Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nothing like a Broad Street beatdown

No one gives the Mets much of a chance this season. Beat writers, radio hosts, national columnists, you name it. They all think the Mets will be lucky to be .500, or bad enough to finish alongside the Nationals at the bottom of the division. (Seriously.) Jose Reyes will be traded, so will K-Rod — whatever.

It's kind of amazing considering the amount of talent on the roster. Even without Jason Bay, this team should hit, and it is hitting. The bench is much better. The bullpen is revamped. The starting pitching is a question without Johan, but Mike Pelfrey has improved each year, Jonathon Niese is good and has a ton or promise, and R.A. Dickey is R.A. Dickey.

Is it because the fourth and fifth starters are Chris Young and Chris Capuano? Two guys that have won before and are coming off injuries? Is that it?

Well, Young had a terrific spring and on Tuesday night he laid the smack down — for 5 1/3 innings, anyway — on a depleted Phillies team that started the season 3-0 against the less-than-intimidating Astros. Young battled through the wind and the cold, struck out seven and made Ryan Howard look foolish, eliciting a groundout with the bases loaded in a key spot in the bottom of the fifth, when the Phillies had a chance to cut into the Mets' big lead.

The hole was a large one because the Mets once again made Cole Hamels their bitch. Hamels is 2-9 against the Mets in his career, and when you consider the fact that the Mets have had some success in the past against Roy Oswalt, and Joe Blanton is average at best, that's 3/5 of the Phillies' vaunted rotation that doesn't scare anyone in blue and orange.

Sure, Halladay and Lee are HALLADAY AND LEE, but suddenly — no Lidge, no Utley — the Phils have some chinks in the armor. And judging by the first few games, these Mets are ready to shut people up.

David Wright — worth every penny of the $42 I spent on him in my fantasy baseball league — had four hits and Young himself had three. The Mets are getting on base, hitting, moving runners around, playing aggressively. Terry Collins likes to use his bench, keeping those guys sharp. So far, he has managed, paraphrasing Bobby Ojeda, not for approval, but to win.

I heard Joe Benigno say that he would take one of three in Philly. Why stop there? Hamels, as we've seen, can be beaten and the Mets beat him all the time. Blanton? Beatable. Halladay? OK, pencil that one in for the Phils, but these Mets should feel that they can take two games in Philly against a team that is less than full strength.

They're halfway there.

1 comment:

  1. word up. duda's gonna take blanton deep tonight.

    check out my game experience at optimetsic.blogspot.com

    morons abound...