By Rich Coutinho
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Sure a sweep in Philly would have been sweet and turning a 2-1 lead into an 8-2 loss is disappointing but you all need to keep things in perspective. The Mets have played nine games this season all against NL East foes. And they have gone 6-3. They have done that with David Wright missing 3 of those games and with players like Lucas Duda, Jason Bay, and Ike Davis all hovering below the Mendoza line.
They have done it because they have received outstanding pitching from their rotation–even from the embattled Mike Pelfrey who turned a lackluster first inning into a six inning one-run performance on Sunday. The big 3 of Santana, Dickey and Niese have hurled 35.2 innings giving up a combined 7 runs between the three of them. That is why the Mets are 6-3 and that is the best sign Met fans could have hoped for in the season’s first week. Because that was the biggest question mark coming out of spring training about this team.
The naysayers will point out that the Phillies were missing Ryan Howard and Chase Utley but please do not expect the Mets to take the violins out because their opponents are suffering with injuries. Add to that that the Mets beat some pretty good pitchers in the first 9 games of the season. That list includes Jair Jurrjens, Cliff Lee, Vance Worley, and Tommy Hanson–and quite frankly, the Mets beat that quartet because their starting pitchers outdueled them.
And then there is David Wright. who in 20 at-bats has 11 hits and more importantly, only 2 strikeouts–and that is with dealing with an injured finger. Wright made a slight adjustment to his hands in the off-season bringing them down making his swing more compact and improving his bat speed through the strike zone and it has worked out well for him and the Mets in the early going.
Now the team is off to Atlanta to finish this 12 game stretch against divisional opponents and know they are facing a Braves team that will be trying to avenge the Mets early season sweep at Citi Field. Another great early season test for Terry Collins and his team but a challenge the Mets relish because it is another step towards proving they belong in the NL East conversation. The guys in the Met locker room believe it but I’d say Met fans and the baseball world are still skeptical. And maybe rightfully so. But trying to prove the world wrong is pretty strong motivation for any baseball team and this particular team believes in themselves even if the rest of ‘Mets Nation’ hasn’t exactly hopped on the bandwagon.
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