Memorial Day is one of those points in a baseball season that many analysts tout as the beginning of summer and the first real point to perform a real evaluation of a team. Â Today is Memorial Day, and the Mets are playing an extremely late night game in San Diego. They sit at just one game above .500 on the season, albeit right in the playoff hunt.
There are quite a few things for the Mets to adjust right now, many of them almost a given to make the team better. Â I’ve discussed some of them here, and at Optimistic Mets Fan, and on Twitter. Â Gary Matthews Jr. no longer has a place on this team. Â The manager is a disaster. Â Certain bullpen members are overworked. Â The team has no obvious plan regarding what to do with Oliver Perez. Â David Wright’s swing seems fairly screwed up. Â Luis Castillo has a bone bruise that may or may not require some extended rest. Â Jeff Francoeur may or may not be capable of being a major league player, particularly against right-handed pitchers. Â There is always the Jennry Mejia situation.
Still, the Mets are in a good position. Â They’ve learned a lot about some relievers, some starters. They’ve learned which bench guys are most trustworthy for what roles, who’s having a good year, who’s struggling, and what attitude this team goes into games with. Â They’ve learned Reyes is going to be just fine.
Reyes, the guy whose success supposedly most closely dictates the Mets success is going to be just fine. Â He got off to an awfully slow start off the ’09 injury and the thyroid issue of Spring Training. Â As we round out May, Jose Reyes has raised his batting average to .257. Â He is hitting .500 over the last seven days with a 1.343 OPS. Â Over the last two weeks he’s hitting .358 with a .902 OPS, 5 XBH, and 9 runs scored. Â The only thing he’s not doing is walking, only drawing one unintentional walk over the last two weeks, but when you’re seeing the ball as well as he is you want to make things happen, not necessary take walks.
Another big cause for optimism is Angel Pagan. Â While the news on Beltran has not gotten better all season, his replacement is performing great. Â There was a post put out recently that shows Angel Pagan as one of the top handful of players in the league according to WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Â While the Mets need Carlos Beltran back, Angel Pagan is helping to make sure the Mets are in contention when he does return. Â He’s hitting .295 with 29 runs scored, 22 RBIs and 9 stolen bases.
Last week the Mets dominated the supposedly top of the line offense of the Philadelphia Phillies, shutting them out in three straight games. Â The Mets pitching has been very good for a while now, excepting the reliever-as-starter patchwork game on Saturday when Fernando Nieve, one of those overworked relievers, made a start in Milwaukee.
The Mets are only 2.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves, who are winning 6-0 over the Phillies right now to take over first place. Â This is definitely in the division race, and now that Jose Reyes and Jason Bay have overcome early season slumps, and the pitching, especially Pelfrey and Santana, has been so good, it’s unlikely the Mets will sustain any long losing streaks, and can begin to make up ground and stay at or around first place. Â The recent play of the Phillies has helped suggest that they will live and die with their offense, and that their offense will struggle. Â I don’t think they’ll get as high as the 93 wins they had last year, which means the division will remain attainable for the Mets the entire season if they play well.