You would be hard pressed to find another team in the majors who has had a more topsy-turvy interleague experience this season than the New York Mets. The Mets have experienced the highest of highs, sweeping the then first place Tampa Bay Rays. But they have also faced the all too familiar low of being swept themselves by the cross-town Yankees.
The Mets started interleague play on a silly note with a hockey themed road trip to Toronto. Many of the Mets sported Rangers’ sweaters in support of their playoff run at the time. David Wright rocked a Goldberg jersey from the “Mighty Ducks.” Jason Bay went throwback, sporting a vintage Hartford Whalers jersey. Even the broadcasters got into it as radio announcer Howie Rose dawned a personalized New York Islander jersey. It was fitting for Rose considering he calls Islander games for MSG-Plus in the winter.
On the field, things did not go so well as the Mets dropped two of three to the Blue Jays, including a 14-5 thrashing in the first game of the series. Following the Toronto series, the Mets returned to National League play, taking two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates and three of four from the San Diego Padres. Following the Padres’ series, the Mets entered the toughest part of their schedule and their performance over that stretch, particularly in interleague play, would determine if they were contenders or pretenders this season.
The Mets entered the first Subway Series of the season at six games over .500. Johan Santana was on the mound for the first game and was coming off the first no hitter in Met history. Met fans were riding high and were excited to take on the Yankees. We were all quickly brought back down to earth as the Yanks hammered Santana and the rest of the Mets’ staff en route to the three game sweep.
Following the Yankee debacle, the Mets had an off day and traveled to Tampa Bay to take on the first place Rays. Looking back, I think the off-day came at a crucial time as it game the Mets the opportunity to catch their breath and regroup for the next series. It seemed to work as the Met bats came alive to score thirty runs over the three games en route to sweeping the Rays.
The Mets then returned home to take on the Cincinnati Reds and were promptly swept themselves. Left on the ropes again, the Mets needed to turn things around as the upstart Baltimore Orioles came to Citi Field. Back-to-back shutouts from Dickey and Santana, followed up by a strong outing from Dillon Gee led to a sweep the other way in the Mets’ favor.
After splitting the first two games of the second round of the Subway Series, fans have the pleasure of watching one of the best pitching matchups of the year as R.A. Dickey faces off against Yankee ace C.C. Sabathia. If the Mets take tonight’s matchup, their record will sit at 40-33.
Looking back on the Mets’ interleague showing this season, you see the resiliency in this year’s squad. Time and again they were able to follow up losing streaks with winning streaks of their own. If you asked any Met fan on May 28, prior to the Philadelphia series, if they would take a chance of being 40-33 following the toughest stretch of the season they would be crazy to turn you down. The Mets’ ability to bounce back in the face of adversity is a ringing endorsement of the job Terry Collins has done as manager and a testament to the character of the guys in the clubhouse. The ups and downs the Mets have experienced throughout interleague play is a symbol of their season and a great example of the fight this team has shown.
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