Chasing The Braves

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News today of Chipper Jones heading to the DL got me to thinking.  Dangerous, I know.

What is going to have to happen for the Mets to actually catch the Braves in the second half of the season?

First and foremost, the Mets are going to have to play better at home.  A lot has been said about how this current group genuinely enjoys being together, and it has been suggested this is a reason why they play well on the road.  Somehow they have to figure out how to bottle that attitude when they are at Citi Field.

Larry going down for a few weeks is certainly an added bonus for the Mets.  However, their offense is not Atlanta’s strength, as they are 17th in the majors in runs scored and 26th in terms of team average (the Mets are tenth and a surprising fifth respectively).

More importantly, Jair Jurrjens or Tommy Hanson will need to cool off a bit.  They are a formidable pair at the top of the Braves rotation and Jurrjens has been absolutely lights out this season.

The Mets are going to have to take advantage of their nine remaining head to head games, all of which are in August and September. The Amazin’s have proven they are capable of beating the Braves with wins in the last two series.

One would also think that the Mets will catch a break in terms of at least two of the four stars that are currently injured (Wright, Reyes, Davis, and Santana) and they can provide significant second half reinforcements.

Terry Collins will have to continue to out manage Fredi Gonzalez.  It has been a long time since we have been able to say this, but the Mets have a better skipper at the helm then their division rivals.  Fredi Gonzalez has the tendency to make some head scratching in-game decisions.

I may regret saying this, but I fully expect the Mets to exceed expectations in the second half.  Don’t take that statement out of context, I am not saying they will be in the post season.  I just believe they will not collapse and will continue to compete every series.

There is a different feel to this team.  They have established they can hit for average, play solid defense, and throw out a quality start every night.  More importantly, they seem to be enjoying themselves each night.

Regardless of what transpires, I am grateful that I am writing about chasing a playoff slot rather than discussing 2012 and beyond.

 

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6 Responses to “Chasing The Braves”

  1. B. Taylor Says:

    I don’t think the current Mets team cares who we face – they try to make good at bats and play ALL twenty seven innings.
    This team has become stubborn, Ekstein-like annoying to other teams that assume we’re pushovers, and go down fighting every time, and that’s a joy to watch.
    I think we’ve beaten Jair recently, and I’m hoping we can do it again, and with a little luck, if none of our pieces get moved, we’ll have one or two guys come off the disabled list in time to help us win more games.
    I like seeing other teams frustrated and disconcerted by us.
    Atlanta started out hot. They’re bound to start losing a few so we can catch up : )

    • Jason Says:

      “They’re bound to start losing a few so we can catch up.”

      Tom and I keep telling each other that as well. Another win today for Atlanta. *sigh

      Jurrjens is for real, but you are correct B. The Dillon Gee and Jon Niese have bested him in their last two appearances against him.

  2. Matt Kaufman Says:

    I think the reinforcements will arrive towards the end of the month. The recent injury news was actually encouraging. But the Mets are going to need some help (even from the Phillies) and the Braves need to start losing. The Mets are playing well but they’re going to need to take six out of the final 9 against the Braves. They also need to take advantage and beat up on the Padres (7 games), Nationals and Cubs. I’m talking about playing .700 ball against teams w/records less than .500 or hovering around that mark. I know the Marlins are better than their record and the Nats are improved but those are the teams that need to be beaten.

    Also, as much as I admire the job Turner and Tejada have done (and Murph filling in in the cleanup spot), the Mets 100% need Wright, Reyes and Ike (and Johan would be nice) to compete. If those guys come back when expected (Wright and Reyes on the next road trip and Ike in 3 weeks or so) and the Mets are no further back than they are now, yeah they can do it. In an ideal world, they’d be no more than five games back at the end of July.

    • B. Taylor Says:

      I agree.
      We do need Reyes and Ike and Wright to come back and perform above par. If Jose performs as he did in the first half, or even close…gads! Ike’s bat in the lineup, and first base defensive position would also be a BIG plus. David to drive in runs, but I would bat him further down the order…
      The guys filling in have been terrific but I don’t believe they can sustain this level of performance indefinitely without crash and burn syndrome. They too need a break.
      Hopefully Sandy Alderson will add to, and not subtract from, the major pieces we already have in place as I think we can give it a run for the money.
      If we keep getting good pitching from our guys that would be a plus. Dickey is stellar and such an inspiration, Capuano and Niese give their all, Gee just needs to recover and Pelfry, well… Johan coming back would be gravy if he’s close to what he was before.
      I’m a little nervous where the bullpen is concerned. Issy is fragile and I don’t think Parnell is ready to handle the closer position although he has shown signs of improvement.
      Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the Braves leading the NL east for a large portion of last year, then faded near the end? I seem to remember something like that happening. Here’s hoping they start to fade real fast real soon… : )

    • Tom Says:

      I think as much as anything, the Mets need to be within 5 games or less in the last week of July. If Sandy decides the Mets are too far out (I think 5GB is kind of the border) and elects to move Beltran, there is no way the team can make a run to the post season. He’s holding it together.

  3. A Day Off « Midwestropolitan Says:

    [...] Chasing The Braves:  Last week I looked into what will need to occur in the second half of the season in order for the Mets to catch the annoying Atlanta Braves. [...]

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