Saturday, May 9: The New York Mets, by virtue of their 10-1 win over the Pirates, coupled with the Phillies 6-2 loss to the Braves, captured first place in the National League East for the first time this season.
News flash: It won't be the last time.
Round one goes to the New York Mets as they vaulted over the Phillies for first place. Buoyed by their mini-sweep of the Phillies and wins against the Pirates, the Mets won their sixth game in a row. Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran led the 17-hit barrage to pace the Mets on Saturday.
If I sound pro-Met, I ain't. I am a lifelong Phillies fan, but a baseball realist. The Phillies will get back into first in the near future and this race will last the season long, with the Phillies and Mets battling it out.
Sorry Braves and Marlins, move aside. The Big Boys are movin' in.
The Mets' problem this year has not been the back end of the bullpen. That is solid with the addition of Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz. No, it is their inability to come back from significant leads by the opposing team.
With Johan Santana pitching every fourth day, they won't need to come back as often as the Phillies.
The Phillies? In their first 10 wins, nine were come from behind. This is a potent offense. Their problem has been the starting pitching and giving up the long ball.
The Phillies, some nights, should be an American League team. There was an April 27th game against the Washington Nationals where Phillies pitching gave up five home runs in the game and they still won, with the Phils hitting two home runs. The score was 13-11. Huh? How is that? Most of the Nats' home runs were solo shots, while the Phillies pounded two grand slams. That's eight runs on two swings.
The Phillies offense will keep them in games.
But if the starting pitching does not turn around, it will be a very short race in the National League East.
The Mets will be National League East champs.
Cole Hamels pitched six good inning against the Braves on Friday, giving up two runs. It's a start. The Phils are going to need at least three good starting pitchers to make a race of this thing.
And I don't wanna be wearing a David Wright jersey in front of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City come October.