Quite simply put, the Baltimore Orioles are the worst team I’ve seen in major league baseball in a long, long time. That being said, like good teams do, the Mets took care of business and beat the stuffing out of the O’s for their first sweep on the road since 2008.
As we’ve seen with the Yankees all these years, they tend to feast on the bad teams. How many times have we witnessed a superior Yankees squad steamroll the Royals and Orioles and Mariners over the past 5 years? Lots. That is how you make playoff runs and the Mets are presented with another opportunity to fatten up on an inferior opponent when they start a 3-game set in Cleveland tonight.
The Indians are not wretched as the one we just saw in Baltimore, but they are pretty damn awful. Their 25 wins is good (or bad) for the third least in all of MLB. Their best player, Grady Sizemore, recently had surgery to repair his left knee and is lost for the season. The Mets will face a starting pitcher trio of Justin Masterson, Mitch Talbot and Jake Westbrook. All have pitched well of late, with Talbot being pretty solid all year, but those are not the types of arms that really scare the bejesus out of anyone.
Translation: The Mets need to do some more damage the next three nights and head into their weekend clash at Yankee Stadium with a head of steam. Anything less than taking 2 of 3 at the Jake by the Lake would be majorly disappointing. With a pissed off Johan Santana toeing the rubber tonight, looking to forget about his poor outing against San Diego last Thursday (ironically team’s only loss in their last 9 games), I expect the Mets to continue their winning ways.
One might say tomorrow night’s starter Jon Niese is due for a letdown after his one-hit gem, but I say the kid’s just getting revved up. His stuff and command are first class and his emergence in the Mets rotation is maybe the most positive event of the Mets season so far. The other might be the out-of-nowhere success by Thursday’s starter, R.A. Dickey. Who is to say things haven’t just “clicked” for this knuckleballer right before our eyes. Everyone keeps saying the bloom is due to fall off the rose soon for Dickey, but I ain’t buying it. His knuckleball is nasty right now and has the opposition (an Rod Barajas) off balance and flailing all over the place. His ability to give the Mets seven innings each time out and keep them in the game has become a major asset.
What I’m trying to say here is that this team is in the best shape its been in in months, not only so the standings, where they lay 1 1/2 games behind the front-running Braves in the NL East, but also mentally. From all accounts, this is the best clubhouse many veteran Mets beat people have witnessed in some time and the team is brimming with confidence. They are playing their butts off for Jerry Manuel and I think everyone senses that as constituted, they have a legitimate shot to maintain their high level of play and make a playoff run. Adding Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee or a healthy Carlos Beltran sure wouldn’t hurt the cause.
Of course, all of these positive vibes could come crashing down with a few stinkers in Cleveland and a meager effort at Yankee Stadium. This is the New York Mets we’re talking about here, so would anyone really be surprised?