Yes. There are many reasons I am optimistic on this fine Friday. It's not just because I managed to lose no money in poker last night, but because good things are happening.
The Marlins acquired Billy Koch Thursday night in a attempt not to be out done by the Mets big deal. These deals are similar in that both teams got under performing players that are hoped to return to their former glory with a change of scenery. Koch this year has a 5.40. He walks a lot of guys and surrendered more hits than innings pitched. Between hits and walks he has allowed 40 baserunners in 23.1 innings. This can only mean positive things for the Mets. The fish now have two pitchers who tend to melt down under pressure. While Koch has stuff, it is not what it used to be. He used to get the ball into the high 90's but now has a pedestrian 91-93 mph heater with little movement. In my opinion, the Marlins pen will be their achilles heel. Looper and Uggie were a better combo than Koch and Benitez will be. I hope the Marlins fans have more patience than Met fans because they will need it.
Some other reasons for optimism are that the Mets took two out of three games, and have a shot to sweep the Tigers. The Mets throw out Glavine, Leiter, and Trachsel. The average ERA for the Detroit starting pitchers this weekend is 4.98. The average ERA for the Mets starting pitching is 2.55. I do not know about you, but I like them odds.
Kaz is hitting the ball more regularly and striking out less. He is now batting .266 and I think he will make a run to about .280 and sit around there for the rest of the season, which is fine by me.
Mike Cameron is actually hitting the ball a lot better. He hit his first homerun sine May 10th and is making much better contact with the ball.
Jose Reyes actually looks like he is going to make an appearance this season. Although I believe he needs another series for two to get in to the swing of things, he will most likely be back this weekend. Either way, it will be a refreshing site to see him manning second base and in the dugout not as a visitor.
The lineup is actually going to be very concrete and Howe will be able to stop fiddling around.
I personally like Reyes in the two hole, but Kaz will be coddled and protected since he puts better numbers up out of the two hole. However, Reyes hits MUCH better out of the two hole as dictated by his .362 average in that spot in '03 in 141 at-bats. On top of that, Reyes should be protected a bit more by having Piazza behind him for a while until he gets on track.
Jae Seo has looked sharp in his last nine games except for one game against the Royals and one game against the Cardinals. He is getting to be a dependable pitcher who is keeping the Mets in the game just about every time he takes the mound. Oh, and the best news of all, Seo just handed Erickson his walking papers with that last game. Despite Wilpon's secret desire to give Erickson the ball every 5th for the Mets, it is looking pretty good for Seo.
Howe will be forced to use Order Moreno in tight situations with the departure of David Weathers. That will be a large benefit to the Mets squad since he is more than capable of handling that role.
David Wright is at AAA and looking pretty good so far.
Prentice Redman is at AAA and looking pretty good so far.
There is still a lot of baseball to be played, and the NL East is wide open. The Mets team just started to take shape and still have some bullets in the holster. Wright can possibly help the team this year and be very effective and Strickland is due back and should have a sizeable impact. My suggestion to the Mets is get Wiggie some games in at first so when/if Wright does come up, there is an option to play him there when Piazza catches.
I will be in attendance for tonights game to celebrate Mike's crowning achievemnt. If anyone else will be there, I will be the guy drinking beer with a mets koozie on it while eating a hot dog.