By Mike Steffanos
Game 67: Rangers 8 - Mets 7
Game 68: Mets 4 - Rangers 2
The Mets split a pair of games with Texas on Sunday afternoon. Given all that has been happening with the team recently, that's probably fitting.
If you looked at John Maine's pitching line from game one and didn't see the game, you might think it was a pretty bad effort. In reality, I thought it was a pretty solid start, particularly taking into account Texas' offensive prowess. Maine has had some inconsistency, but he has pitched better than his 6-5 record this season.
Although I've always maintained that there is no such thing as a moral victory, it was still nice to see the Mets try to fight back in this game. If nothing else, it offers some hope that they still give a damn.
Pedro had his best start of the year in the second game. For what it's worth, the "controversy" over Willie pinch-hitting for him in the sixth was puzzling to me. Pedro was at 92 pitches and another inning was probably the absolute limit of what could be hoped for. He's a terrible hitter, and it was the right thing to do to try to grab the lead with 2 outs.
Someone asked me recently to make a case for the Mets breaking out of this .500 rut and challenging for the division. I think the best case would be based on starting pitching. If you can get Pedro pitching to his 2005 form along with Santana at the top of the rotation, Perez a little more consistent and Maine figures out how to keep his pitch count reasonable, then you have a 1-4 in your rotation that really is solid. If Pelfrey can pitch as he has done in his last 3 start, then you really have something, and a chance to go on a decent run. It wouldn't hurt if they could get a little healthier, too.
It's not looking that great, no denying that, but not quite as hopeless as some seem to want to paint it.