Jul 03

Fake Rivalry With Phillies Renews Tonight

The Mets and Phillies have had a fake rivalry, and it has been rare when both teams were good at the same time. That’s when the competitive edge of the rivalry comes into play. They are division rivals and geographic rivals, but there’s little tenseness.

An element of hate was removed when Jose Reyes left in the offseason. The Phillies despised him and his style of play and gloated whenever they could. Reyes is gone and took that spice with him.

This year the Mets are playing well and chasing Washington for the NL East. Meanwhile, the Phillies are down and have made it known they will listen to offers for Shane Victorino and Cole Hamels. Both would look nice in Mets pinstripes, but forget it.

The Phillies have been in the playoffs since 2007. This year they’ve been beset with injuries and sluggish play. This is the time for the Mets to put them away, to put three games worth of distance between them before the All-Star break.

If the Mets are as good as they claim to be, they need to continue their momentum from the Dodgers series – including overcoming the disappointment of not getting a sweep – and laying the wood on a wounded opponent.

In that sense, there’s an element to the rivalry that has been missing.

Jul 02

Mets Not Ready For Primetime; Defense, Pen Sabotage Dillon Gee

There was always an uneasy feeling about yesterday, beginning in the first inning when Andres Torres was picked off, costing the Mets a run.

The Mets were poised to complete a four-game sweep of the Dodgers, but there was never that growing sense of anticipation. Three errors, an offensive shutdown and the bullpen combined to throw away what could have been a watershed moment in this season.

Nope: Dodgers, 8-3 over the Mets.

Believe me, I thought it. The Mets sweep, then roll the reeling Phillies as they head into the break at least ten games over .500.

The onus is on the defense, but remember it is up to Dillon Gee and the relievers to put adversity behind them.


May 27

R.A. Dickey, Mets Cap Banner Weekend

When the Mets’ schedule came out today was a game I circled on my calendar. ┬áBanner Day at Citi Field and the revival of one of the Mets’ great traditions. I used to love Banner Day simply because of its uniqueness. No team had anything remotely as close.

DICKEY: Has Padres guessing all day.

Speaking of uniqueness, what’s more unique than R.A. Dickey’s knuckler? Maybe it burst onto the Mets’ lore as an aberration and a gimmick, but it is getting better and better, damn near unhittable.

After today, Dickey is 7-1 and you tell me anybody more deserving to be named to the All-Star team? As of now, he should start. He along with David Wright.

This last week as been rough for me physically, but the Mets have made the time fly, and it has been fun. Loved watching Dickey toy with the Padres today. Looking forward to tomorrow afternoon’s holiday game with the Phillies. Wish it was a doubleheader.

This is developing into a compelling and interesting baseball season, and the Mets are making a lot of positive headlines. Six games over .400 with June days away. I couldn’t have asked for more.


May 07

Mets May 7 Lineup At Philadelphia

The Mets are back in Philly tonight for the start of a three-game series. The Mets won two or three last time and the Phillies continue to struggle. While nobody expects the Phillies to flounder all season, the Mets have a chance to step on them when they are down.

The lineup:

Andres Torres, cf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, lf
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, rf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Ike Davis, 1b
Justin Turner, ss
Josh Thole, c
Jon Niese, lhp

LINEUP COMMENTS: Justin Turner replaces the injured Ruben Tejada. I like Kirk Nieuwenhuis elevated in the batting order, but still want him returned to leadoff. I thought the team played with more spark with him leading off.

ON DECK: Tejada update.


May 07

Ruben Tejada Injury Provides Test As Mets Go To Philly

Ruben Tejada has a strained right calf and will be replaced in the line-up tonight with the Mets in Philadelphia. Justin Turner is at shortstop, but the DL for Tejada is contingent on MRI results.

The Mets are waiting as they start taking batting practice.

The Mets’ resiliency will again be tested this young season as it was when Andres Torres went down, David Wright missed several games with a fractured pinkie, Mike Pelfrey being lost for the season, Jason Bay out again and Ike Davis struggling at the plate.

That’s a lot of things going wrong early, but nothing severe enough to derail this season.

Things are never easy for the Mets and haven’t been since 2007. And, it is never easy in Philadelphia, and won’t be this week with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee starting for the Phillies.

Still, with injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, the Phillies aren’t the same team that has lived on top of the NL East the past five years. In an odd quirk of scheduling, the Mets are already making their second trip into Philadelphia. They won two of three the first time, but who doesn’t expect a different Phillies team this week?

I am not and will not say the Mets are a championship caliber team this early in the season. The questions they had to open the season remain and with Tejada’s injury there are more.

Even so, the Mets are playing with a grit and intensity nobody expected and that’s something to build on. Nobody knows how this season will unfold, but there have been several unexpected developments saying there could be fun baseball this summer.

Earlier I wrote the last thing the Mets wanted was to be buried deep in the NL East by the time the weather warmed and the kids got out of school. The Mets needed more than anything to give their fan base a reason to care about this summer and they’ve done so.

ON DECK: Tonight’s Philly Lineup.