It was definitely expected to be a different kind of year for the St. Louis Cardinals. But go figure, the Mets have a one-game advantage on them in the National League at this juncture of the 2012 season.
At 28-23, the Mets have the fifth best record in the National League at this moment, meaning that if the season were to end today, they would wiggle their way into the playoff picture as the second wild card team. It is way early, but anything is possible. I figure noting that would improve morale against a Cardinals team that is in a similar divisional situation as the Mets.
St. Louis is 5-5 in their last 10 games, and has failed to continue to make noise after a very strong start to the year.
One of the main points of interest goes beyond the overall matchup in this series. How will Carlos Beltran be greeted by the Mets faithful in his return to Citi Field.
I think he’ll return to a nice smattering of cheers and jeers. However, what does Beltran deserve?
Beltran deserves..well I’m not really sure. I’m mostly bitter about how effortlessly he’s playing this year. If Mets fans decide to do it the right way, they’ll properly thank him for his injury-marred Mets career, his slow finish, all of his nonexistent playoff victories with the team, and especially his unreal start to the 2012 season, his first year out of a Mets uniform since his tenure in New York.
Come on Carlos, where was this when you were wearing the orange and blue? Needless to say he’s one of the best in Mets history. But I don’t boo often, so I take advantage of my opportunities.
Although that’ll certainly serve as the storyline tonight, two teams face off in a three game sent that are trying to prove that they can regroup after low expectations were set for them. In an effort to rebound from their weakest in-division showing of the season against the Phillies, I expect the Mets to come out firing.
Aces take the hill tonight, and Johan Santana is coming off his best start of the year against Adam Wainwright.
New York Mets
1) Mike Baxter LF
2) Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF
3) David Wright 3B
4) Lucas Duda RF
5) Daniel Murphy 2B
6) Ike Davis 1B
7) Josh Thole C
8 ) Omar Quintanilla SS
9) Johan Santana LHP
St. Louis Cardinals
1) Rafael Furcal SS
2) Carlos Beltran CF
3) Matt Hollida LF
4) Allen Craig RF
5) David Freese 3B
6) Yadier Molina C
7) Matt Adams 1B
8 ) Tyler Greene 2B
9) Adam Wainwright RHP
NYM: Johan Santana (2-2, 2.75 ERA) He is back and he is pitching as well as ever. Well, his record would be better if, as usual, he was receiving more run support. The Mets are 5-5 in games started by Santana this year, and on average, he’s getting 3.78 support runs. On only two occasions this year has he allowed four earned runs in a start, and that is the most. That is also excellent if those are his biggest blemishes. After laying down the stats, Johan is coming off his best showing of 2012, a complete game shutout of the San Diego Padres. You might say, so what it’s San Diego? But he didn’t walk anyone in that game, and there’s no way to sugar coat that. Johan Santana is back and he is rolling.
STL: Adam Wainwright (4-5, 4.45 ERA) Like Santana, Wainwright is back this year after missing 2011. But unlike Santana, the transition hasn’t been easy. He’s been a bit all over the place, allowing more hits, serving up more home run balls, and just being more wild on the mound in general. However, he’s coming off back to back amazing starts. He’s tossed 15 innings in those two starts, and hasn’t given up a home run since May 1. He’s 4-2 in his last six starts, and despite is uncharacteristic numbers, he is in the midst of a crucial turnaround.
Stache Keys to the Game
- Johan Santana himself is a key. Don’t be surprised if we see him go inning for inning with Waino.
- The bevy of Mets role players need to continue with their standout performance. I’ll take the focus off David Wright this week. Less focus on David will let him relax and do what he does best.
- If Lucas Duda can take Cliff Lee yard, he can certainly take Wainwright yard. Another two homers from Duda tonight? I hope so.
Slated for a 7:10 PM ET start, catch the game live on SNY and WFAN 660.