We have thought about it. The Phillies and Yankees are coming.
And now the week of games we have heard about so much is finally here.
Beginning with the mid-week series against the NL East-leading, arch rival Philadelphia Phillies, and ending with the cross-town rival New York Yankees, the Mets have a week to prove themselves ready for the long haul of a pennant race this season.
With only four games against teams under .500 left before the break, the Mets need to get off to a good start this week starting with their series against the Phillies. With that, I bring you my list starting with Number Five.....
5. The Mets Need to Support Johan Santana
What exactly is a bad Johan Santana start? It's actually what is considered a quality start, six innings and three runs. But with this Mets offense, it may not good enough.
To be successful in Santana's two starts this week, the Mets have got to get him an early, multi-run lead and let him do his work.
Will the Mets score five to seven runs? Not likely. But if they can support Santana in the field and give him an early lead, that could be enough for the ace of the Mets staff.
4. The Mets Need to Continue Good Play Versus Left Handed Pitchers
This season has been good for the Mets when it comes to taking on lefties; they are hitting .299 with 11 home runs and a .368 on-base percentage.
At 7-5 against lefties and facing four more this week—including J.A. Happ, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, and Andy Pettitte—the Mets are primed to keep up their solid play against southpaws.
Outside of Hamels, none of these lefties are overpowering and the Mets offense should be able to take advantage.
3. Bobby Parnell Has to Take the Eighth Inning by Storm
With lefties and switch hitters like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Mark Teixeira, Johnny Damon, and Robinson Cano, Bobby Parnell could face some very tough eighth innings this coming week.
The hard-throwing rookie, who has taken over as the prime set-up man for Francisco Rodriguez, will have to prove that he can take it up another notch.
He showed flashes of brilliance in the big series at Fenway against the Red Sox, hitting 100 mph and performing well in a role that Mets fans look at very closely.
Parnell gives up hits, which happens, but if he can stay away from walks like he has most of the season, he could be very big in these two series.
If the Mets have a lead after seven innings, they have to be able to shut it down with Parnell in the eighth and Rodriguez in the ninth, where he has been perfect.
2. David Wright and Carlos Beltran Need to Carry This Team Offensively
These two guys are superstar players who can carry a team for a week all by themselves.
Hitting homers can be very overrated at times, and for Wright and Beltran, it's better they drive in runs with base hits instead of trying to hit homers in every at-bat.
If they can relax and thrive on the intensity of the fans, then Wright and Beltran can lead the Mets to great heights.
1. The Mets Need to Play Confident and Smart Baseball
The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies will never stop coming. They are two of the most confident teams in the Majors and feel they can beat anyone at anytime in any situation.
The Mets, from time to time, get down on themselves and play to the scoreboard instead of the game. They'll need to be a confident and smart team this week if the want to succeed.
This means playing solid defense and making smart plays like getting bunts down, driving in runners in from third with less than two outs, and running the bases well.
If the Mets can play smart, fundamental baseball, this could be a week to remember.
That's my Top Five. Agree? Disagree? Tell me about in the comments and remember, LETS GO METS!
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