Mets: Strong start was exactly what they needed

By Michael Lecolant

I subscribe to an old saying that you can not win pennants in April, but you can certainly lose them.

In their second meeting of the young season, the Mets atoned for their only series loss Thursday afternoon with a 6-3 victory, and three-game sweep over the Atlanta Braves. The division leading Mets now own a 4.5 game edge over the second place Braves.

The Mets’ schedule will remain division intensive through May 10. After this weekend’s Subway Series interruption against the Yankees, the Mets will resume their second go-around against the N.L. East with 10 more games, highlighted by another big four-game series against Washington.

The Mets presently own a six game lead over the third place Nationals, thanks in part to winning this season’s opening series in Washington. After posting a 4-15 record against the Nationals last season, this year’s head-to-head matchup already promises to be a more tightly contested affair.

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Had the Mets been losing many more of their early season games, an argument could have been made for mounting injuries taking their toll. Instead, the players, manager, general manager, and fans have been steadfast in their belief the team can absorb these injuries so early in the season and still remain competitive.

Despite season-ending surgery being required for Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin, lingering injuries to Bobby Parnell and Vic Black, and the latest transient injuries to David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, and Jerry Blevins, the team’s performance, and those of some key individual players have supported that overwhelming notion.

Thursday’s victory over the Braves extended the Mets’ winning streak to 11 games, which ties a franchise record. They are still undefeated (10-0) at Citi Field, which makes them one of only seven teams in modern MLB history to go undefeated in a home stand of at least 10 games. Moreover, the victory improved their record to an MLB leading 13-3, which additionally ties their franchise record for best start to a season.

Most importantly, this success came against their division.

There are still over five months left in the season. Outside of Wheeler and Edgin, the Mets could potentially be fully staffed again by the first day of summer, which at this juncture in April has become a very manageable situation.

I fully expect a losing steak in the near future to somewhat offset this recent success, because that is the nature of baseball. Good teams, however, minimize the damage, and the Mets’ pitching staff is well equipped with more than one so called stopper – the starting pitcher whom stops losing streaks before they become problematic.

Strong starts fertilize seasons with abundant possibility and opportunity. Of course, at this early stage of the season, the Mets are merely one small step ahead of the competition, nothing more. But, an early lead nevertheless earns you the high ground.

The Mets have seven games remaining in April.

Here’s to a continuing great first month of baseball.