They’re Having Fun And Picking Each Other Up!

As the week has unfolded as crisp and smooth as a cloth napkin in a fine restaurant, our beloved Amazins stand only one game in the loss column behind the Phillies. After disposing of the Giants and the abominable lineup they send out each night, Colorado comes into Flushing for a pre all star break weekend excursion The Mets will hope to catapult themselves to the thrown of the NL East upon closing out the soap opera that was the first half of the 2008 season.
This seven game winning streak the Mets are currently wrapped up in has proved to be the most consistent and promising stretch that I can recall since the magical 2006 campaign. Aside from Moises Alou opening his eyes or breathing and landing on the disabled list and ultimately the operating table, the Mets can do no wrong.
A variety of factors can be credited to the team’s sudden resurgence to victory on a day in and day out basis. For the last three weeks, around the time that Willie Randolph was relieved of his managing duties, I began to witness a totally different team. Jerry Manuel has embraced the interim tag admirably and in the short span has done the most pivotal thing Randolph could not accomplish and that is winning, and doing it consistently.
Suddenly two out rallies are once again alive and well at Shea, hell, that’s where the bulk of their runs have been attained during this winning stretch. So much of what is developing right now reminds me strikingly of the 2006 squad. It was a season in which role players and bench presence was one of their most lethal bullets in their holster. Comparable to the way that Tatis, Easley and Chavez have all been swinging the sticks as of late.
Starting pitching was not a strong suite in 2006, which is why the 2008 team can prove to constructively be in a better position to win come playoff time. A battle in the trenches is always won with elite hurlers. Johan Santana has been terrific despite the tainted win loss record. Since Rick Peterson was let go, the “real” Ollie has once again surfaced and become unhittable. Similarly, Mike Pelfrey has displayed his top of the rotation potential and arguably has been the most consistent starter since the calendar rolled past May.
Passion, emotion, fight, it was all lost inside of this team the very moment Yadier Molina sent an Aaron Heilman pitch deep into the October night sky in the 06 NLCS. It has unquestionably resurfaced at the expense of Willie Randolph’s job. I take a look at the squad from the beginning of the season and their time on Randolph’s watch, and I am hard pressed to find a player who I would have dubbed as being “hot” at any point. Maybe aside from the initial start of Ryan Church’s career in blue in orange there really wasn’t any.
Under Manuel, I can compile a list and you wouldn’t even be able to debate it. Carlos Delgado is on pace for a 30 home run and 100 runs batted in and has raised his batting average to a respectable .250 clip. Damion Easley and Fernando Tatis have been brilliant and have been the most reliable and clutch hitters in the everyday lineup. Aaron Heilman is coming off his best month out of the bullpen in almost a year. Pelfrey and Perez as stated earlier are going through their best stretches during their tenures in blue and orange.
Enduring a year and half of mediocrity while expecting to be the class of the league was absolutely a rough and bumpy stretch and it polluted the team clubhouse and it’s chemistry from all circles within. Jerry Manuel has instilled a breath of fresh air into this team. They’re having fun, they’re fighting back and picking each other up, and more importantly, they’re winning.