Something to Prove
"I absolutely think the Mets are still looking over their shoulders at us," Marcus Giles, the Braves second baseman, said yesterday. "They know what our track record is. And if we do what we have to do this weekend, they'll be looking even harder over their shoulders. They know where we are."
The Mets are on pace for 96 wins at this point in the season. Out of the 45 seasons they have been in existence, they have won 100 games only three times as their cross-town rivals have won 100 games three out of the last four years. The Mets might seem like they are in cruise control, but those smug fuckers (aka the Braves) are out there thinking they have a chance.
"I still don't think any of us are consumed with the wild card," Francoeur said. "We still think we can win the division. We're, what, 12 out now? If we sweep and we get that lead under double-figures ..." His smile finished the sentence.
Pedro Martinez is back and that cannot be taken for granted. They still have pitching problems, but this guy is the lifeblood of this team. When he goes out there, best stuff of not, the guy is amazing. He pumps up the Mets and he pumps up the fans. As off as Pedro has been, he still has a .202 BAA and a 1.00 WHIP. His K/9 is actually up from last year and he is still a certifiable ace no matter which way you look at it.
The Mets goal for the rest of the season should be to burry the Braves and top the century mark in wins. The Mets are facing three good pitchers this weekend, but it is imperative they march into Turner Field where they are 22-52 overall all time (22-55 if you include the playoffs) and keep the pressure on. The Mets seemingly have nothing to play for and could cruise into October, but they do have things to play for. They can silence the Braves and their fans and get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. 100 wins would just about guarantee them home field advantage this year and Shea in October could be scary for visiting teams with 55,000+ maniacs foaming at the mouth.
Jack (NYC, NY): After 17 scoreless innings, is Maine the real deal or do we need to trade for Zito now? I'll trade for Willis but I'm not so sure about 2 month rental Zito.
SportsNation Rob Neyer: If you're the Mets, you have to worry a bit about your No. 4 starter in October. But I think Maine or Hernandez will be good enough, and if I were them I wouldn't do a thing to the rotation.
I think they will be good enough for the fourth spot too...now about that third spot....
Jake (VA Beach): Rob, why wouldn't you make the move for Zito if Billy Beane is truthful in only needing Milledge in return? Aren't OF prospects the easiest to replace, and the Mets are one of the few teams who can afford to make sure it's more than a rental at season's end.
SportsNation Rob Neyer: Because the Mets have a huge lead, and giving up Milledge isn't worth the tiny increase in your World Series chances that Zito would give you. Now, it's different if trading for Zito gives you a great increased chance at signing him to a long-term contract. This is complicated stuff, huh.
Jake, is that you?
David (Michigan): Rob, the top 3 ERA leaders in MLB are Francisco Liriano, Josh Johnson, and Justin Verlander. How amazing is it that the top 3 leaders in the big leagues are rookies?
SportsNation Rob Neyer: Umm, pretty amazing. I've been waiting to see, or conduct, a comprehensive study of this rookie class (for one thing, it's complicated, trying to figure who the "rookies" were in a particular season). But I think it's safe to say that the top three guys in ERA haven't been rookies since 1901.
There is some serious young talent in this league right now like we have not seen in a long, long time. This is a great time to be a baseball fan.
Max (NYC): About Giambi: 1) He's not gonna hit 700 HR - 2) He stunk after he supposedly stopped using roids (.208 BA) and 3) he's presumably started playing well again roid free - we as a country love 2nd chance stories, whereas we're eager to crush people's "easy" success?
SportsNation Rob Neyer: Right. 'roid free. That's a good one.
Steve (CT): Who is the best-all around player in baseball?
SportsNation Rob Neyer: Carlos Beltran.
I knew I liked you.
Old Atlanta teammate Tom Glavine, now with the playoff-bound Mets, has been lobbying to get Maddux in New York, and maybe Maddux has changed his mind about pitching there if he could be in a pennant race with his good friend.