There's just something about being in Queens that makes everything go right for the Mets.
Oliver Perez refuses to go to the minors in Milwaukee or San Diego, but a couple of minutes near LaGuardia do something to his knee and help ease him onto the disabled list and, finally, off of the active roster. Major League Baseball isn't so sure, but they underestimate just how hard the other Mets were kicking him after slipping him a mickey on the flight home from California.
Elmer Dessens has been the epitome of a fungible bullpen arm for nine big league teams and a bunch of others scattered across Mexico and the minors, but in Queens he's a steely set-up man who stares down rallies and helps his team settle a worrisome relief corps.
Queens works its magic on the opposition as well, turning them into the dysfunctional road version of the Mets. Hanley Ramirez didn't hustle on the last out of Friday night's loss and then wound up in the leadoff spot on Sunday as the Marlins played lineup roulette. Fredi Gonzalez turned into Jerry Manuel on Sunday. Gonzalez pulled Ricky Nolasco after 82 pitches because the Mets scored a run off of him in the sixth inning, a dubious call given how well Nolasco had done up until that point in the contest. He then stuck with the ineffective Tim Wood for a second inning, which backfired when Jeff Francoeur drove a three-run homer out of windblown Citi Field, and then chose to play his infield back with a runner on third and no one out in the eighth.
That last call was a real head-scratcher since the Marlins aren't the 1927 Yankees at the plate. Ike Davis hit into a double play, but Angel Pagan scored the game-winning run and the Marlins, who had won six straight against the Mets entering the weekend, limped out of town on the wrong end of a sweep.
There's a lot of talk in the papers this morning about the Mets' grit and energy because they came back to win games on Friday and Sunday, but that only begs the question of where those two attributes were during the 2-4 road trip against the Brewers and Padres. The only answer is that they were left behind in Queens, along with the team's bats, gloves, pitching, brains and everything else that it takes to be a winning team.
We're not sure what the Mets bring instead of those things when they go on the road, but it might be time to either rethink their packing strategy or buy some bigger bags.