Cautious optimism

Posted: April 27, 2011 in Mets

It’s funny what a little winning will do for you as a fan.
Last week, the Mets looked about as bad as a team could look, dropping to a league-worst 5-13 after dropping 12 of 14 contests.
Now on a five-game winning streak following tonight’s 6-4 win over the Washington Nationals, the Mets are now 10-13 and threatening to climb out of the NL East cellar.
But let’s not get crazy here. The wins have come against subpar teams (1 against Houston, 3 against Arizona and tonight’s win over the Nats). None of those teams is over .500, but the Mets were losing to these very teams during the cold spell, so I’ll take it.
The team’s winning streak has coincided with the return of Jason Bay to the lineup. Bay’s return lengthens the Mets’ lineup, as the hot-hitting Ike Davis is now batting sixth with ample RBI opportunities hitting behind David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Bay. So far, so good on Beltran’s knees holding up, as he’s playing well and showing no ill effects from his injuries. The Mets will need a healthy Beltran if it hopes to climb into wild card contention this year.
Daniel Murphy has basically taken the second base job and run with it, collecting two more hits tonight as the team’s new No. 2 hitter. I love Murph, and his line-drive bat is a big improvement over the early experiment of Rule 5 draftee Brad Emaus, who has since been cut.
The Mets’ bullpen has also improved of late, and I like how this regime is taking charge with roster moves. If a guy isn’t cutting it (like Emaus), Sandy Alderson is getting them off the roster quickly. It would take Omar Minaya weeks if not months to admit a roster mistake, and even then, he would find a way to botch the simplest of roster moves. A notorious Omar move would be to carry an injured player on the roster for a week before finally deciding to put him on the DL, thus making the team work a man down for a week. Alderson doesn’t do that. Angel Pagan tweaks his oblique, bam, he’s on the DL the next day. Bobby Parnell has a circulation problem in one of his fingers, he’s gone the next day as well. It’s little things like this that have me believing Alderson and his staff will have the Mets contending again sometime soon (can’t wait to see what these guys do with the draft in June).
I’m not ready to say the Mets will contend this year. The Phillies are the class of the division, and the Mets have way too many question marks to make you believe they can make the playoffs this year. However, they may not be the dregs of the league, either. I’m hoping to at least see a summer of competitive baseball with an eye on a hopeful future. The Mets’ minor leagues has more talent than its had in years, and I’d imagine this year’s draft will provide another influx of talent to make the system that much deeper.
Things might not be so bad in Metsland, after all.


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