While the Yankees pick through the burned wreckage of their season, looking for anything that might have survived the cataclysm ("look guys, this Chien-Ming Wang is hardly even singed!"), the Mets are just plain rolling, recent losses to the Braves aside. Honestly, everyone could sense the reversals of fortune coming last year -- the Mets' season felt triumphant, despite the painful Game 7 loss, while the Yankees' ended on a dispiriting note that made their strong regular season feel like an afterthought. But I certainly didn't think the divergence would be this extreme.
A surprising number of things that have already gone wrong for the Mets: Delgado and Wright are both only now starting to come out of massive slumps; one of their hottest hitters, Moises Alou, hurt his quad and has missed two weeks; "Stache" Valentin went down early on with a bad knee; El Duque missed a month with yet another ailment you wouldn't expect to find in anyone under 60 (what's next, glaucoma?); promising and Flash-fast minor league call-up Carlos Gomez hurt his hamstring; Shawn Green, in the midst of his most productive season in years, broke a bone in his foot; Damian Easley started in left field yesterday for the first time in his major-league career... and the team is four games up on the Braves -- at 32-17, two games ahead of last year's pace. I mean, Mike Pelfrey was a bust in the big leagues, but the Mets absorbed all his losses with a lot more equanimity than my fantasy team did.
Imagine what they'll be like if they get even a decently healthy Pedro Martinez back? He's already predicting his velocity will be back in the mid-90s, and taking pot shots at Roger Clemens. Damn, I have to admit -- I've missed that crazy kid.
A somewhat less crazy kid will start for the Mets tomorrow in the form of Oliver Perez, who is shaping up to be, with John Maine, one of the biggest steals in baseball over the last two years; Omar Minaya is velvety smooth. Perez will face the Giants' wunderkind Tim Lincecum, and -- ha, look at Tim Lincecum!:
Awwww! Okay, okay, I know he's got a ton of talent, and he's been very impressive in the big leagues so far. He'll be a tough opponent for the Mets. I have no problem at all taking him seriously... and hey, after the game, do you think Bruce Bochy will take him out for ice cream?
Oh, and by the way, lest anyone think I was overly harsh on Yankee fans in my last post, please do join me in offering up a hearty "suck it, Orlando Cabrera". I'm sorry -- was that mean? Hey, it probably is true that Yankee fans are bad losers, but the day New York crowds are uniformly polite and respectful of opposing players is the day I might as well pack it in and move to Nebraska or someplace. Look, it's nothing personal, Orlando. We only insult your mother because we care.