Aug 23, 2011; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets pitcher Jon Niese (49) delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Mets “Sweep” Troubles Away With Return of Solid Pitching

Nothing typifies Spring cleaning better than a good sweep.

Over the last three days, the Mets swept away any lingering memories of Jose Reyes and swept his new team, the Miami Marlins, in a three game series.  Meanwhile, the starting rotation swept away any fears things were about to go awry.

It is now safe to say the book on Jose Reyes and his days spent on Roosevelt Avenue is closed.  The fans; most of them anyway; have spoken.  The overwhelming consensus was – Good Riddance.  What saved the night from becoming an absurd display of ill intentioned buffoonery, was perhaps most people’s good sense to play the apathy card and just stay home.  A sparse crowd limited the evening to nothing more than a passing thought a day later.  And perhaps that’s best.

Between the lines, the Mets swept the Marlins this week because Miami’s bullpen rots like hot garbage under the Florida sun.  Well, that’s why Miami lost.  But the reasons why the Mets won were due to a return to form by the starting pitching, and some late game clutch hitting, like that of Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ game winning rbi in game three.  And not incidentally, Kirk continues to make the case why center field is now his position to lose.

The starting pitching indeed continues to be the story of the season so far.  What exactly happened to them during their third time around is now officially an x-file.  And after these last three performances, last week’s starts deserve to be forgotten.

Johan Santana bounced back from a most distressing start his last time out pitching masterfully in Tuesday’s series opener.  In addition to keeping Jose Reyes hit-less and off the bases, he limited the Marlins to three hits, one earned run, and allowed one free pass while striking out eleven during a great early season duel opposing Miami’s Josh Johnson.  Johan cruised to 105 pitches.  Unfortunately, Johan was the recipient of the dreaded no-decision.

R.A. Dickey followed on Wednesday with a seven inning gem in which he struck out seven, while allowing a mere three hits, one earned run, and issued one walk.  Then Jon Niese’s seven inning effort Thursday afternoon completed the sweep over the Marlins.  He allowed four hits and two earned runs, while striking out six batters.

As April is about to expire within a few days, three consecutive starts like these are most significant because all had length in common.  They showed five and six inning starts, are becoming six and seven inning starts now.

The team is now 11-8 on the season.  If you remember at this point last season, they were trolling around Flushing Bay with a dismal 6-13 record.  We all know they went on to play .500 baseball from that point on, even as METropoliS crumbled around them.  So that’s why it’s fun to toy with, and ponder this season’s possibilities.  For now, it’s off to the the Rocky Mountains.

Last note:  Good job by Josh Lewin on the Mets’ radio broadcast for mentioning the Mets fielded an all home grown team Thursday for the first time since September of 1971.

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Tags: Featured Johan Santana Jon Niese Jose Reyes Kirk Nieuwenhuis New York Mets Popular R.A. Dickey