The only first-place team in New York is in the National League

The only first-place team in New York is in the National League

Subway Squawkers

The only first-place team in New York is in the National League


The Mets are alone in first place!

Sure, it’s only April, but I didn’t think this day would come at all this year. I was hoping for meaningful games in September.

Squawker Lisa, Joe Torre may not be welcome in the Bronx, but you’ll be pleased to know that he did get to see a first-place New York team during his East Coast trip. In fact, his sorry team helped them get there.

But while the Dodgers, Braves and Cubs have all looked pretty bad against the Mets, when a team wins eight of nine, they must be doing something right. For most of that time it was the starting pitching. Tonight, in game 2 of the doubleheader, the bats finally woke up, particularly David Wright’s. Thank you, Torre’s bullpen!

No more talk of hanging tough until Carlos Beltran gets back. Beltran may never get back at this rate. If he does, great. But if not, the Mets tonight showed they have the potential for a strong lineup even without Beltran.

There were so many highlights today – Wright’s breakout game, Jason Bay’s first Met homer, Ike Davis’ two-run double, and on the pitching side, Johan Santana’s scoreless start despite not having his best stuff and Hisanori Takahashi stellar again in long relief.

But my favorite moment of the doubleheader might have been what appeared to be the lowest point – Oliver Perez walking the pitcher on four pitches, loading the bases. The Mets still led, 3-2, and it was only the fourth inning, but Jerry Manuel had seen enough, and he pulled Ollie from the game.

Earlier in the day, I criticized Manuel for planning to start Perez Sunday night against the Phillies before the rainout changed the rotation. But tonight, Manuel was decisive, cutting his losses with Perez and giving the Mets a chance to win.

This is not to say that they can’t win with Ollie, but they couldn’t win with Ollie tonight. Keep him in the rotation, but keep him on, as the announcers noted, a very short leash.

On this homestand, Manuel has gotten the best of Torre, Bobby Cox and Lou Piniella. And right before that, Tony LaRussa, whose dubious moves in the 20-inning game continues to have consequences. Cardinal infielder Felipe Lopez went on the DL with an elbow strain. Lopez thinks his elbow got worse when he pitched an inning in the marathon game. Lopez threw 21 pitches in that inning.

Manuel outmanaging Hall of Fame managers. Omar Minaya making the right move in bringing up Ike Davis, even if it should have been three weeks earlier.

The Mets are in first place. Amazing!

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