THE BLOG

Mets Looking to Rebound Against Cardinals

07/19/2011 04:57 pm ET | Updated Sep 18, 2011

After a tough series against the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend, the Mets lost for their fifth time in six games on Monday night to the Florida Marlins in a makeup game at Citi Field. In what I think was perhaps the most boring game of the season, it seemed as if everyone except Chris Capuano showed up to actually play Monday night. Granted, the Mets were again without Carlos Beltran who was out with the flu and still waiting for the return of shortstop Jose Reyes from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for nearly three weeks. Having said that, Monday night's loss was extremely frustrating. They faced a pitcher, Clay Hensley, who has not started a game since 2008 and did not seem to have any particular movement on any of his pitches. And just when I thought they were going to potentially start a rally in the ninth inning as they loaded the bases with one out, the team again failed to come through under pressure.

Thankfully, the Mets will be facing a struggling St. Louis Cardinals team for a three game series starting Tuesday night, as the Cardinals try to rebound from a series loss to the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. There is no question that if the now sub-.500 Mets plan on contending this summer, they cannot win any less than two out of three from St. Louis. To be honest, a sweep is almost necessary, because it is almost August, which means we are running out of months to be looking at the schedule one series at a time. Furthermore, the Mets are sinking, and they are sinking fast. They are now 9.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the wild card race, and it is not as if they are the only team they have to catch.

It at least makes me feel a little confident that we have what I consider to be our three best pitchers going against the Cardinals this week: Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey, and Jon Niese. The Cardinals are certainly presenting a pitching challenge as well, throwing Kyle Lohse, Kyle McClellan, and Jake Westbrook, but assuming both Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran return to the lineup tomorrow, the Mets should be able to generate a few more hits and a few more runs than they have been lately.

I know a lot of people went out to Citi Field over the weekend, saw the Mets lose to Philadelphia and concluded that the 2011 season is done. Don't get me wrong, I did not feel encouraged by the Mets performance over the weekend either, and Monday night's game did not help. They did not have to face the Phillies' top starters Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, and their overall play from the last four games has been very sloppy. And between closer Francisco Rodriguez being traded and all the trade rumors surrounding Carlos Beltran, even I am starting to believe that the Mets are giving up on 2011.

Having said all of that, that does not mean I will not be out there rooting for the Mets day in and day out. It has certainly been a very bizarre year for the Metropolitans, but stranger things have happened. When I go out to Citi Field tomorrow night, I expect to see the Mets that I saw before the All-Star break, not the team that has suddenly forgot how to hit, catch, and throw. Despite Albert Pujols's recent hot streak, the Cardinals are hurting right now. They're having problems scoring runs and the bullpen has been a huge liability all year long for them. If the Mets want to convince the media, the fan base, and most importantly themselves that they are in it to win it, they are going to have to start winning games. And a lot of them.