Well, if anything was proven this past weekend, it’s that the talent gap between the two New York teams is as wide as ever. While it’s been a fun year so far in Met land, it has become clear that they can’t quite compete with their neighbors to the north. If someone told you Johan Santana would be pummeled, but the rest of the starting pitching would be pretty good, you might take it. Not this weekend. Dillon Gee and Jonathon Niese acquitted themselves admirably during the siege, but all the other weaknesses were baldly exposed. The Yankees destroyed the Mets’ bullpen – such as it is – and the offense reverted to 2010 form, scoring just enough runs for the pitching to give them right back. The Mets were simply outclassed on the Yankee Stadium grass, with no bleating from me about the dimensions or Nick Swisher.
The Yankees are simply the better team right now. Their talent is established, their confidence is high, their performance is catching up to their reputations. It’s taken a little while to warm up this season, but with a few exceptions, the Yankees are playing up to the backs of their bubblegum cards. Hats off, much as it galls me to say it. The Mets simply cannot compete, talent-wise. Yes, they have some wonderful-looking players. Yes, they have all the exuberance you’d expect from a team this young. Yes, they fight until the last out – why Friday’s (6/8) game was 9-1 instead of 9-0. Yes, good times are visible on the horizon. They’re not here yet, though, and that horizon still appears a ways away. In the past, I would have taken this little fact as a referendum on my existence. I would have railed at cruel fate that the Mets will forever play Salieri to the Yankees’ Mozart. I would have fought against the tide and tried to insist the Mets are actually better than they’re being given credit for. I would have gotten into an ultimately pointless talent debate. No more.
Clear-eyed, I can safely say the Mets are pretty good. I can also safely say they’ll probably finish third in the NL East and just about crack .500. You know what? That’s not a crime. That’s where the Mets are in success cycle at present. Once NL play resumes, there’s a very good chance they’ll get back to at-least-eight-games-over-.500 status again. If that’s the tally come September 30 – and they’re ahead of Miami — the season will be a satisfying one. This year is not 1969, 1973, 1986 or 2006. It’s 1984 or 2005: the seeds have been sown, the growth is apparent, you can make a case that they’re “close.”
They’re just not “there.” Yet.
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