At the beginning of last week I wrote how important the Detroit and Minnesota series were to the streaky Mets.
They’ve been either hot or cold and a solid showing against two strong American League teams would be a positive showing, and going 4-2 has them on the cusp again of first place in the NL East. With a win tonight and Atlanta loss to Washington and rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg, the Mets can move into first place.
They’ll attempt to do it behind knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who is vying tonight to become the first Mets pitcher since Steve Trachsel in 2006 to win seven straight decisions.
“It doesn’t feel surreal,’’ Dickey said. “It feels like something I’ve been capable of doing.’’
The Mets will be without Angel Pagan again tonight, who remains sidelined with a muscle spasm on his right side.
John Maine will get another chance to join the Mets’ rotation, but one has to wonder if that would be the case if Hisanori Takahashi hadn’t spit the bit his last two starts.
MAINE: Feeling better
After two strong starts, the last two have found Takahashi being mauled. In his last start against the Marlins, Takahashi hit a wall around the fifth. Even in his two strong starts, he struggled to get through six.
The Mets think he’s better out of the bullpen.
“We like Takahashi as a pitcher,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “We think we have lost something in the bullpen when he’s a starter, so that’s a scenario that could work if and when John Maine is healthy and we feel he’s ready to be part of the rotation.’’
Maine threw a simulated game last night, and if he’s pain free today will make a minor league rehab start. Then it’s back into the rotation.
It didn’t look like that would be the case last month when Manuel yanked him at Washington after throwing only five pitches. The two got into it in the dugout and Manuel pulled Maine from the rotation, insisting something was wrong. An MRI then revealed shoulder tendinitis.