I’m feeling pretty good now that the Mets have swept Atlanta because 1) winning at Turner Field is a rare thing for the Mets, 2) it helps knock the pesky Braves out of the NL East leaving only Philadelphia as a serious contender for the division title, and 3) goes a long way toward making up for the awful, awful five game losing streak — including getting swept in four games by the Phillies — that preceded the Atlanta series.
It’s hard to explain why a season where the Mets have been in first place almost every day and have one of the best records in the NL has been so frustrating and agita-inducing. I’m not one of those fans who’ll settle for nothing less than the Mets steamrolling the opposition, but even I get the feeling they’ve lost a lot more games than they should. The offense seems to be a major culprit seemingly hitting weak grounders and popups every time there are runners are on base. It just feels like there have been a ton of games where the starter pitched brilliantly but the Mets lose because they can only scratch out 2 runs or less. Or the batters smack the heck out of the ball but the Mets lose because the bullpen coughs up the lead. Or the bullpen pitches brilliantly because they’ve been called in for extra duty to relieve a starter who imploded in the early innings. Or all of these things happens at once like in Thursdays 11-10 loss to the Phillies, which Mets loss or not was one of the great, exciting games of the season.
All these things are perceptions, but the truth is that the Mets are a winning team, in first place, and in a very good position to win the division and to continue deep into the postseason. Hey even Pedro is back! Still, I have this feeling that the Mets are equally capable of collapsing in embarrassing fashion as they are likely to hoist the World Series trophy.
I also like the fact that the Mets and Phillies are in a divisional race. These teams should be natural regional rivals akin Red Sox-Yankees or Cubs-Cardinals but have never both been contenders in the same season. Some Mets fans are rooting for the Braves now that they’re playing the Phillies. I disagree. The divisional title is in the Mets hands as long as they keep winning, so they don’t need help from anyone else. Besides I’d like to see the Phillies continue to succeed enough to keep the pressure on the Mets and make for an exciting finish. And if the Phillies win the Wild Card and meet the Mets in the NLCS, that would be an exciting series.