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On the surface, little seems quite as mundane as a .500 record.
You win a few, you lose a few and never wind up getting too far up or too far down as a result. Teams that play to .500 records can be called many things -- predictable, flawed, resilient -- but they are rarely described as being exciting.
Unless they are the 2012 Mets, a team that has spent the last two weeks making a .500 record seem like the most exciting thing in the world. They changed their way of doing business enough to actually give up runs to the Orioles on Wednesday night, but they still won the game 4-3 to keep alive one of the stranger patterns we've seen this baseball season.
The Mets got swept at Yankee Stadium on a weekend that ended with serious questions about where the Mets were heading this season before going to Tampa for a fairly dominant midweek sweep of the Rays. It was back home to get swept by the Reds last weekend, cue more questions about the state of the team, and then another fairly dominant sweep of the Orioles.
A 6-6 record looks far too pedestrian for a stretch featuring so many mood swings, just as a .500 record would seem far too pedestrian for a Mets team that has been far too interesting to wind up with such a wishy-washy final place in the standings. Wednesday's game is a good example of how interesting the team has turned out to be.
Dillon Gee looked like he took a shot of whatever R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana have been dosing themselves with as he held the Orioles to one hit (the first of pitcher Brian Matusz's career) and no runs over the first seven innings. The ability of the Mets to make any kind of run the rest of the way is reliant on Gee and Jon Niese moving closer to the big two in the rotation and Wednesday was either a sign it was possible or a sign that the Orioles had a little too much fun ushering summer into the city this week.
Scott Hairston, filling the journeyman having a career year role, drove in another run and they scrounged a few more runs to give Gee a healthy cushion. He would need it after running out of magic in the eighth and it looked like Bobby Parnell was set to blow the whole thing wide open with two on and one out later that inning.
On Saturday, Parnell probably implodes but Wednesday is a Mets day and a rare batters interference call on J.J. Hardy for hitting the ball twice helped the Mets escape with a two-run lead. Then came Frank Francisco and a ninth-inning tightrope walk that saw another run score and the bases loaded with two outs before he finally slammed the door.
Good, bad and ugly all represented for the Mets on Wednesday, just as they have all season for a team that is light years ahead of every other recent Mets team in terms of watchability. Whether they also finish ahead of them in terms of record will be closely watched the rest of the way.
And if they should wind up with a .500 record, it will surely be the most exciting .500 record the game has ever seen.
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