The Mets will play the 8,000th game in their history tonight, starting Johan Santana against Miami.
SANTANA: One of the best.
I know there will be focus on Jose Reyes, but I’m bored with that topic. He’s gone, let’s move on, and move on to a better things, Santana for example.
Santana has been handled with kid gloves following a delicate shoulder surgery few have recovered from. It has taken a lot of hard, and painful, work for him to return, and he’s come back as a force.
Santana doesn’t yet have the outstanding command that made him an elite pitcher, but he’s heading in that direction as his arm gets stronger. Currently, his velocity is good enough to win with because his pitches have movement.
The Mets have spent a lot of money on Santana and will spend a lot more. He’s been a positive influence to others in the rotation, although Oliver Perez grasped the concept.
He’s been a pleasure to deal with and I hope he continues his come back strong.
Several times this season the Mets answered a winning streak with a losing one. They have won five straight and you wouldn’t be wrong to wonder if the other shoe will drop this weekend in Miami.
Great timing to have Johan Santana start in the opener.
COLLINS: Getting it done.
While you and I might wonder, nobody in the Mets’ clubhouse is thinking along those lines. Terry Collins won’t allow it.
The book on Collins going in was he could get uptight and lose a clubhouse. There’s been nothing to suggest he’s going that way. It does show one can adjust, and even change, over time.
Collins came with little fanfare or declarations. There was no timetable to get the Mets into contention. Instead, he promised to change the culture. His teams are prepared and seldom come out flat, with the Houston debacle an exception.
We’ve seen hustle, better pitching and defense than expected, and a manager who sticks by his players. The Mets are hitting at an extraordinary clip with two outs and lead the majors in comeback victories with 11.
Yesterday, I suggested the Mets need to hone a killer instinct and complete the sweep of the Phillies when they were down. There won’t be a premature “Mission Accomplished” announcements because we’ve seen hot stretches cool before, but it was a significant step.
DAVIS: Breaking out (AP)
Five games over .500, somewhere they haven’t been since 2010. If I remember correctly, that was Jerry Manuel’s last big moment with the Mets which triggered their slide. It was when Jose Reyes was rushed off the disabled list and you know what happened next.
They won despite a poor outing from Dillon Gee – he called it his worst of the season – and overcoming a good start from Cliff Lee. It was also the 11th time they have come from behind (most in the majors) and Collins reiterated the idea of jumping on a team when it is down.
“We came in and got them at the right time and took advantage of playing hard,” Collins said. “If something happened, there was a mistake, we capitalized on it. It was a great trip for us. We’ll enjoy it for a while and get ready for this weekend.”
As today’s game progressed there was a feeling the Mets would do something. When Miami went to its bullpen it was a lock, even when Heath Bell came on. Bell has never forgiven the Mets for letting him go and the thought was he’d get too amped and overthrow.
That’s what happened and Bell struggled with his command. After walking Justin Turner in a dramatic 13-pitch at-bat to force in the tying run, he looked spent and moments later Kirk Nieuwenhuis delivered a game-winning single to give the Mets a sweep of the Marlins, their third walk-off victory and sixth time they’ve come from behind to win this spring.
What does sweeping the Marlins mean?
NIEUWENHEIS: Delivers in the clutch.
There was concern how the Mets would do with their tough April schedule, but they’ve responded with 11 victories, including sweeps of Atlanta and Miami at home, and winning two of three in Philadelphia.
The Mets have played with grit and heart and showed they can be competitive within the division. They also sent out a message there is life after Jose Reyes.
This afternoon the Mets did nothing against Ricky Nolasco through seven innings, but were kept in the game by Jon Niese, who also worked seven strong innings. The Mets caught a huge break when first base umpire CB Bucknor blew the call and called Reyes out on a 3-6-3 double play. Replays showed Reyes was safe and the Marlins would have had another run.
Mets doctors and orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews convened today in a conference call and Mike Pelfrey is headed for Tommy John surgery that will end his season.
PELFREY: Done for the year.
Pelfrey underwent a MRI Tuesday that revealed a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. A cortisone injection was discussed, but a shot wouldn’t guarantee the repair of the tear.
“They brought it up and there is a 10 to 20 percent chance it might work and I’d have to have surgery anyway,’’ Pelfrey said after today’s come-from-behind victory over Miami. “At 10 percent I figured `what’s the use?’ ’’