With every passing day, the deeper we get into the baseball season, it appears the Mets are here to stay. No longer around Memorial Day, we are now heading towards July 1.
They will try to continue their home dominance (26-10) tonight, looking to sweep the Tigers. On the mound will be Hisanori Takahashi, coming off a great start against the Yankees for a second time this season.
The Tigers were having trouble hitting Jon Niese until the rain delay on Tuesday night, and they couldn't solve R.A. Dickey's knuckleball last night, but Takahashi may be the guy to get hit around. The Tigers are such a powerful team against left-handed pitching, and they showed that against Niese. Takahashi is more of a soft-tossing lefty, so don't be surprised if he gives up some runs tonight.
Four of Takahashi's first six starts have been excellent. He hasn't allowed more than one run in any of those four, and three of them came against good-hitting teams in the Yankees and Phillies.
Add that to the fact that he will be pitching at Citi Field, after shutting down the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, and Takahashi may continue his surprising start. After all, we've expected Dickey to take a step back and that hasn't happened.
Dickey and Takahashi are a combined 12-2 this season, which is mind-boggling, especially when you consider where they were when the season started. Takahashi was pitching in long-relief, and Dickey was starting games for Triple-A Buffalo.
After not being able to do much over the weekend against the Yankees offensively, the Mets have taken their frustration out on Detroit, scoring 19 runs in the first two games.
These days, their offense is led by the red-hot Jose Reyes, who just can't be stopped. Back in Reyes' heyday, before his hamstring and thyroid problems, he was consistently wreaking havoc, hitting triples, and stealing bases. Now, he's doing that, along with mixing in some home runs to help the Mets play a kind of ball that they haven't played in quite a while.
Trying to continue this offensive tear, the Mets will go up against the imperfect kid, Armando Galarraga. Of course, Galarraga was the pitcher who retired 27 of 28 batters, with the potential last out of a perfect game being ruled an infield hit back on June 2.
Since then, Galarraga has been okay, but has not recorded a win. It's almost working out for him like pitchers who do pitch perfect games and have bad luck to follow.
His last start was not a good one against the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he went 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and a home run—a game the Tigers would come back and win. He was called up in mid-May, and hasn't been too bad. The Mets, though, are playing in a stadium where they are super confident, and it may be hard for Galarraga to shut down their offense.
One thing the Mets have done in this series is hit the Tigers bullpen, which came in as one of the best in the American League. They got to the lower part of the bullpen in Tuesday's route, and they got to the better part in last night's win, hitting flamethrower Joel Zumaya and tough left-hander Phil Coke. Those are all good signs and are fitting for a team that never sows down late in games.
The Mets hope to get off to another flying start on a home stand, as it seems they do for every one. It's kind of a bonus game, but the Mets would prove a whole lot more if they can sweep one of the better teams in the American League.
Maybe, if they get some help from the hot White Sox against the Braves, they can be in first place by tonight. It's going to be in the mid-90s in New York City today, so things are really starting to heat up for the Mets.
Hisanori Takahashi this season (6 starts)
3-1, 3.15 ERA, 34.1 IP, 34 hits, 8 BB, 22 SO
Armando Galarraga this season (6 starts)
2-1, 3.32 ERA, 38 IP, 33 hits, 9 BB, 15 SO
2010 season series (New York vs. Detroit)
June 22: New York 14, Detroit 6
June 23: New York 5, Detroit 0
Mets lead series 2-0