Winning Cures All Ills
How sweep it is! Anytime the Mets utilize their brooms against the Braves its a good feeling. Regardless of the standings or time of the year.
The fact the Mets buoyed their 3 of 4, first series victory of the year from the Cubs, by one-upping it with a sweep, signals better days ahead in Flushing.
Nine days ago many of us stood on the bridge swaying in the wind. Should we jump or have faith? The baseball season is much like a novel one immerses themselves in with various twists and turns.
Fortunately, the turn for the Mets was a positive one. Who would have thunk that Mike Pelfrey would place the club on his 6′ 7″ frame and carry them past the .500 mark? I believe the save he garnered in the 20-inning marathon at St. Louis could’ve been a galvanizer.
Now, for a preview of my next piece in “Mets Inside Pitch,” magazine, I reveal what is one of the reasons the much maligned Mets starting pitchers has responded in the early going: The new Catching Tandem of Barajas and Blanco (no its not a Latin Law Firm).
Two veteran catchers who know how to call a game and how to instill confidence in the pitchers. First of all, they are two likeable guys. Barajas is more outgoing, Blanco quieter. However, while in the Mets clubhouse on Saturday they both burst into an impromptu concert, backing up the song blasted in the Heinekin Beer ad (where the cab driver sings along with the passengers).
It was entertaining with Alex Cora adding an air guitar routine.
Bottom Line: Winning cures all ills. And everyone was in a jolly mood after the Mets 3-1 win on Saturday. It represented their second straight series win, and Jon Niese kept the Mets in the game by battling the Braves.
He made Chipper Jones look bad on two K’s on curveballs. He has thrown the breaking ball more this year and his hard work is paying off.
The catchers have been lending their experience to the talented young lefty. As many know, Barajas has compared his stuff to Seattle’s Cliff Lee. If he becomes half the hurler, the Mets have something there.
Offensively, Barajas realizes with his uppercut swing Citi Field is going to cannibalize some of his long balls (his father was tired of him hitting just line drives and encouraged him to lift the ball). When I mentioned he crushed a ball Friday Night for a loud out, he lamented that the wind knocked it down.
But, both guys would rather talk about their relationship with the pitchers and the nurturing of the young guys than their offense. That is, unless you ask Blanco about his first stolen base since 2001 on Saturday.
“I told you I would do anything to help this team win,” he said with a big smile. Compared to last year’s catching corps (er, corpse, although Omir gave us a big thrill at Fenway Park) this years backstops are a marked upgrade.
That is what makes the baseball season such an exhilarating ride. One week you are in the dumper, the next basking in the sunshine.
Now, if David Wright can get going…..
About the Author: Doug Branch
Doug has been sports writing since 1983. He first wrote about the Mets at spring training that year, and his first interviewee was surly catcher Ron Hodges. He currently writes for Mets Inside Pitch, among other magazines published by Scout Publishing-which is owned by Fox Sports. He began following the team during the Wes Westrum era, and redeemed many Borden milk coupons for free Saturday baseball. The night of Tom Seaver's imperfect game against the Cubs, he was in line to buy a ticket when the windows slammed shut and abject disappointment ensued.
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