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How Does ‘First-Place New York Mets’ Sound?

The National League East has only five and a half games separating first place from last place, the Braves from the Nationals. All five NL East teams are going interleague this week, and four of them are playing teams with winning records. The Mets are the other team, who, as we mentioned yesterday, are the hottest in baseball.

The Nationals get the Tigers, the Marlins get the Rangers, the Phillies get the Yankees, and the first-place Braves get the Rays ... but the Mets play three against the Cleveland Indians, who have never been the same since LeBron James left. Considering the Mets are just one and a half behind Atlanta, and have won four in a row, and are playing a lousy team ... hey, who's up for first place? A weekend subway series between first-place teams might be kind of fun.

The Mets certainly have the right guy going tonight to kick it off: Johan Santana begins the series, with Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey following. After this series, every game the Mets play until July 19 will be against either a team with a winning record or a team in the NL East; this is the last time off, easy schedule for awhile. The Mets should take advantage while they can.

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Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images