The bell tolled at full volume for the Mets over this last week. This crucial six game voyage was a time to put up or shut up. An absolutely golden opportunity to take advantage of mediocrity and capitalize in the win column was essential if nothing else, an obligation. After all, the Pirates and Nationals are teams that championship caliber clubs feast upon.
In wake of Orlando ‘El Duque” Hernandez’s stellar pitching performance on Sunday afternoon, The Mets departed the nations capital with an 8-2 victory en route to a series sweep, their first since doing so against the Athletics in Flushing. However that was way back in late June, nearly two months ago.
They surge home to the unfriendly confines of Shea on Tuesday evening, a place where they are a meager 32-27, just five games above the .500 mark. None the less, the Mets hit Queens as winners in six of their last seven contests. Over that span, the team’s beleaguered offense has awoken to post 53 runs, which is a mark good for over seven runs per game. Going 5-1 on the journey through the Steel City and the nation’s capital brought to my attention quite a few realizations I came to grasps with. I will share with you a few:
First off, simply put, Moises Alou can rake. To throw this man a straight fastball would be a pitchers biggest mistake. He has failed to enamor me with any form of excitement for the majority of this season, mostly having to do with the fact that he hasn’t been in the lineup enough to do so. I believe he is a shoe in to win the National Leagues player of the week honors. The 41 year old slugged four homers and drove in 11 runs in the seven game stretch, all while batting at a remarkable .407 clip. Perhaps more telling is that he has accumulated seven of his nine long balls and 16 of his 30 rbi in just 17 games during the month of August. Makes me fathom what could have been if he had remained healthy for the two month stint he spent on the disabled list.
Finally, it’s time we catch sight of more Sosa and less Mota, or perhaps no Mota. Unless someone provides Guillermo Mota with a syringe, I would not be opposed to him never toeing the rubber again while dawning a Mets uniform. He has been a disaster ever since returning from a 50 game steroid ban and manager Willie Randolph insists on handing him the ball in tight spots, dubbing him “one of my guys.” The fact is many of Willies “guys” have played no better than girls this season. If he were wise, Mets fans shall see a great deal of Jorge Sosa as the season draws to a close. Since being shunned from the starting rotation and summoned to the bullpen over three weeks ago, he has thrived tremendously in his new role. He has posted an extraordinary 1.29 ERA in just over 15 innings pitched.
Going 5-1 on the road trip is precisely the shot of momentum the club needed. With San Diego and Las Angeles flying in this week, the Mets are undoubtedly playing their most complete and consistent ball of the year. All the gloom and doom that filled the Shea faithfuls hearts just seven short days ago, has been replaced with belief, and a sense that the 2007 Mets, after a four month hiatus, may have finally arrived.