The Mets Are Happy to Head Back to the Mainland

Mets eke out a win despite allowing 17 hits

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Jul 1, 2010  |  Updated 8:45 AM EDT
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The Mets Are Happy to Head Back to the Mainland

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In many a romantic relationship, a vacation together can prove to be a momentous occasion. Sometimes it can kick things into high gear as two people find they love spending every mintute together experiencing new things and building memories that they'll tell their grandchildren about. Others are broken up before the seat belt light goes off on the flight home because too much of each other was too much of a good thing.

The Mets aren't ready to break up with their starting pitching after three nights in San Juan but they have to be assessing where things stand after the Caribbean sojourn. R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi got bombed on Monday and Tuesday in Mets losses, putting a lot of pressure on Mike Pelfrey on Wednesday as the team tried to avoid a sweep.

They did avoid the sweep, but that had very little to do with the tall righty. Pelfrey gave up 12 hits and four runs without getting out of the fifth inning but got bailed out by his bats and a Marlins team that could neither field -- four errors -- nor bring home baserunners at anything approaching a competent level. David Wright had two more RBIs, he now leads the National League in wins above replacement, and Francisco Rodriguez was effective and surprisingly efficient during a four-out save.

It would be easy enough to blame the shoddy performances by the pitchers on the sub-majors surroundings in San Juan if Mets pitchers had been successful in all other locations. They have been, for the most part, but this also makes four bad starts in the last trip through the rotation and no one is deluding themselves into thinking Dickey and Takahashi are guys with enough of a track record to shrug off a few bad starts.

We've talked about Cliff Lee a lot this week and we'll doubtlessly be talking about him a lot more in the days or weeks to come. The Mets lineup gave them a chance to win two of three games despite shoddy starts this weekend and Wright has been spectacular, but the truth is that this team has scored the eighth-most runs in the National League and ranks 10th in OPS. Maybe they get a boost from Carlos Beltran but there's not much chance of this team slugging its way to the playoffs.

They are going to get there by outpitching their opposition. If they come back from Puerto Rico with the realization that they need to do something to make that likelier, the trip will be a win even if the ledger says they lost two of the three games.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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