can actually begin to take them seriously.
If the Mets lose, and they look as listless and awful as they have at times this year, they will make another BIG statement: that they are not ready to play with the big boys.
So is the existence of team Jekyll and Hyde.
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