There was one thing about the 2006 season that made the Mets' loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS somewhat unsurprising.
No less disappointing...but almost as though, in retrospect, you could see 'it' coming.
The 'it', though, would have been a loss to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, rather than an NLCS Game 7 loss to the Cardinals.
And the 'it' was the fact that the Mets were beatable...nowhere more on display than during their interleague series with the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
That was the last time the Mets were at Fenway, and of course, all things considered, the season was pretty successful after the Mets were swept in an ugly three-game series in Boston. (Relatively, successful, when compared with 2007 and 2008, I guess.)
The Mets' struggles were personified in that series by Lastings Milledge, who looked lost in left field, clueless as to how to play the Green Monster.
I was at the first of those three games, and looking back, I had forgotten that it was started by Alay Soler. So the Mets' starting pitching is somewhat comparable to those days...although, I guess Livan Hernandez is a better bet than Soler.
But the point is that the past two days have been encouraging. It shows that the Mets can hang with the big boys...and the fact that they're doing it undermanned is even more encouraging.
The Mets won with Johan Santana on the mound Friday night...you hope that happens each time he takes the mound. Mike Pelfrey was in his top form on Saturday, and you hope he looks like that if the Mets are fortunate to make it into October...I'll take 2 first inning runs if he settles down like he did on Saturday - that's how he was when he was at his best beginning last July and lasting for the rest of the season. But all of what has happened so far has been without Jose Reyes or Carlos Delgado in the lineup, without Carlos Beltran in center field (he's been DH), and with the likes of Omir Santos making huge contributions.
And today features Tim Redding against Tim Wakefield. Wakefield has been strong so far this season, but the knuckleball is always dicey, so he could be hittable, and anything positive the Mets get out of Redding is huge.
But even more huge would be a sweep in Boston. It'll wipe the struggles in Los Angeles right from the slate...and give these Mets something that the 2006 team didn't have - the confidence they can hang with the best.
RANDOM STAT: I've been holding onto this one, hoping it continues...but running my baseball pool allows me to keep track of random things - like the fact that until yesterday, Detroit hadn't lost on a Saturday or Sunday all season. I'm sad that ended yesterday....but they're still 12-1 on Saturdays and Sundays.
CHECKING IN WITH THE DUCKS
It's been a while since we checked in with Hall of Famer Gary Carter's Long Island Ducks:
The Ducks have lost 7 of their last 10, and stand at 14-13, 2-and-a-half games behind Southern Maryland, in third place in their division. Some guy named Ray Navarrette, who plays third base, leads the team with 6 homers and 19 RBI. He also leads the team with 7 errors, but I guess with how he's been hitting, you keep him in the lineup.
We'll keep you posted.