Turning a Corner?
I’m afraid to say it, because the last few “signals” were bluffs, but …
… are the Mets finally turning the corner?
The immediate response to “The Meeting” between the Wilpons and Willie Randolph was a lifeless, lackluster loss to the Marlins — after gaining a 3-2 lead, no less. Since that game, however, it’s as if a new set of individuals has put on the orange and blue uniforms. Or, rather, the individuals have exited, and the team has formed.
For the past week, the Mets have played with obvious spirit and fire. They have played fairly sound baseball, save for a few physical errors. They have worked the count as a team for the first time in a year. The struggling veterans are being benched in favor of anxious, hustling reserves. Those same veterans are working with the hitting coach on improving their performances. The bullpen has been spotless, except for five unfortunate minutes of an Aaron Heilman appearance. Bunts are being placed. Runners are stealing and taking extra bases. Come-from-behind wins have become routine, rather than a rarity. For the first time all year, it is the Mets jumping ahead of, and burying, an opponent early on in the game.
Willie Randolph is smiling, and joking around.
A week ago, there was tension, and from my perspective, frustration in watching the Marlins, the Braves, and the Phillies all pass by the Mets in the standings. I’d see the scoreboard and mentally calculate the space between them and the Mets, who were spiraling downward. Today, though, I don’t care at all about anyone other than the Mets. It doesn’t matter — right now — their place in the standings. I’m watching the Mets and enjoying myself, and getting fully “caught up in the moment”. I’m focused on the Mets and the Mets only because I know if they continue to play the way they’re playing, it’ll “all come out in the wash”.
But for a moment, let’s crawl out of our microcosm — Metsocosm? — and look at the schedule ahead.
Right now, the Mets have momentum, and are going into a three-game series with the Giants followed by a four-game set in San Diego. Those two clubs are struggling mightily, and fighting each other to stay above the Rockies, who are in the cellar. In other words, there couldn’t be a more opportune time for the Mets to turn around their season and make up for the first two months of the season.
That’s not to say the Mets can just show up in San Francisco and San Diego and expect those teams to roll over — quite the contrary. If they can keep up the energy and the consistent execution they displayed over the last six days, they could come home looking down at the rest of the NL East, instead of up at them.
Let’s hope Oliver Perez and not Mr. Hyde shows up tonight, and keep that momentum going for Pedro’s first start since the cruel joke played on him on April Fools’ Day.
That light at the end of the tunnel is starting to become visible.