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Early Saturday evening, first pitch is about a half-hour away. As I switch back-and-forth between a pair of blowouts – Ohio State and Eastern Michigan and Red Sox-Yankees – it dawns on me how the priorities for the Mets have changed.
When they got off to a 4-8 start, it was to not become irrelevant before May. Then when they righted themselves in June, it was to win the division. When they imploded after the All-Star break it was to remain competitive. Then play .500.
Now, with a week to go and five games under that won’t happen. Now, it is not fall 20 games behind the Phillies. Wow! Twenty games behind. It is possible. What a downer that is.
It is time for the Mets and Mike Pelfrey to stop fooling around.
Game #93 at Diamondbacks
At one time the Mets were 11 games over .500 and a game behind Atlanta. They go into Arizona tonight just six games over and five games behind.
Their slide and coincided with Pelfrey’s five-start skid in which he went 1-3.
Tonight they have the Diamondbacks, one of the worst teams in the sport.
The Diamondbacks could represent an oasis in what is a desert of a schedule for the Mets, who just lost three of four at San Francisco. From Arizona the Mets have four games at Los Angeles, then return home for a brief series against St. Louis before meeting up with Atlanta and Philadelphia.
By the time that stretch is completed we should know just how much of a contender the Mets are really.
We might know more about one of the Mets’ key second-half questions tonight, which is: Who is the real Mike Pelfrey?
At one time, Pelfrey was 9-1 and cruising toward the All-Star Game. All was right in his world and the Mets were making up ground on Atlanta. However, he has hit a rough five-game stretch since in which he’s gone 1-3 with a 7.52 ERA.
That’s just the beginning of the bad numbers.
In that span Pelfrey (10-4, 3.58 ERA) failed to make it out of the fifth inning in his last three starts, including going four while giving up four runs on 12 hits in his last start against the Braves.
At 61-19, Johan Santana has been money in the bank in his career during the second half. The Mets will need to cash a Santana check today against the Giants to avoid being swept and perhaps falling into a free fall.
Santana gave up five hits in seven innings in beating Atlanta last Sunday to prevent a sweep in that series.
Overall, the Mets have lost six of their last seven and eight of their last ten games.
“I feel much better,’’ Santana said. “Hopefully, this second half will be a strong one.’’
That’s the way it’s going to have to be tonight at San Francisco as Niese (6-3, 3.61) tries to pull the Mets out of their July funk.
After a boom in June that saw the Mets go 11 games over .500 and pull within a game of Braves, they are 4-7 for July to find themselves five games behind during a very precarious part of their schedule as this is the second game of a season-high 11-game road trip.