The Mets have a pretty rich history of pitchers.
You know about Tom Seaver, Doc Gooden and Johan Santana, obviously, but they've also got a bunch of guys in the Jerry Koosman/Ron Darling/Al Leiter mode in their past. They might not have been the best pitchers in the National League but ones who were bona fide big leaguers who won their fair share of games.
How strange, then, that the first Mets pitcher ever to win his five of his first six starts with the team would be a 35-year-old knuckleballer who doesn't have an ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm. After beating the Indians 6-4 on Thursday night, R.A. Dickey earned this honor and nothing should make Mets fans happier.
That's not because Dickey is one of the great human beings ever to walk the Earth, although we've got no reason to believe he's not a good guy, but because his presence represents everything that the Mets have done right to spur on their current hot streak.
They've finally accepted that dead weight is going to be dead weight no matter how much they've done in the past. Oliver Perez and John Maine have been trying to recapture past glories for longer than they actually were glorious in the past and it was long past time to move on and try to find someone who could do better.
The same is true of Ruben Tejada playing second instead of Luis Castillo, Ike Davis playing first instead of Mike Jacobs or whatever other turd Omar Minaya dug up and Chris Carter coming off the bench instead of Gary Matthews Jr. As with the pitchers, it took the Mets far too long to realize that there was no benefit to any of the veteran players, regardless of how much they were being paid, and they've ridden the jolt of energy provided by newcomers within a shout of first place.
Are the likes of Dickey, Tejada and Carter going to provide enough to keep the Mets from dropping back in the standings? Probably not as the Mets have taught us a couple of times this season that it isn't wise to get too up or too down depending on the current streak. What they have done, hopefully, is teach the Mets that there's something to building a roster with an eye on things beyond the name or age of a player. That will come in handy as they weigh the trade waters where they'll be tempted to scrap everything to buy a big name.
If they need an inspiration on that front, they might be able to find it somewhere at Yankee Stadium this weekend. In 2005, the Yankees paid a lot of money to guys like Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown and Jaret Wright to start games for them but they wound up winning the division title because of Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small. The limited resumes of those two pitchers bear more than a little similarity to the ones Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi brought to the table this season but all four men earned their spots by performing better than the more revered pitchers in front of them.
As long as the Mets keep using that rationale to decide their lineup, things should work out just fine.