Well, like any major league team, it’s really both. The Mets are capable of being the poorly run team on the road that lets little things beat them like making one bad pitch, failing to get a runner in from third, poor fielding, or the wrong pitching change. They’re also capable of being the dominating team that you see when they play at Citi Field. The team that laces doubles and triples into the gaps, that pitches out of jams and makes the opposing team struggling with runners in scoring positions, the team that comes back from deficits and is never out of a game.
It’s not just that the Mets get lucky when they’re at home. They really are capable of being a dominating, scary team. Despite their poor play they’re hanging in this division and with a weak road trip coming up, they have a chance at reversing their fortunes. First they have a revenge series against the Padres, with both Pelfrey and Santana pitching. (I’m aware they had both pitching in San Diego as well) If they can win this series, they’d be 32 and 28, four games over .500 with a nine game road trip coming up.
The Mets roster has gotten quite a shakeup over the last couple of days. Niese returns and Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, and Gary Matthew Junior either went on the DL or were released. Jesus Feliciano and Ruben Tejada have joined the team. Both are rookies, Feliciano finally getting the call-up at 31 years of age after an excellent start to the season where he’s batting almost .400 in Buffalo. He had a good season last year and played well in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico. I actually saw him play in the first game against the USA in which he helped them win in mercy rule fashion. He’s received a lot of praise from his Buffalo team and from Alex Cora as a guy that can hit the ball and knows how to win. I don’t know if the “knows how to win” argument is really worth anything, but it won’t be hard to bring more value than Gary Matthews Jr did. It’s yet unknown what type of player Tejada will be, and definitely unknown if he can get on base at the rate that Castillo normally does, but so far he’s played well and he’s young and exciting and his presence means the Mets have a fully home-grown infield for the time being. Not a bad deal for a team that’s supposedly bad at the draft.
- Jesus Feliciano (#23) joins his Puerto Rican teammates (Beltran, Delgado, Cora, Pedro Feliciano) in celebrating the mercy rule win over the USA. Feliciano went 6/16 during the WBC.
So with some of the regulars rounding into mid-season form and some new fresh faces, I expect them to play better on the next road trip and return home in first place. Six of those games are against really bad American League teams in the Indians and Orioles. The three games at the end of it against the Yankees may be a little tougher, but they’ve already beaten them once.
It’s going to be an exciting couple of weeks. The Mets have invited me to Citi Field on Wednesday, I’m considering traveling the Baltimore for the Saturday game against the Mets, and I’ll be at the finale of the road trip against the Yankees, likely seeing Santana again. By the time that road trip finishes the Mets will hopefully have put the road woes behind them, are at or near first place, and we’ll even know more about if and when Beltran is coming to rejoin the team. I’m really looking forward to the next 12 games.