Imagine, if you will, a Phillies fan, drunk off two consecutive World Series appearances (and whiskey), amped for a series full of games at Citi Field. He’s facing the tortured Mets, certain of a series sweep, or at least a victory, that mediocre Mets rotation watching Ryan Howard’s and Jayson Werth’s blasts disappearing into the Queens night. He buys tickets for all three of the games; he can’t wait to give those pathetic Mets fans the business. F—in’ Phillies! And then, in three nights at the ballpark, he doesn’t get a single thing to cheer about. Not one. You have to think that guy probably left early one of those nights, probably all three.
The Mets shut out the Phillies again last night, 3–0 behind a less-than-dazzling-but-still-enough Mike Pelfrey, completing a three-game sweep in which they outscored the Phils 16–0. It was total dominance, and the Mets didn’t even get to pitch Johan Santana. (He’s going tonight.)
The Phillies’ bats are unusually cold right now; Howard, Werth, Chase Utley, and the gang have just forgotten how to hit. But the timing worked out perfectly for the Mets, who just finished a 5–1 homestand against last year’s two World Series teams. Just in time, for everybody.
The Mets are now only two games out of first place in the NL East (and two games behind the Cardinals for the wild card, by the way), and, as Eric Simon of Amazin’ Avenue pointed out this morning, sixth in the NL in run differential. That means that this isn’t a fluke. Well, the shutouts are a fluke. But this is not some overachieving team. If anything, they’re underachieving. (Though their PECOTA playoff odds are still just above 7 percent.)
Tonight, the Mets play Milwaukee, with San Diego and Florida coming up afterward. June is a good schedule month for the team. There’s life here. There’s hope. Which probably means something bad is about to happen. This is how these matters usually work.