The Mets didn’t quite catch the Braves in their series win over the Twins at Citi Field, but they’re still just a half-game out, and they extended their lead in the wild-card race. (The wild-card magic number: now 87! And PECOTA Playoff Odds? 41.6 percent. Not bad!) There’s some other news out there — Johan Santana’s struggles, Bobby Valentine not being hired by the Marlins, a headline that involves Jeff Francoeur’s wonderment, a great thinker just marvelin’ and musin’ — but we think it’s a lot neater that the Mets are playing in Puerto Rico tonight. As the road team, supposedly.
Because MLB is trying to get back the Puerto Rican market, and because the Marlins are essentially the current-day equivalent of the latter-day Expos, Florida is playing this particular three-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. You might remember the Expos playing some games there a few years ago — against the Mets, actually, for a few of them — and now it’s the Marlins’ turn.
The stadium is most well known for its small dimensions; this would be a nice time for Jason Bay to get some cheap homers. Still, they have moved the fences back from their Expos heyday, and 20,000 fans that will be awfully crazy to have Major League Baseball back in town. One downside: Carlos Beltran, one of the best Puerto Rican players of all time, won’t be back in time to play. In a nice touch, though, his replacement, thanks to Angel Pagan’s injury, will be Jesus Feliciano, a Minor League lifer who is breaking through just in time to play in front of his home country’s fans. It should lead to the Mets having far more fans in attendance than the Marlins. Viva Señor Met!