NL East Update: Mets Charge Into First

Following an impressive 9-1 home stand against Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles, the Mets have somehow climbed their way up to first place. Mets Blog offers a logical solution to New York’s surprising turnaround.

It makes perfect sense, I mean the Mets had a full “Not Top 10″ of all their blunders on ESPN last year…and that only was at the All-Star Break. Dropping fly balls, base running mistakes, and not knowing what to do in certain situations were only a few of the several issues that contributed to last years poor play. But during this past home stand it wasn’t the Mets making bone head plays, it was their opponents, and most importantly New York took advantage of the mistakes. Perhaps all the injuries to the team did contribute heavily to the poor play. There was no consistency with the lineup as players were being shuffled in and out of positions; it got to the point where I’m sure David Wright didn’t even know who he was throwing to at first base. With Reyes back and the promotion of Ike Davis, the Mets finally have an everyday infield with players at their natural born positions. If they keep putting out this same lineup everyday, who knows…maybe the Mets are for real.

Marlin Maniac profiles left handed reliever Renyel Pintos 5 year tenure with Florida and comes to a “shocking” conclusion.

These days, it is rare that a reliever sticks with one team for at least a five year time period, but that is exactly what Pinto has done. His arm “sweeps” through in his delivery making it

nearly impossible to predict where his next pitch will go, but in my mind, that is exactly what a left handed reliever is supposed to do. Being “effectively ineffective” is what makes left handed relievers so valuable to teams because they are so unpredictable and the hitter doesn’t know what will come next. The Mets’ Pedro Feliciano is very good at this, and with a very similar delivery to Pintos, hitters are always finding themselves chasing balls way out of the strike zone. Unlike Feliciano, Pinto can throw gas which makes him that much more valuable, the problem is when hitters aren’t biting, it could make for a long inning…

After spending a majority of the off-season trying to trade Derek Lowe, Talking Chop fantasizes the possibility of exchanging Lowe for former Brave, Javier Vazquez.

Just like in 2004, Vazquez is struggling in pinstripes. A 1-3 record and a 9.00 ERA is not what the Yankees thought they were getting from a guy coming off a 15 win season with a 2.87 ERA. I have to agree with Talking Chop here in that if Vazquez were still in Atlanta, he would not be putting up these bad numbers. I bet both teams wish they could press a redo button that would sent Melky Cabrera back to New York and Vazquez back to Atlanta as both players have been an extreme disappointment in the first month of the season. Although he hasn’t put up the best numbers this year I think it is way to early to jump ship on Lowe, he (and Vazquez for that matter) has been one of the most consistent pitchers in recent years and it is hard to imagine him not being able to return to form.

Are the guys at Phillies Nation beginning to panic with the Phillies falling out of first place for the first time since last May? You Decide!

Sure if Jimmy Rollins were healthy we could be looking at an entirely different scenario, but unfortunately they will have to continue with his absence for at least another month. But like I have said before, it is his bat that is missed, not his glove. Fill-in shortstop Juan Castro already made one of the nicest “web gems” of the year the other night when he reached to his left and flipped the ball to second with his glove making for an impressive double play. For the average baseball fan, the Phillies slump and Mets resurgence could be the best thing to happen in baseball this season. It makes for boring baseball when a team runs away with the division and essentially takes the final month off in preparation for October. I know I’m getting ahead of myself here, but could you imagine if both the Phillies and Mets finished the year with the same record resulting in a 1 game playoff for the division? Johan vs. Halladay in a winner take all! The rivalry has been pretty one sided since 2007, but with both teams having a crop of young core players, it would be nice to see New York take Philis crown and watch the two teams duke it out in the years to come.