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There are many differences between the Mets and the Yankees, but the easiest way to describe the chasm between the teams is to point at their records to this point in the season.
The Mets are 28-23 and the Yankees are 27-23, essentially the same record, but the reaction to those records have been wildly different. The Yankees have been a bit disappointing while the Mets have been one of the more pleasant surprises of the first two months.
Different perceptions coming into the season are to blame for the divergent reactions. The Yankees were expected to win the division, which makes scuffling along at anything other than the top of the heap an unacceptable solution.
The Mets, on the other hand, were expected to be on one of the lowest rungs of the league's ladder with nothing to look forward to beyond the possibility of unloading some veterans around the trade deadline. Plenty of things have gone wrong, just look at the run differential for a sign of that, but there's still an air of giddy satisfaction around the team.
How long will that last? That seems like a fair question to ponder in the wake of last night's 10-6 loss to the Phillies.
Thanks to a Lucas Duda home run in the bottom of the sixth, Dillon Gee got the ball to Bobby Parnell with one on and two out in the seventh inning of a game the Mets led 3-1. Losing that kind of game would be galling unless you felt like you were already playing with house money.
You can probably see where this is going, but Parnell gave up a game-tying home run to Carlos Ruiz and his bullpen mates let up seven more runs from there to turn it into a blowout win for the Phillies. The loss gave the series to the Phils as well, but it hardly felt like the roof caved in on the Mets.
After all, they are five games over .500 after two months of the season and there have been resounding rebounds from Johan Santana and David Wright to lift spirits. The occasional bullpen meltdown won't douse the flames generated on those fronts.
But that won't be the case much longer. April and May have been charmed months for the Mets, but that means that it is time to reset the expectation meter.
It no longer matters what people thought the Mets would do this season because we've got more than 50 games of evidence about what they have actually done and it is enough to enter June with real hopes of this season winding up in a good place. That makes it harder to shrug off nights when the bullpen flops as monumentally as it flopped on Wednesday night because there are actual consequences to Mets losses.
The perception was that the Mets were a bad team, but the reality is that they aren't. That's a welcome change right up to the point the Mets break your spirit in the late innings.