One beat writer called the upcoming three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies one of the three biggest series of this entire season. Whether it is or not remains to be seen, but I would bet you couldn’t get one player, coach or manager to agree with that. And if anyone should know, wouldn’t it be them?
With that said, I do believe the series could have some added significance.
The opening weekend started out with a loss that had some fans already climbing out their windows and perched on ledges. I’m happy to report that by late Sunday afternoon, most of them were safely back inside and getting ready to watch Bobby Valentine on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
The Mets took two out of three and in doing so they achieved something they couldn’t do until August last season, that is to win a series against an NL opponent on the road. The fact that it came against a division rival, who some predict to finish ahead of the Mets, was an added bonus.
Now it’s off to Citizens Bank Park where the Phillies are off to a 3-0 start and stand alone atop the NL East. If the Mets take two of three in the series, the Phils will have some company at the top and the Mets will roll into Citi Field where throngs of curious fans and onlookers will be gathered to cheer them on and keep the good times rolling.
Our own Mike Branda, who most of you know as Jessep, spoke to Terry Collins before the weekend series and asked him specifically about winning on the road – something the Mets did a terrible job of last season.
This evening, the Mets and Terry Collins were gracious enough to let several bloggers join a conference call and ask Terry their one question. I knew what my question would be if given the chance, and so I asked Collins what he can do as Manager to get the team to focus on traveling and playing better on the road.
Collins recognized the value of the question, which told me that this is an issue he is not only aware of but that they are working on it right now. Collins explained that he will be addressing it in the locker room, and focusing on the struggles on playing on the road and how to overcome them during his pre-game address.
He needs his team to get used to the ballpark they are playing in quicker, and on the flip side when playing at home they need to use Citi Field even more to their advantage.
Collins went on to say that crowd noise is not and should not be a factor when playing on the road, he went on to reference Gordie Howe saying that if the crowd is booing you, then you must be good.
You could read the rest of Jessep’s post here.
Now, while I disagree that this series is a huge one for the Mets as it pertains to the 162 game schedule, I do agree it could be important that by winning the series, it could boost the confidence level of this team.
Winning two games, or even three, can give this Mets team a much needed swagger that carry them well into May, June and even July. We heard it all before – winning breeds confidence, and confidence breeds swagger.
It appears that Collins has already achieved much with this rare series win on the road, and the team displayed the mental toughness to claw back and even add on runs late in the game, which wasn’t always the case in the last two seasons. There was clutch pitching, timely hitting and even David Wright got into the act with a big home run in game two. Wright also appeared to show a side of him that has not been seen since 2006, when speaking to reporters after the game. There was an excitement in his voice, an air of confidence in his tone, and a sparkle in his eye.
Lets see what happens beginning on Tuesday when Chris Young takes the mound and makes his Mets debut against Cole Hamels. This could be a fun series to watch given the rivalry that has built up between the fans and the players themselves too. But it could be an important series too as the Terry Collins and his team can make a big statement and draw a line in the sand.
Lets Go Mets!