The Mets’ zero-sum games

It hasn’t happened in the Majors in six years and hasn’t been done by the Mets since September 1969, but it was completed tonight: A three-game shutout sweep. Amazing.

In some ways, I was as nervous heading to the ninth as I get during no-hit bids going into the final inning (or, if it’s a no-hit bid by a Met, into the seventh or eighth). This wouldn’t just be a sweep, but a resounding one, shutting out one of the best offenses in baseball (they are at home, at least) for three straight games. This series could turn out to be not just a statement (it already is) but a springboard. I’m still not sure exactly what this team has — if it has enough to reach the playoffs — but if it can play with this kind of confidence, energy, attitude and pitching (especially the pitching), it can make the NL East race very interesting (and hopefully not ultimately heartbreaking).
I think these Mets are starting to play to their ballpark. If Jose Reyes can get on base and use his speed, if Luis Castillo can make contact to move runners over (though, as Keith Hernandez has said on air, I’d like to see more hit-and-run calls than straight sacrifice bunts), if Jason Bay, Ike Davis and David Wright can drive them in with doubles (and a few home runs), and if the bottom of the order can provide opportunistic base hits, they can win a lot of games without a 30-homer hitter.
But none of it will matter if they can’t keep it up on the road. Now they’re off to Milwaukee for three and San Diego for three, the first road trip since the 2-6 swing through Miami, Atlanta and Washington that had Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya at Turner Field and the buzzards circling Jerry Manuel’s office. In the past two seasons, the Mets are 5-9 in those cities, and three of those wins came in a sweep at Miller Park in ’08. Otherwise, 1-2 at Miller and 1-3 and 0-4 at Petco.
Let’s see where this trip takes them. A 4-2 swing has to be the benchmark for this feel-good feeling to last. Anything less, and it’s back to wondering.

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