The Mets have become road warriors. They've won 13 of their last 19 on the road beating Milwaukee, Atlanta, Texas, Detroit and now LA in the process. In that streak their only non-series win was a 4 game split with the improving Pirates. 4 of the 6 teams they played were either in first in their division or wild-card when they played them. That's very impressive. Remember this was a team that didn't win it's first road series against a NL foe until August last year in Houston. Unbelievable, yet true.
Collins speculated on this yesterday. He stated the team has no distractions on the road and this group really gets along. He said the focus is just on baseball. He then stated he has to figure a way to get them to play like this at home. Interesting.
So why are they 26-20 on the road and 19-22 @ home? Could it be just the distractions from so-called writers asking unbelievable dumb questions and the extra PR they do? That seems a bit of a stretch. Perhaps it's the fact they press at home to get fans back in the stands. Perhaps they want to entertain and win in a way which will bring them out and get them behind the team. Maybe its the dimensions of the field. No one really knows. Last year they played well at home and poor on the road. So again, who knows?
What the Mets have to do is simply play the same way at home. The park should work to their advantage. Their pitchers should use the dimensions to their advantage. The Mets hitters have speed and hit the ball in the gaps. It's not like they're hitting tons of road HRS. They're simply getting hits in big spots, often with 2 outs. If they continue that @ Citifield, the record will improve. It's really that simple.No gimmicks are needed.
Whatever the final record( I still say 83 wins), this team has given us 80+ games of pure grit and damn good baseball. They've played the whole year w/out their ace. They've played a month + w/out their corner infielders who are their power sources. They've even gone 4-0 w/out their best player and perhaps the best player in MLB in 2011. Kudos to the players, especially guys like Turner, Murphy, Paulino, Duda, Pridie, Gee and Tejada who weren't even on the 25 man roster on opening day. Kudos to Sandy Alderson for not overplaying his hand and bring in pros like Young, Capuano, Beato, Hairston, Harris and Paulino. All were solid and inexpensive moves. Young got hurt, but was great early on. Cappy is 8-7 and could easily be 11-4. Beato is looking like a bullpen fixture for years along with Parnell. Hairston and Harris have strengthened what was an incredibly weak bench in 2010. Paulino has been a hitting machine since his return from suspension and injury. Also, thanks to Sandy for ridding us of the 2 albatrosses Castillo and Perez. Removing their stench has done wonders. Where are all those defenders of Castillo now? How have Turner, Murphy and Tejada done @ 2nd. The answer? They've done light years better.
Most of all we have to give it up for Terry Collins. This guy swore this team would play good baseball the right way and win. He maintained that when they were 5-13. He was upbeat and steadfast. No stupid jokes like Manuel. No blaming injuries like Jerry or Omar. No paranoia like Randolph. He was a man about their situation. He kept the faith, believed in his crew and they've responded. That's how you manage people. Collins also has used his bench and bullpen well. He's kept guys fresh. Most of all, he's been upbeat and accountable. Those are words rarely if ever used to describe Jerry, Willie and Omar. I think of idiotic, arrogant, delusional and just plain incompetent, when looking for descriptions of them. Collins has changed the attitude and culture here. For that alone, he deserves our undying thanks. The fact he's won with this rag tag bunch is simply amazing. If not for Gibson and Hurdle also performing miracles, he'd be the leading candidate for NL manager of the YR. He may eventually win it anyway.
The Mets are 45-42. They're 26-20 on the road. That's the most road wins in the NL and 2nd most in MLB trailing only Boston and Tampa who have 27. That's unreal. Look at who is missing and remember what happened last year. It's truly a miracle. Or even better, amazin'. I like the return of that word. It's been a long road back to amazin'.