With our Magic Number down to 7 and only 8 games left to play, the Mets have one way of ensuring that they clinch a division title… Keep winning!
The way the Phillies have been playing lately means that we can’t relax and hope that they lose 2 or 3 games down the stretch. They have a lot of fight and a lot of grit, and they don’t look like they are letting up anytime soon. What was once a joke of a rotation and a laugher of a bullpen, has come into it’s own and stepped up in a big way for Jimmy Rollins and the gang.
The Mets are on their own.
This race has now come down to a battle for who wants this division the most. As it stands now, the loser of the NL East battle will not even win the Wild Card.
The stakes are high, but the Mets’ will to win must be higher!
I believe the Mets will do it, and these five key players will be a pig part of it.
1. Carlos Beltran – To see Beltran back a day after he limped off the field and needed help to go down the stairs, showed me everything I needed to know about our All-Star centerfielder. As the trainers worked on his knees and he grimaced in pain, he told reporters that he would be out there despite the pain. He was on base three times on Saturday. Expect some late season heroics the rest of the way.
2. Oliver Perez – The Mets needed someone in this rotation to step up and make a stand. Perez did all that and more on Saturday in one of the best pitched games of the year for any Mets starter. He may not always be focused, but he knows how to pitch in a big game, and you can flush all that talk of him going to the bullpen in the postseason. He has one more regular season start and it will be against the Cardinals at Shea. Deja Vu? No chance, this time Oliver Perez will get the win.
3. David Wright – He may not win the MVP this season, but as far as the Mets are concerned there is nobody more important or more valuable on this team. He keeps getting better every time he takes the field. He plays with heart and he plays with his head. After an early season slump, Wright has made some adjustments and gives you nothing but quality at-bats each and every time. He’s a gamer who doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit.
4. Moises Alou – Alou is without a doubt the best off-season signing of the winter. Despite his age and the constant risk of injury, he helped build the Mets lead in April and May by leading the team in Batting Average before being shutdown with his quad injury. Since returning from the DL he is the reason the Mets still have that lead he helped to build. His heads-up style of play, and old-school demeanor, has been just what the doctor ordered for this Mets offense that looked stagnant without him in the lineup. He is a proven clutch performer and offers valuable protection in the lineup for Beltran and Wright.
5. Shawn Green – Call me crazy, but there’s an old saying that goes "Sometimes, things happen for a reason." Green may not have made the type of impact on the Mets we all would have hoped for since his acquisition, but I’m thinking the timing was all wrong. There was reason that the Mets told Milledge to drop the appeal of his suspension, and that reason is Greenie. Shawn Green has wielded one of the hottest bats on the team in September and has given the Mets pause to reconsider his value to the team. He may not be a Met come 2008, but before all is said and done, expect Green to make some Mets memories with his bat.
Look, we all know that the Mets should have never been scrambling for victories with a week left to the season. This team was just too good to be in this perilous position. We can debate the reasons for this predicament in the off-season. Right now we are where we are, and we have to see this thing through.
Keep the faith and don’t ever stop believing.