I know it’s two days ago already and the Mets have already successfully begun their 3-game set at Citi Field vs. the Phillies (with a crisp 8-0 whitewash), but I wanted to chime in on a few observations from the Subway Series. I was in Flushing for games one and two of the set. This was the 14th year that the Mets and Yankees have squared off. From 1997-1999, the two teams played each other only three times per season. From 2000 to the present, the squads have met six times a year. I think since the extra series was added, it began to cheapen the rivalry a bit and it was clear to me this past weekend that the novelty has worn off some.
That being said, the building was sold out for all three games, the first time the Mets have pulled off this feat in 2010 and the increase in energy in the park was certainly tangible. To top it off, the fans were treated to three pretty entertaining games, the rubber game being the most intriguing for sure. Yes it was nice to beat the hated Yanks 2 out of 3 , but the fact that they put two W’s in the win column was much more important than the satisfaction garnered from taking down the Evil Empire. In fact, according to Bob Klapisch on FoxSports.com, the two wins likely saved Jerry Manuel’s job.
In his column from yesterday, Klapisch wrote this:
"Just how close was Manuel to getting fired this weekend? The machinery was at least in the preparatory stages. Bob Melvin, who’s been scouting for the Mets this season, was in attendance at Citi Field all weekend"
I am sure, if the Mets had been swept, Manuel would have found himself out a job. If they had dropped two of three, I think maybe he would have been given the Phillies series to save his butt and then it would have been sayonara Jerry. But to his credit, the Amazins’ continue to play hard for Manuel and show fight every game. During this series, it manifested itself more in the idea that they fought hard to hold off furious Yankee comebacks Saturday and Sunday night. Granted this was a scuffling, injury-plagued Yankees bunch, but beating Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia on consecutive nights was no small feat.
Since more often than not, I focus on the negatives surrounding this team (and there were certainly some negatives in this series), I’m going to take a different tack here and rattle off some of the positives arose from this series.
Jason Bay is scorching hot. His two homers off Sabathia on Sunday topped off a wildly successful 4-game stretch during which Bay went 10-15, with a whopping eight runs scored. He is a noted streaky player and it is clear he is in the midst of one of those blazing runs.
Jose Reyes appears to be emerging from his season-long slump. After missing all of spring training and the first 4 games of the season, it was almost as if Reyes’ first 6 weeks were like his spring training. With tonight’s three-hit explosion against the Phils, Reyes now has multiple hit efforts in 4 of his last 5 games. There have been more numerous instances of “Reyes runs”, including tonight’s first-inning chain of events (single, advance on a sac bunt, stealing third, scoring on a ground ball to shortstop). It goes without saying, as goes Reyes, so goes the Mets offense.
John Maine and Oliver Perez were nowhere to be found in the Mets starting rotation in the three-games vs.the Yanks and that is a damn good thing. If you’ve read any of what I’ve had to say over the past few months, you know how rotten I think those guys are. On Friday, Hisanori Takahashi showed those two mental misfits how a real professional starting pitcher goes about his business. My wish is to never see either of those two take the mound in a starting capacity for the Mets ever again.
So this topsy turvy season continues with Mets once again reaching the .500 mark at 23-23. This time though, due to the extremely positive developments which I outlined above, I am a bit more optimistic this team full of grit and heart (did I really just say that?) is going to stick around for awhile, it appears with Jerry Manuel steering the ship.