By Mike Steffanos
Game 80: Yankees 3 - Mets 2 (Saturday)
Game 81: Mets 3 - Yankees 1 (Sunday)
Sorry for being so late on this. Work is crazy again this week.
In the two weekend games, the Mets sent a pair of southpaws to the mound -- one named Johan, the other Oliver. In both games the Mets offense put few runs on the board and the games were tight. One of the lefties held the lead he was given over 7 innings and didn't walk an opposing batter. The other gave it when he was unable to throw strikes in a crucial part of the game.
By now, we all know that Oliver Perez was the left-hander that took a step forward, while Johan Santana -- although pitching decently -- continues not to look like a $20 million per year ace pitcher. This isn't a knock on Santana. It's the simple truth.
Johan seems to be one of a long line of high-priced players who came here and needed much of his first year to adjust to the fishbowl. Whether he ultimately comes close to earning that money still remains to be seen.
As for Oliver, we've seen him go on a roll before when his mechanics have been smoothed out. Will he do it this time? Who knows, but if Ollie can put up a solid couple of months the Mets would have more of a chance to distance themselves a little from the .500 mark.
The Achilles heel still seems to me to be the offense. It cost them Saturday's game. Perhaps Church settling in and Alou coming back -- for however long that lasts -- might at least render them less futile in this regard.
Four games in St. Louis -- where they never seem to play well -- followed by a weekend in Philly. Once again this club seems to be on a precipice where things could go from frustrating to really, really bad. They've dodged this bullet a couple of times this year, but their failure to sustain positive play puts them there again.
And yes, I changed my pic. I'll miss seeing my old friend slightly mitigating my ugly visage, but it was time.