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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tough Road Trip? Maybe not.

I've heard all about this tough seven game road trip the Mets are on. I just don't agree. Surely it's tougher than the upcoming home stand of the Pirates and Nationals, but I'm certainly not scared of the Dodgers or the Padres. Right now the Mets are doing something they haven't quite done lately, tacking on runs late. They are leading 7-0 against the Padres re-evening the all-time series.

One game is not a trend, and they didn't exactly play great on Monday, but I like what I saw tonight. Tomorrow night Maine should pitch a good bounce back game, and Greg Maddux hasn't exactly been lights out against the Mets. 35-19 with a 3.40 ERA is pretty well on pace with his career numbers, but it always seems like the Mets manage to get to him. In the Mets last two good seasons he hasn't pitched well. 2000 finds Maddux with a record of 1-3 against the Mets with a 5.64 ERA, and 2006 finds him 1-2 with a 7.36 ERA. Now the offense hasn't been playing like 2000 or 2006 lately, but I'll take my chances on Maine. I'm actually going to place a wager on the Mets for tomorrow night.

The Mets owe the Dodgers a measure of revenge for the last series they played, so I'm not that worried about them either. I said it before the road trip, and I still feel it; the Mets will come back home with a bigger lead in the division than when they left. When it all comes down to it, the Braves just aren't that good. The Phillies are still reasonably close, but they don't seem to be better than a .500 team anyway.

There is talk about the Mets needing to fall out of first to be 'tested' and get their drive back. I very much disagree with this statement, it's a statement often made by the fan that wants some sort of justification for his pessimistic outlook on the season. Seeing the Braves get close is a test, finding a way to win any given game is a test, trying to get runs in with key hits is a test. By no means is this division over, like I expected it to be by this point. The Mets will figure out away to get through this tough patch, that has lasted a lot longer than anyone expected. In the end though, you can learn a lot by trying and failing. If the Mets only win 93 games this year, and only win the division by a handful of games, but in the process learn anything they can use in the playoffs, I'll take it.

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