Wednesday, April 28, 2010

First Person To Pinch Me Gets Punched In The Face

Yes, some of you might have noticed something peculiar as you sat down on the porch with a mug of coffee and your freshly delivered copy of the New York Times this morning that by some peculiar miracle the New York Mets are in first place in the National League East.

Yeah, the Mets that all the doomsayers had losing 90 games. Those Mets. They're somehow atop the NL East this morning after a six-game winning streak, and today may be the only time they're in that place this season, so for the love of God don't shit on my parade.

I'm not sure how long, exactly this can be expected to last, given that the Mets had to win six games in a row to get here, my best guess is "not very", but it does bear reminding that the Mets haven't even played all that well during this streak, which was capped off by New York's first doubleheader sweep of the Dodgers in 39 years yesterday. In fact, last night's 10-5 whupping of L.A. was the first time the bats really broken out during the Mets' current hot streak, with most of the victories built on what has been a surprisingly solid pitching staff so far.

Stunningly, before the Dodgers scored in the fourth inning of the night cap, Mets pitching had racked up 20 consecutive scoreless innings. Sure, some of you might deride that by saying the Mets nearly pulled that off once this year inside of a single game, but the fact that Johan Santana still looks to be winning ball games despite a drop in velocity and Mike Pelfrey may have finally got it bears some notice. John Maine has been shaky and each Oliver Perez outing still feels like a tightrope walk two millimeters wide, but the bullpen, which has an ERA of 2.61 right now, has somehow managed to pull it out each time, to the tune of eight wins in New York's last nine games.

And in typical fashion, the one game the Mets lost in this stretch is the one game I attended.

Regardless, the lineup may finally be coming together. Jason Bay started driving the ball with a home run and a triple last night, David Wright drove in four runs on the day (and didn't strike out for the first time 13 outings in the second game) and Ike Davis continues to wow with three RBIs yesterday to complement his .980 OPS since being called up to the Majors 10 games ago.

Yes, I know, it is early. It's only April. And there is plenty of time for the Mets to collapse brutally once again or fade from the race before it even becomes a race. But for now, the Mets are winning games, and this team is a lot of fun to watch. The only thing that might make them more fun would be a music video to rival the glory of 1986.

Somehow I think the message of Doc Gooden giving something to a group of school children doesn't really resonate the same way today.

In any event, it'd be awfully nice if the Mets could keep winning into the summer because with the impending end of hockey season just six weeks away I may be lacking for distractions. The first round is set to end tonight with a Game 7 between the surprisingly feisty Canadiens and the somewhat less surprisingly lazy Capitals. Of course, the Capitals, being supremely talented and having won the Presidents' Trophy in a walk this year I still expect them to win, but the magic of a Game 7 is that we never really know.

What I'm far more intrigued by, however, is the second-round Western Conference match up between San Jose and Detroit, which won its own Game 7 last night, that gets underway this weekend. These two teams have a bit of a playoff history dating back to the Sharks' stunning first-round upset of the top-seeded Wings in 1994, and the experienced team that is Detroit, coming off two straight Finals appearances is a tall order for a Sharks team that has a habit of disappointing in the playoffs lately.

But what really makes this series interesting is what was pointed out on the outstanding Yahoo! Sports hockey blog Puck Daddy. This series will essentially be ideal fodder for us to make fun of the absolutely ridiculous Lorenzo Lamas and Debbie Gibson smash non-hit of 2009 Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. The San Jose reference is obvious (They're the Sharks. Duh.), but the allusion to the Red Wings might seem abstract if you aren't familiar with the long-honored tradition of throwing octopi on the ice in Detroit.

The movie may not be an exact parallel for this series, but it does feature a major sequence in the Northern California Bay Area. Also, the trailer is, you know, hilarious.

I'll have some picks on what's going to go down in the second round ready for you tomorrow, though since I did so well in the first round, you may or may not want to believe me, but I'll be ready. Sort of.

In the meantime, settle in and enjoy tonight's Game 7, keep enjoying the Mets and don't send any incriminating facebook messages.

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