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The Mets are simply amazing

By Chris Ruddick
MLB Editor

Chris Ruddick Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees, this is going to be a tough column to write. I have to admit that the other baseball team that plays in the Big Apple has become pretty darn good and could be on their way to taking control of the city.

I know, I know. It has only been two weeks, but so far it is hard to argue that the New York Mets are not the best team in baseball. Gosh, was that hard to write.

After all the moves general manager Omar Minaya made in the offseason, it was apparent that the Mets were going be at or near the top of the National League. But heading into Monday night's action, the Mets are off to their best start in team history at 9-2 and are the only team among the division leaders with more than a one game lead.

What about the Mets has been so good in the early going? Well, take your pick. They are doing just about everything right.

The lineup has been as good as advertised. Jose Reyes is as exciting a player to watch in the game, while David Wright is probably the best all-around player to hit Gotham since that shortstop in the Bronx in 1996.

I saw Deion Sanders play while he was in the minor leagues, and I never saw a player go from first to third as fast as he did. Reyes, though, might be able to give him a run for his money. He leads the team with five stolen bases and is a threat every time he is on base, while playing a dazzling shortstop.

Wright has just been incredible. Everyone heard for years that this kid was going to be something special, and boy has he lived up to expectations. He is hitting .429 with three homers and 13 RBI, and it seems like he drives in a run every time he is up.

Carlos Delgado has fit in nicely, and how about the start of Xavier Nady? Nady, acquired in the deal that shipped Mike Cameron out of town, is hitting .366 with three home runs. Mets fans should not get too excited, though, as he is a career .268 hitter and has reached double-digits in home runs just once in his career. You can't complain through his first 11 games, though.

I still think Carlos Beltran will implode under the bright lights of NY at some point, but it won't matter. He is just a piece to the puzzle now and not THE man, despite how much he might have in his bank account.

If there was one concern heading into the season for the Mets, it was definitely their starting rotation. Pedro Martinez was bothered by a toe injury all spring, Tom Glavine is like 100 years old, Brian Bannister had never faced big league hitting before this season and Victor Zambrano is atrocious.

Well, after two weeks the starting pitching has been sensational. Pedro looks like his old self and Glavine has been great, but the biggest surprise has been the 25-year-old Bannister, who is 2-0 with a 2.50 earned run average in his first three starts.

Glavine and Bannister have also helped themselves at the plate, where they are hitting .750 and .400, respectively. Martinez also knocked in a big run against the Washington Nationals in his first start of the year.

However, Zambrano is still atrocious.

If there is anything that Mets fans could be concerned about, it is their bullpen. Billy Wagner, Duaner Sanchez and Aaron Heilman are solid, but after that it is a little thin.

To say Jorge Julio has been horrible would be a compliment. Julio has been so bad, in fact, that the Shea faithful actually started a "Bring back Benson" chant on Saturday after another terrible performance. Julio, of course, was acquired from Baltimore in exchange for Kris Benson, and has allowed 11 runs -- eight of which have been earned -- in 4 2/3 innings. Not bad.

Unfortunately for the Mets and their fans, they are in a no-win situation. If they win the NL East and finally unseat the Atlanta Braves, people outside of Flushing will say, "with that lineup, that is exactly what they were supposed to do." But if they fail to win what is expected to be a very weak division, they will be looked at as failures.

To hell with being unbiased, I don't want the Mets to win. I have been known to jinx teams in the past. Hopefully this column has done the trick and put the wamma-jamma on the Mets.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.
Chris Ruddick


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