David Wright recently said that he believes the Phillies are still the team to beat <cue Jimmy Rollins>. "Philadelphia took care of us last year," he said, "They took care of business in the division. Going into this year, we have to take control again in the NL East."
While I love David, I’m going to amend this quote: We need to take control against the PHILLIES. The Phillies are the ones we lost 10 games in a row to. The Phillies were the ones who were on fire at the right time. And face it, Billy Wagner is secretly wearing a Phillies shirt under his jersey. Towards the end of last year, we were struggling to beat the MARLINS (a struggle to be made easier courtesy of the Detroit Tigers). We shouldn’t have to struggle to beat a last place team or even a fourth place team. We should just be able to beat them two games out of three.
I know this has been said many times this week, but Johan Santana is a major upgrade on this pitching staff. Last year, our "ace" had a 4.45 ERA and only got two outs in the game of his career before Willie took him out. I’m glad That Guy is gone. The Johan/Pedro 1-2 punch also looks to be one of the better ones in the National League. With two 15 game winners in Maine and Perez (Please bring Ollie back Omar!!!) and El Duque as the backbone to our rotation (just as long as he doesn’t get hurt), our pitching is some of the best in the NL. With Johan going hopefully 6 or 7 or 8 innings deep, our bullpen will get the rest it needs and it won’t be quick to wear out.
While I did initially object to the Johan Santana trade, the whole team has improved thanks to his presence. It gives the Mets something to be excited about during Spring Training. The Mets of May 2007 will come through swinging and the Mets of September 30, 2007 will be long gone.
I dare Jimmy Rollins to say that the Phillies are the team to beat.
Go ahead, say it. Johan and the Mets will prove you wrong.