The Mets at (Almost) 20

METS-LOGO-1When everyone was saying it was imperative that the Mets get off to a fast start, Jerry Manuel downplayed that, saying “let’s see where we are after 20 games.” Well, if it weren’t for Monday’s rainout, we’d be at 20 games right now. Win or lose the first game the doubleheader with the Dodgers, the Mets will be either 10-10 or 11-9 after 20 games — pretty much the same.

And pretty much a .500 team. Who thought we’d be saying that as recently as a week ago? They were 4-8, and struggling in all facets of the game. But after a 6-1 run in which the offense picked it up, but still not running on all cylinders, and the pitching looked great, the Mets are back in the thick of things.

Ike Davis’ call-up and Jose Reyes being moved to third in the batting order played  major roles in the mini-resurgence. This was the lineup before the moves:

Reyes
Castillo
Wright
Jacobs
Bay
Francoeur
Pagan
Barajas
Pitcher

Not a particularly threatening lineup, especially with 3-4-5 not hitting. This is the current lineup:

Pagan
Castillo
Reyes
Bay
Wright
Davis
Francoeur
Barajas
Pitcher

Pagan is much better utilized in this lineup, as is Reyes’ power. Bay is seeing more fastballs with Reyes on base, and it is helping Bay break out of his slump. Wright is still struggling, as is Francoeur lately, but having Davis in the middle adds another threat that wasn’t there before. When everyone starts hitting like they should, there are no easy outs in this lineup.

*Apr 25 - 00:05*The starting pitching has been a pleasant surprise. Johan Santana is pitching like Johan Santana, so no surprise there. But Mike Pelfrey?! Where did that come from? He looks so much more confident on the mound. Jon Niese has been good. Oliver Perez hasn’t been awful. Only John Maine is stinking up the joint — not bad considering four of the five starters were question marks.

The bullpen has been excellent. But it is already overworked after 19 games. The starters need to regularly pitch at least seven innings to give the bullpen some rest. If not, it’s going to be another ugly September.

So at Manuel’s almost 20 games point, the Mets are not in terrible shape. There are still improvements to be made, but overall, things are okay. Things could be far worse — we saw that over the first 12 games. We don’t want to see it again.

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