By Brad Carroll
The New York Mets couldn't take control of the New York baseball scene as they wanted to, losing two of three games to the rival New York Yankees this weekend, but the team from Queens is still set up for what should be a promising postseason run the rest of the way. The Mets, after all, already hold a 4.5-game lead over the Braves in the National League East, and with their 11-game win streak in the bank, it would take a big collapse now to finish anywhere near .500 at the end of the year. Sure, it stung to lose the Subway Series, but there's just too many positives for the Mets right now to ruin the momentum they've built.
The Mets take the trip from New York to Miami for a three-game series against the suddenly rolling Marlins starting Monday night. Here is our insider's look at the important divisional series.
New York Mets (14-5, 1st place NL East)
at Miami Marlins (8-11, 3rd place NL East)
Monday, 7:10 p.m.
Dillon Gee (0-1, 5.60) vs. Jarred Cosart (1-1, 3.63)
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.
Rafael Montero (0-1, 4.15) vs. David Phelps (1-0, 3.55)
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.
Bartolo Colon (4-0, 2.77) vs. Mat Latos (0-3, 7.31)
The Mets might be a little down after losing two of three games to the Yankees, but with how this season has played out so far, it's nothing to worry about. The Mets did lose their 11-game win streak and lost a series for just the second time this year, but the record still reads 13-5, good enough to lead the NL East by 4.5 games. There's nothing wrong about winning 12 out of your last 14 games either. So, the Subway Series loss hurts in the ego department, but not much else. Now, if the Mets go out and get swept by the Marlins, then it's a different story. Those Marlins come into this series red-hot, winning five straight games, including a three-game sweep of the Nationals. The five-game win streak answered a five-game losing streak, so Miami would qualify as a streaky team.
Three Mets Storylines
1. We already wrote losing two of three to the Yankees is no big deal in the grand scheme of a long season, but do the Mets players feel the same way? That's an interesting subplot to this series in Miami, as if the Mets take more stock into losing the Subway Series than being 14-5 and first place in the division, then we'll find out a lot about the team's mental state. The Mets don't have to win this series in Miami to prove it, but they can't go on and get swept by a team three games under .500, especially a divisional opponent. The last thing the Mets want is to look back at the Yankees series as something that started a downward spiral.
2. We all knew Matt Harvey had the potential to be special this year, and he has been, with a 4-0 record and 3.04 ERA, but nobody could have guessed Bartolo Colon would be the team's best pitcher almost a full month into the season. Colon is 4-0 with a 2.77 ERA, striking out 23 in 26 innings. He's beaten the Braves twice and the Marlins and Nationals once each. Colon starts the series finale Wednesday night. He might not keep this current pace up all season, but if he's anywhere near as good as he has been, the Mets will be in the playoffs.
3. Manager Terry Collins made a boneheaded decision Saturday to send Harvey back to the mound in the ninth inning to get what would have been a meaningless complete game victory for his ace. First, there is the obvious limits on Harvey this season, with both innings and pitch counts being watched constantly, so sending him out to increase those in a game with no significance other than it's against the Yankees is just plain dumb. Second, is the Yankees part of it. If Collins is trying to stick it to the Yankees, that just screams he and the entire organization has an inferiority complex, something they need to shed immediately. Third, if Collins was talked into it by Harvey himself, it shows how little control he has of the dugout. It's the manager's job to protect his players from themselves, and if this was the case, he failed. Harvey never did get the complete game, as he was taken out with two outs in the ninth, proving again how wrong the decision was in the first place. Collins needs to be a better and smarter leader.
Three Marlins To Know
1. Everybody knows how good Giancarlo Stanton is, but not many might know just how good Adeiny Hechavarria has been for the Marlins. Hechavarria has a nine-game hit streak and is batting .333 for the season with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and 16 RBI. He's third in the NL in RBI and fourth in runs scored with 15. He has 16 hits in his last nine games.
2. Dee Gordon is off to an amazing start as well, hitting .390 with four doubles, a triple and 10 RBI in 19 games. He also has eight steals. Against Washington this past weekend, he was 8-for-13 (.615), including a 4-for-5 game Sunday. For a guy who has absolutely no power, Gordon can still beat you in a variety of ways.
3. Don't look now, but Ichiro Suzuki is back as a starting outfielder and batting over .300 to boot. Suzuki took over in left field after Christian Yelich went on the disabled list, and has at least one hit in each of his six games started since. He's gone 9-for-23 (.391) over that span with five runs scored and an RBI. Suzuki's still a singles hitter, with just a triple and two RBI in 20 games overall.
The Mets return home Thursday to begin a four-game series with the Nationals.