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New York Mets-Philadelphia Phillies Rubber Game: Putting This in Perspective

Leslie MonteiroSenior Analyst IMay 3, 2010

Folks emphasize the importance of rivalry games during the season.

It's their version of Armageddon. If that particular team wins, their fanbase gets excited. If that particular team loses, the season is over for their fanbase.

In the NFL, that's understandable. Regular season football is played for 16 games. For the other sports, it's a marathon.

That's why it is amusing to hear Mets fans get worked up about this weekend. After last night's loss to the Phillies, folks expressed outrage.

Local sports radio conditioned fans on Friday to make something out of nothing in this series, hence the overreaction. We see this all the time whenever a New York sports team plays its hated rival of any sport.

Let's get this straight: this loss does not break their season. If the Mets won last night, it would not make their season.

The rubber game of a three-game set will be forgotten by the time we get to July. The Mets will have plenty of other opportunities to win several series against the Phillies.

Notice, Philadelphians did not get worked up about Friday night's loss. That's how New Yorkers should react about last night.

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Don't judge a team based on what they did last night. Judge them on what they do from now to the All-Star break.

This past homestand excited everyone. The thought was the Mets are better than people thought. After the season they had last year, it's understandable why Mets fans are excited.

Still, it's important to note that bad teams go on a hot streak in the season. The Royals, Pirates, and several other teams get hot. It's not a big deal if the Mets went through a good stretch here.

Plus, it's not like they beat three great teams. The Cubs stink. The Braves may not be as good as we thought. The Dodgers look lost right now on the field along with off the field.

This stretch meant the team survived a rough start to the season. It makes Jerry Manuel feel secure as a manager until the All-Star break.

It showed players play for Manuel, despite reports about guys giving up on him couple of weeks ago.

Let's also point out last night's loss should not determine how this season is going to turn out for the Metropolitans.

This team should be judged by what they do in May and June. That's a good barometer to how they are going to do.

If they win these two months, these guys will learn how to win and it will become a habit. It goes the other way if the Mets do the opposite.

Winning in April does nothing. A bad team wins that month, and loses the rest of the way.

The Padres are in first place. Does anyone realistically think they are going to win the NL West?

Didn't think so.

Let's apply this to the Mets and not make much about this last month...or last night.

Look at this team as a 78-win team. They are on pace to reach that number.

The offense should be fine. It comes down to pitching. If Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese continue to pitch well along with the bullpen, we will see meaningful September games.

That would be a step up to last year even if this team pulls its annual September collapse.

If there is one thing to be upset about, it's Johan Santana's performance last night.

He had a 5-2 lead. One figured he would be good enough to do what Halladay did Saturday afternoon.

It didn't happen. The Phillies batted him around in the fourth inning, and the Mets never recovered.

As good as the Mets offense is, the Mets ace needs to pick them up by throwing zeroes on the scoreboard.

The Mets did not acquire Santana just to beat an awful team or beat the Phillies once in awhile. His job is to win his fair share of games against the Phillies.

Other than that, there's nothing to be upset about.

This team is exciting. That's the first step to building a good team.

This team features homegrown players to build around. Jenrry Mejia, Ike Davis, Neise, and Pelfrey provide a good core of players that can help them now and in the future.

Anytime a team has that, there's something to be proud about. That's how a team becomes successful. Fans gravitate towards homegrown players rather than mercenaries.

Who knows how this will end up?

That's why they play for seven months not for one game only.

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