Despite the sweep of the Orioles, and the Yankees losing a pair to the Atlanta Braves, the Mets cannot finish this weekend with a better record than the Yankees. This is typical.
Not since May 2008 have the Mets entered or exited a series with the Yankees with a better record. Back then, the Mets were 20-19, the Yankees 20-21. A rainout shortened the series to two games, and the Mets won both of them. The first of these seemed designed to highlight the ascending Mets and descending Yankees.
The Mets won, 7-4. Johan Santana pitched 7 2/3 innings, Billy Wagner shut the door with a four-out save. Jose Reyes and David Wright homered. Carlos Beltran tripled. An aging Andy Pettitte only lasted six innings.
The next day, Oliver Perez was strong into the eighth inning. Reyes homered again. So did Ryan Church, raising his OPS to .922 and making like an all star.
Ah, how the future can fool us.
At the risk of earning some wrath, I’m not particularly happy that the Yankees just lost two straight. Oh, I’m not unhappy the Yankees lost. But they lost to the Atlanta Braves, who actually will help determine whether the Mets make the playoffs or not. And knowing that a two-game losing streak does little to dent the sense of superiority enjoyed by many in the Yankee fan flock, well, I’d just as soon see the Yankees hang another couple of losses on a Mets division rival.
But this weekend does loom large as yet another test for a Mets team that has passed virtually all of them to date. For a weekend, there’s no conflict between seeing the Yankees lose and the Mets benefiting. And while the Yankees are throwing CC Sabathia at the Mets Sunday night, well, the Mets have a starter with an ERA roughly half of Sabathia’s going. You might have heard of him: R.A. Dickey.
It’s the Mets’ turn to have the X factor with one unhittable pitch. Mariano descendant, R.A. ascendant. At least, for right now.