With a lopsided victory Tuesday night over the defending division champs, the New York Mets have officially hit the season’s midway point in style. The team now sits seven games over .500 (44-37) in sole possession of second place in the NL East, just 3 1/2 games behind the upstart Washington Nationals.
While most of the pundits picked the Phils to win the division back before the season started, it’s clear that 2012 is not going to be a repeat of how things played out in 2011. A quick look at where things stood just a year ago today is all you need to look at to see how quickly things have flipped within the division.
The difference a year makes is evident, but for the Mets, it seems like things tend to turnaround on an almost daily basis. After a disappointing end to the Dodgers series, in which New York committed three errors, Jonathon Niese’s strong effort on Tuesday (8 IP, 1 ER, 3 hits, 3K) helped get the team and its fans right back on track.
The eight innings were a season high for Niese who won his third straight start and the lefty has now come out with a ‘W’ in five of his last six decisions. The 25-year-old has posted a 2.17 ERA over his last eight outings, dating back to May 23, and lowered his season earned run average to an impressive 3.35.
With just five games standing between New York and the All-Star break it will be exciting to see just how much momentum they can build up before getting a few well deserved days off. The Mets will need to come out of the break ready to play as they travel to Atlanta for three games and then head to Washington for a series that may very well have a division lead on the line. Yes, I’m getting ahead of myself, but it’s easy to do when the team drops 11 runs on the Phillies and Niese pitches like one of the better young lefties in the NL. Still, it’s not out of the question that when the Mets and Nats play in their July 16-19 series that New York will have a chance to leave Washington atop the NL East………and that’s a bit of optimism I can get on board with. LGM!
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