The Mets go into the traditional second half of the season tonight with a nine game winning streak, confidence, and swagger. The last two weeks have seen Mike Pelfrey dominate all competition like the next coming of Roy Halladay. His recent performances have symbolized the Mets turnaround from the most lifeless team that money could buy to a team of united players that are achieving, if not exceeding, their potential.
As the Mets series in Cincinnati begins tonight, there will still be questions about Ryan Church’s foggy head, Carlos Delgado’s resurgent bat, Pedro Martinez’ ability to stabilize his spot in the rotation, and Billy Wagner’s ability to close “the big game”, and the crater in left field that Moises Alou left behind.
But there won’t be questions about the Mets desire to win and intestinal fortitude. There were plenty of those questions during the first two months of this season. That has miraculously changed under the direction of manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen.
It’s difficult to quantify how much the managerial and coaching changes have changed the Mets. I haven’t seen Dan Warthen throwing seven shutout innings but I have seen that from Oliver Perez and Pelfrey. I haven’t seen Jerry Manuel have a 9 RBI game but I did see that from Delgado. But something clearly changed on this team when the manager/coaching purge occurred. The Met took a little time to stabilize… Then caught fire!!!
The biggest change for me, as a fan, is that I like watching this team over the last month. I didn’t for the first two months of the season. It wasn’t fun or enjoyable. I understand that the Mets winning streak won’t carry into September, that’s not what I’m talking about. What I like about this team is their resiliency, their ability to mount a comeback, and the appearance that they want to win as badly as I want them to. That’s the kind of team that I’ll pay to watch.