After taking 2 of 3 from the Nationals, the Mets were cognizant of the fact that entering into Monday's three game series with the Florida Marlins they were a mere 3 games out of first place. And who else but the visiting Marlins sat alone on top of NL East...
The Chance to Strike was NOW.
Not strike out. Strike.
Although David Wright leads the National League in strikeouts and Carlos Delgado is nursing his 36 year old hip back to health, the Mets were pounding the ball (in succession, nonetheless) and looking quite healthy (excluding, duh, Luis Castillo, who appeared to be in pain, grabbing at his lower back, and stretching it out, after legging out an infield single. He stayed in the game, but did not look comfortable, and was later in pulled in the eighth. SNY reported he had back spasms).
John Maine pitched considerably better than his last start and looked quite Santanesque by giving up one hit, three walks, and a run, while striking out six in 6 innings. Even K-Rod came to the mound and flaunted his stuff (just in case you had forgotten that he was even on the team).
Continuing in our praises, let's give a kudos to SNY. When Omar Santos hit his first major league home run (A.K.A. - tack another four runs up on the board) the camera immediately zoomed in on the one player a Mets' fan wanted to see. Ironically, this is the same player that might lose his job if Santos, indeed, hits the way he did in the first inning. Did you guess who by now? Ramon Fatstro. Ramon, who don't get me wrong - I happen to like, has been looking quite sluggish (ease up on the nachos, Papi) and has been - as Dave on the Cell Phone noted - known to make some pitchers feel and look not like their usual selves. It was almost as if Billy Wagner told Castro before every 9th inning: "Catch me, IF YOU CAN." It will be interesting to see what happens once Brian Schneider returns from the DL.
On a lighter note, any Mets' fan who (after going to my blog for analysis on tonight's game) went to Mets.com merited to see an interesting link on the screen. But before I tell you what the link actually said, let's remember who the Marlins' starting pitcher was tonight: Anibel Sanchez. So with that in mind, any literate fan was able to clearly read, "Sanchez tosses the first pitch." One understands that this is the first time the Marlins have come to Citi Field and that the Mets and SNY will do just about anything to give a shout-out to another "first" occurence at the new ballpark, but "Sanchez's first pitch"? Isn't that pushing the "first" envelope a bit?
Ah, it pays to be a Jet fan. Or not.
Silly me. Of course. Why would I think that on the Mets homepage the word "Sanchez" would be referring to the opposing team's starting pitcher and not the 5th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft? Tisk Tisk, Eli.
Say it as you wish, the Mets put the game away and early they did. It was pleasant to see a nice pitching performance, a fine display of hitting (you go, Gary), and all around good baseball.
Don't look now but with just 2 more wins, even the most pessimistic of Met fans will believe that September is going to bring good tidings.
And that's because it will.