By Rich Coutinho
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Coming into Philly this weekend, the Mets had lost two straight and faced the prospect of trying to right the ship without David Wright. To make matters worse, they had to do it against left-hander Cliff Lee whom had limited the Mets to one run in 14 innings pitched in 2011. But the Mets came out swinging in the first inning as Daniel Murphy laced an RBI double followed by a Jason Bay two run-homer. That’s right Met fans — I used the words home run and Jason Bay in the same sentence.
“I know I have been saying all week that I felt I was close”, says Bay, “and I also know that those words seem very hollow since the results were not there yet. But I think the best sign for me is Lee made only one mistake all night pitching to me and I hit it out of the park. Hopefully, this can get me going.” Bay was not the only hero because RA Dickey once again did a great job giving up only one run despite allowing 9 hits in his 7 innings of work.
“On a night like this when you are going up against a great team with Cliff Lee toeing the rubber for them you know you are up against it”, says Dickey,”and as a consequence, you need to make big pitches which I was able to do tonight.” Dickey’s consistency is becoming more and more obvious has he hurled a quality start for the 14th straight time dating back to July of last season. And no major league pitcher currently has a longer streak than that which Dickey believes speaks to the fact that this Met rotation may fly under in the radar in the eyes of the “so-called experts.”
“I do not want to get too far ahead of myself”, says the Met knuckleballer,”but we have good pitchers in this room. And if we can continue doing what we have been doing we will be around in September and I am excited about that.” Dickey makes a great point when you consider things have gone less than perfect for the Mets yet they sport a 5-2 record. Think about it–Ike Davis has one hit, David Wright has missed 3 games, Lucas Duda and Jason Bay have struggled and yet the Mets have won 5 of their first 7 games against divisional foes most experts thought they had no business being in the same room with.
Of course, the season is still young and te Phils are hurting right now missing their two big bats, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley but don’t expect Met fans to feel sorry for the Fighting Phils. This team is trying to carve out its identity and beating Cliff Lee in Philly is a great start in shaping it. I have told you all spring this Met team is a bunch of fighters and in the season’s first week they have beaten Cliff Lee, Jair Jurrgens, and Tommy Hanson–all starting pitchers most experts felt would own the Mets this season. Guess what?–they haven’t and the Mets have shown they won’t take a backseat to anyone.
I’d say that is a pretty good first 7 games for a Met team not many people believed in. I would also have to believe not many Met fans thought they would be 5-2 after 7 games with a win over Cliff Lee highlighting the season’s first week. It sounds cliché but that is why we play the games.