The Mets have a 3 game lead with that awful number, 17 games to go. Mike Vaccaro's column in Today's New York Post lists a number of reasons why a collapse is less likely to happen this year.
Vaccaro notes Jerry Manuel's cool under pressure attitude compared to Randolph's tense leadership. This is something that cannot be underestimated. Tense attitudes can be awfully contagious. The monkeys are often tense for no reason other than the other monkey is tense.
Another point brought up in the column is that why the bullpen is still not solid, it is better than it was at this time last year because there is emerging help in Luis Ayala and Brian Stokes. True, but this is an area where Manuel needs to be careful. Joe Smith seems to have righted his ship and it has become clear that even though Manuel's bullpen is tightly packed, he only trusts three of them and feels that Feliciano or Schoeneweis might get one lefty out and then they must be pulled. With 17 straight games, Manuel is going to need to do a better job sharing the workload or else Ayala, Stokes and Smith will be toast come October. The monkeys continue to recommend seeing what Al Reyes has to offer. No guarantee he has anything to offer, but let's find out. In a less pressurized situation, check out Bobby Parnell.
Vaccaro mentions Johan Santana and he's right. But Mike Pelfrey is just as important and after his last start looks like a pitcher who might benefit from a skip of a turn. We wouldn't recommend skipping him Monday, but if the Mets have a lead of 4 games or more come his next start, we would rather see Figgy or Brandon Knight take his turn.
These Mets are in the mix to win it all. Just make sure there is some ingrediants still left after September.