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.
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.’’
The Mets welcome Carlos Beltran back to the lineup tonight after a lengthy stint and rehab assignment following knee surgery.
Beltran appeared in 14 rehab games for Single-A St. Lucie. He said he’s pain free, but that’s not to say he’s rust free.
“I think I swung the bat well, but at the big league level it’s a different story,’’ Beltran said. “I do feel like I need to make adjustments. It will take me time. I don’t expect to come here and rake. I just expect to come here and like I say, do my part. Being able to contribute any way I can, and I believe in that.’’
This is what aces do, they lift a struggling team on top of their shoulders and carry them when times are dark and heavy.
The Mets conclude a surprising first half with a disappointing close this afternoon against the Atlanta Braves. The weekend began with the Mets three-games out of first. They now stand five games out fighting to keep from falling six back by the break.
After a rough stretch Santana back to pitching the shutdown way aces are supposed to and the way the Mets have always expected, with tenacity, guile and grit. Santana, a victim of poor run support for much of the first half, could have perhaps a dozen wins with any kind of offensive and bullpen help.
With the Mets’ sputtering this week, and scoring only two runs in this series, Santana can pretty much expect to do most of the heavy lifting today – as he usually does.