Shaun Marcum is pitching to extend the Mets’ winning streak to six games tonight in Miami. The Mets surprised some people this week, perhaps even the Phillies and Nationals, whom they trail by one and two games, respectively, in the lost column.
The Mets have three with the Marlins before heading to Washington. It sure would add some spice to the spring if the Mets were to close the gap on the Nationals before getting to DC.
PARNELL: Leads recent bullpen surge. (AP)
They obviously became relevant to the Yankees this week, but there are several things that must happen for that relevance to carry over to the National League East.
It begins with pitching, and the Mets have been superb in not giving up a walk for three straight games. That’s something they hadn’t done since 1994, and almost incomprehensible.
The time is rapidly approaching when Zack Wheeler could be ready, but they should ride Jeremy Hefner and Dillon Gee – both coming off strong starts – for as long as they can. Marcum will stay in the rotation by virtue of making $4 million this year.
Mets starters are on a roll with a 2.91 ERA in over their last nine starts. The bullpen is also producing, giving up just two runs in its last 13.2 innings. The Mets bullpen has seven victories, but that can be misleading as it indicates blown saves by the middle-inning pitchers and entering the game with the starter either tied or behind.
Should the pitching continue the Mets could find themselves in an interesting summer. Stranger things have happened.
The Mets’ offense collapsed in the second half last year, and save David Wright and Daniel Murphy, there’s been little consistent production.
That must change, and fast.
Marlon Byrd came through Thursday night and Lucas Duda the night before, but more is needed from Duda and Ike Davis.
How bad has Davis been? Consider this, he has 13 RBI for the season. In contrast, Cubs pitchers have 19 in May.
Davis is batting eighth tonight and those whispers of going back to the minors are getting louder. As long as the Mets are winning, Davis is likely to stay. But, eventually he needs to get this straightened out.
Here’s tonight’s lineup against Miami starter Jacob Turner:
Omar Quintanilla, SS: The eighth Met to hit in the leadoff spot.
Daniel Murphy, 2B: Has hit safely in 14 of his last 18 games, including nine doubles, two homers and 10 RBI.
David Wright, 3B: Hitting just .189 (7-37) in his last ten games.
Lucas Duda, LF: Has hit in 11 of last 13 games (.308), including game-ending run Tuesday against Mariano Rivera.
John Buck, C: Hitting .350 (14-40) with RISP.
Rick Ankiel, CF: Has two homers and seven RBI in 15 games with Mets.
Marlon Byrd, RF: Has 14 RBI in 19 games in May.
Ike Davis, 1B: Hitting .141 on the road with no homers.
Shaun Marcum, RHP: Coming off 12-strikeout performance in no-decision against Braves.
As always, your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to answer them. Please follow me on Twitter @jdelcos