Anytime the Mets lace up their cleats and take the field, there prime objective is to make a statement, their message, clear as crystal, to prove they’re indeed the cream of the National League. Early on thus far this season the Mets on field play has appeared to be spotty at best. A worrisome hangover of a 2007 feels to be looming over the club over the first few weeks of the campaign. However, coming off their first sweep of the year against the lowly Washington Nationals, the skies have begun smiling down on Shea Stadium.
Everything has started to fall perfectly into place as if the Mets were a jigsaw puzzle. Mike Pelfrey opened the series and for his second consecutive outing showed guts, and lots of them, something Mets fans have never witnessed. His ball had zip and hard sinking action, about 80 percent of his outs came via the ground ball. John Maine didn’t have his best stuff in game two, he struggled with command at many points, but he bared down and never allowed the game to fall away. As for last night, I myself cannot figure out Nelson Figueroa, and I’m just watching him from a far, good luck to the guys who have to actually step up to the plate against him. He wont blow a hitter away with any kind of intimidating fast ball, he doesn’t have a defined “out” pitch in his repertoire, but he somehow goes out their and is averaging almost a strikeout per inning. Do we add another no name to the list of players Omar Minaya has picked up for nothing and has gone on to pay enormous dividends?
Jose Reyes is once again playing baseball in case you haven’t noticed. Carlos Beltran rescued him from hiding and promptly returned him to Shea. All kidding aside, as Reyes goes so too goes the Mets offense. When Reyes is on base and driving the ball to the gaps, the team wins, when he hits fly balls and gets long ball giddy, they lose. It was quite evident Reyes was not himself, his Colgate smile; club rocking dance moves, his once electric presence had been lacking electricity. After an enlightening awakening by Beltran over the weekend, Reyes has returned to form, he’s happy, likewise the Met fan is happy.
Then there’s goggles. Duaner Sanchez was activated and returned to the big club Tuesday night after a 21 month hiatus following shoulder surgery in the summer of 2006. The addition is a godsend to the otherwise shaky bullpen. Sanchez makes it whole; it adds vital depth to one of the most worked pens in all the game. Aaron Heilman now may settle in to being the dependable pitcher we have grown accustomed to seeing, knowing he does not have to carry the entire relief core on his shoulders.
Now, we shall see if those same gorgeous blue skies will follow the squad down the turnpike to Philadelphia for a 3 game hook-up with the much hated Phillies. Johan Santana was brought to Flushing to pitch in big games, Friday night is his first opportunity to send a message to the team’s chief rival, that 2007 is in the past, and 2008 is the year they will take back their thrown once again. This may be the perfect time to head into Philly, just as the Mets are firing on all cylinders.