After annihilating the Diamondbacks 14-1 last night, the Mets are only two games back of the Wild Card, thanks in part to the Astros, Marlins, and Nationals all losing. There are still three teams in front of them, but they all have their weaknesses.
Houston has had great starting pitching, but they continue to have problems scoring runs. They are 11th in OPS and 12th in runs scored despite playing their home games in one of the better hitter's parks in the league.
The Phillies have been up-and-down like the Mets, but their starting pitching isn't nearly as good, and despite playing in an outstanding hitter's park they have only scored nine more runs than the Mets, who play in a pitcher's park and whose offense has been much-maligned this season.
The Nationals. Need I say more?
The Marlins are tough because they combine a terrific 1-3 starting rotation with a potentially lethal offense. Their biggest problem has been zero production out of Mike Lowell and almost nothing out of Juan Pierre, a guy who used to catalyze their offense. Carlos Delgado and Miguel Cabrera have been outstanding, Luis Castillo has been an on-base machine, but the rest of the offense has been so-so. Their bullpen ERA is almost a half run worse than the Mets (4.38 compared to 3.96).
Mike Jacobs continues to impress me with both his bat and his glove. He has only a half year of part-time action at first base, yet he has appeared to be light years better than Marlon Anderson, Jose Offerman, and even Chris Woodward. He also lit it up with the stick last night, going 2-3 with a two-run homerun, a single, and two walks (nice!). He's hitting .375/.500/.1125 in 8 at-bats with those two walks and just one strikeout. It's very early of course, but he should get plenty of playing time until Doug Alphabetsoupkiewicz comes back from the disabled list.
As I mentioned in the game chatter intro last night, Danny Graves was finally, and mercifully, designated for assignment yesterday to make room on the 40-man and 25-man for Steve Trachsel. The plan seems to be to put Trachsel right back into the rotation and have him start Friday night's game against the Giants. Kris Benson's start will be pushed back a bit, which will give him tons of rest considering he only threw 2/3 of an inning on Sunday.
Victor Zambrano bought himself at least another start with his solid outing last night in Arizona of all places, walking only two batters and allowing a single run in eight innings.
I haven't listened to it yet, but Steve Somers of WFAN had Omar Minaya on yesterday and the interview was supposedly a good one. Minaya apparently indicated that he also gets nervous when Braden Looper pitches, and in so many words indicated that he Mets would be looking to upgrade the closer spot. He also said that the Mets would be spending plenty of money this offseason, and that last offseason was just the beginning. Let's hope this means he will throw some bucks at A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan. You can listen to the interview here.