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First Half Finale: Mets Take on Braves for First Place

The Mets have given us a great first half.  They’ve risen to every challenge they’ve faced this year and have shown us some serious chemistry, character, and toughness.

David Wright shook off his strikeout problem and emerged an MLB leader in RBI.

The team adjusted to power-killing Citi Field by becoming a lineup of solid contact hitters who are willing and able to drive run-scoring singles and doubles into the gaps to earn their wins.

They’ve overcome their problem winning series on the road, where it’s speculated they were trying to make up their power numbers in more hitter-friendly parks. They simply resorted to their Citi Field approach to hitting and beat teams on the road with endless doubles.

Their call-ups and rookies have all risen to the occasion and are a major part of the new chemistry and feel of this 2010 Mets team. It’s a new team—one that doesn’t remember the collapses of ’07, ’08, and ’09. It remembers the confidence it has in itself to get back into any ball game.

This weekend’s three-game series against the Braves with first place on the table is the last and most exciting challenge this new Mets team will face in the first half. The 2010 Mets have met every challenge they’ve faced so far, and there have been plenty.

I couldn’t be more excited about a series on July 9 than I am about this one. They’re going to put it all together this weekend and end the first half strong…very strong. Let’s go Mets.

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The Good and Bad of Carlos Beltran’s Return To the New York Mets

The Mets are red hot.  

They are a different team, with new players that believe in themselves and each other, and this chemistry makes them a very tough club to beat.  

How will Carlos Beltran’s return effect this new Mets team?

First, how long do you think it will take Beltran to get back into form, and will he be able to hit Major League pitching for average and power?  I think it could be over a month away for him to return as a starter.  

Think about how long it took Jose Reyes to get his timing back.

Then, how do you think Beltran’s rehabilitation period in center field will affect this thriving Mets ball club?  Unless you think he’ll somehow be able to get hot right away, it’s a negative for the team.

As well, how will Beltran’s return affect the chemistry of the club?  You have to hope and believe that Pagan will take the majority of Francouer’s starts when Beltran returns to center.  Pagan’s production is simply too valuable to lose.  It would crush this team.

But what will the impact be of losing Francouer?  

Isn’t Jeff the guy on this team who’s carried the club through the tough times in terms of morale?  How do the players feel about him as a teammate?  What will the impact be of seeing him sit on the bench and lose his place on the team?  Fernando Tatis has said not being part of the action this year has been the hardest moment in his career.

I have no idea what’s going to happen and I’m really interested in what your opinions are, but I can say this: The Mets lineup, as it stands now, rocks the house.  They haven’t played with this much confidence in their ability to win as a team in… I don’t even know how long.

I ask you.  How does this Mets club compare to the 2006-2008 teams?  

This current lineup strings hits up and down the ladder.  They’re playing with passion and confidence.  Success is spread out through out this team, and you get the impression that they are having an all out blast, and love the club they play for.

The question remains:  How long will it take Beltran to return to form?  And how will his return affect this winning baseball team?

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Is Citi Field Making Better Hitters of the Mets?

It’s obvious that the Mets are on a hot streak hitting.  

They scored over 30 runs in a three game series with Cleveland, and last night they put together eight runs in the third inning of a 14 run game.

The Mets have demonstrated all year that they had adjusted offensively to homerun proof Citi Field by becoming contact hitters.  

Their trouble winning on the road was attributed by Jerry Manuel to the teams looking to hit homeruns in parks that are more power friendly.  They overcame this challenge last week taking their first two series on the road.  In one game they hit four back-to-back doubles.

Hypothetically, what happens to Major League talent when they are forced to eliminate the homerun from their game in their home stadium? 

They become contact hitters.  It’s a different skill.  It’s the type of hitting they did in the beginning of the game.

I will be interested in watching to see what happens with this team offensively.  I am not saying that Wright, Bay, Davis, and Barajas aren’t going to hit homeruns.  I am simply wondering if the confines of Citi Field have refocused them (except Barajas) in a way that will make them better hitters in terms of getting on base and RBIs.

Just a thought.

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John Maine or Hisanori Takahashi In New York Mets Rotation?

Since John Maine left the rotation for the DL, the Mets have led the league in wins, going 19-5. Why? The rotation leads the league during the same stretch of time with the lowest earned run average.

With John Maine coming back from the DL soon, everyone is wondering whether Jerry Manuel will leave Takahashi in the rotation and ask Maine to go into the bullpen, or the reverse.

Maine has given the team only one win in nine starts while Takahashi has given us three wins in six starts, including holding the Yankees to zero runs in two of these starts. More than that, he is now part of a rotation dominating the league.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  Or in other terms, play the hot hand. What bothers me is I know Manuel doesn’t play the hot hand. In fact, he often plays the cold one.

Put Maine in the bullpen. If Takahashi tires, or ceases to perform as expected, then switch them. Otherwise, it’s like putting a flat tire on a car that’s been winning all its races.

And as for Ollie Perez.  I think his being Designated For Assignment (let go) should be seriously considered.  There really shouldn’t be any worry that he will become productive on another club.  He won’t.

Takahashi will give more to this team providing starting pitching like tonight than he will in the bullpen. We have a rotation that gives the team a chance to win every night. Let Maine contribute to the team from the bullpen for now.

What do you think?

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