Things are going about as well as could be expected right now for the New York Mets.
Considering most fans discounted them before the season even began, the club has done pretty well in spite of the injuries that have hit the team.
The Mets have won nine of their last 13 and after starting the year 5-13, they have since gone 16-9. The club is also 9-3 in the last dozen home games.
If the Mets can keep up some of this pace without the likes of David Wright, Ike Davis, Angel Pagan and Johan Santana, there's every chance they will still be playing meaningful baseball throughout the second half of the season.
To ensure they don't slip away, they need to be competitive at the very minimum between now and the All-Star break.
Among the highlights of the next month-and-a-half are home and away series with the Yankees, nine games against either the Phillies or Braves, a trip to Texas to face the red-hot Rangers in Arlington and a seven-game west coast road trip against the Dodgers and World Series Champion Giants.
"It's real important," RA Dickey said about the need for momentum. "I think we saw that last year. After the break is what really hurt us.
"We went on that west coast swing and it really chopped our feet out from under us. So hopefully we'll be sporting a winning record going into the break and then we can maintain that momentum rather than losing it like we did last year."
The Mets went 1-7 in the first eight games immediately after the break last year, and the team took just one of the first seven series. That can't happen this year, not with three of the first four sets against their top NL East rivals.
The Mets need a good record heading into the break, and they need momentum coming out of it.
Josh Thole added, "Other than a little skid that we ran through at the start of the year, I think this is what you can expect. Our home form is huge. Whenever you can be at home and not have to travel across different time zones and everything, it keeps everybody locked in. The momentum we have now we have to keep going leading up into the break."
When things are working, the team is good. Jose Reyes leads the Majors in triples and multi-hit games, he's second in hits and tied for third in the NL in doubles. Justin Turner has done everything well since coming up from Buffalo.
The team as a whole ranks second in the Majors in walks, and the bullpen has the third best ERA in the month of May.
When the starters go deep into games, the bullpen gets regular rest. One thing often leads to another and success is often contagious.
Veteran Willie Harris, too, knows how important home form is, if for no other reason that helping the team go into big games on the road with confidence.
"The team is playing exceptionally here as of late," Willis explained.
"I think playing at home is always a plus for us. Citi Field is not an easy place to play as a visitor. I've done that the last few years so I know that. This is high intensity place to play baseball, especially as a visitor.
"You want to win games no matter whether you're at home or on the road, but let's get some momentum and look forward to taking that momentum to other places."
Ash Marshall is a New York Mets Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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