New York Mets Head Into Much Needed Vacation

 This article was written by Double G Sports Met’s writer Marc A. Spallino.

Johan Santana led the Mets to victory on Sunday against the Atlanta Braves avoiding the sweep. Santana pitched seven shutout innings while giving up five hits and three walks. The Mets now go into the All Star break trailing the Braves by four games in the National League East. This break is just what the Mets need right now after losing their last two series.

Looking forward past the break, there are several key issues to look for in order for the Mets to have success in the second half of the season. One thing to keep an eye on will be Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod will have to really step his game up in order for the Mets to have a real shot at a playoff run. Even though he only had four blown saves out of twenty five opportunities, K-Rod seems to always make things interesting by putting men on base and sometimes drives fans crazy with his pitch selections.

Another thing to look for will be the return of centerfielder Carlos Beltran. Beltran is scheduled to join the Mets in San Francisco on Thursday night. Manager Jerry Manuel has already said he will not push Beltran too hard by putting him in the lineup everyday immediately.

The final element to keep an eye on will be the team’s chemistry. Before the game on Sunday Jerry Manuel and Jeff Francouer had a discussion about playing time. Jeff will start the Giants series on the bench in order to keep the red hot Angel Pagan in the lineup. Francouer has admitted that this will be a different role for him but understands that Pagan has to keep getting playing time the way he has been hitting of late. It remains to be seen how the Mets outfield will shape up once Beltran is back to 100%.

The Mets have an eleven game road trip out on the West Coast. They go to San Francisco on Thursday for a four game series and then it’s off to Arizona for three games with the Diamondbacks and then Los Angeles to face Joe Torre’s Dodgers in a four game series. Not exactly a smooth transition after vacation. The Mets will probably be happy splitting the two four game series and just try to get back to Citi Field where they have been dominant this season.