BY JOE RINI
While most New Yorkers were sleeping a few time zones away, the Mets had a respectable west coast road trip. When last seen in the eastern time zone, the Mets were dragging through a winless six game homestand and heading west with these parting words from manager Terry Collins, “You will see a different team in the next 10 days, the next two weeks. We’re through making excuses.” The Mets made good on their skipper’s vow and had a winning road trip at 6 and 5.
Far away from home, the Mets split four games with Arizona and rebounded to take three out of four from the first place Giants before concluding the long trip by dropping two out of three to the Padres. The trip was highlighted by the promising debut of Matt Harvey, who pitched well in his first two starts before being roughed up by the Padres in the series finale, a 7-3 Padres win. Considering that a poor road trip could have spiraled the season into irrelevancy, the successful trip breathes relief to the Mets and keeps .500 within sight.
On the injury front, the return of Johna Santana nears but relief pitcher Tim Byrdak faces potential season ending shoulder surgery. Santana pitched a rehab start for Class A Brooklyn and is expected to start against Atlanta on Saturday. However, Byrdak was disabled after a MRI on Monday revealed an anterior capsule tear, the same injury which caused Santana to miss the 2010 season.
Byrdak, who spent much of 2012 as the Mets only left handed relief pitcher, lead the pitching staff with 56 appearances. Speaking of Byrdak, Terry Collins mentioned overuse and stated,
“He’s done nothing in the last two years except take the baseball and gotten big outs for us. I just hope he comes out of it OK and can resume pitching.”
On Tuesday, the Mets unveiled the logo for the 2013 All-Star Game to be held at Citi Field. The logo borrows from the Mets classic skyline logo and there’s a version with the word “Mets” in front of the skyline and another with “MLB.” Speaking at the press conference which included past and present Mets All-Stars including, among others, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, David Wright, and R.A. Dickey, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said, “I think to showcase this ballpark next year is going to be a big thing.”
New York City deputy mayor Patricia Harris estimated that the All-Star Game events, which extend over five days, could have an economic impact of $200 million. Estimating the impact on sports talk radio regarding the question of whether David Wright should participate in the Home Run Derby have not been made, but it is expected to be significant.
The Mets entered play on Wednesday in third place with a record of 53-57, 13 1⁄2 games behind the first place Nationals after dropping the opener to Jose Reyes and the Marlins on Tuesday by a score of 4-2. After the Marlins, the Mets finish the current six game homestand with three games against the Atlanta Braves this weekend before hitting the road to play the first place Reds and Nationals.