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Coutinho: A Big Early Season Road Trip For The Mets

By Rich Coutinho
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It is only May.  All the experts said the Met season would be over by now because they could not compete in the NL East. Yet if the season ended today, the Mets would be a playoff team as they hold a 10-5 record  in their division.

After taking a series from the Arizona Diamondbacks they head out to Philadelphia and Florida for a six game road test that could very well clarify whether or not the Mets will make this an interesting summer.

It will certainly not be easy as the Mets will face Roy Halladay, Joe Blanton, Cliff Lee, and Mark Buehrle in the first 4 games of the trip but to a man this team is cautiously optimistic about the challenging week ahead of them.

"We have lost some tough games but this game is about bouncing back. In a long season, there will be ups and downs and we must learn from our mistakes," said Daniel Murphy.

The early returns on the Mets are very good.

9 teams in the majors have a better record than the Mets and 2012 is the first year that 10 teams make it to the post-season. The team is 11-3 in games decided by 2 runs or less despite an inconsistent bullpen and an offense that has gotten nothing from Ike Davis. More importantly, they show resiliency on a consistent basis. In the past 2 weeks, the Mets have slipped to the .500 mark only to move north of it right away and there is a reason for that.

"We are a clubhouse filled with guys who have something to prove", says R.A. Dickey."

Of course having Johan Santana at the top of the rotation is a huge asset but to tell you the truth we take our lead from Terry Collins who refuses to let negativity ever to seep into our minds."  The Mets will arrive in Philadelphia ahead of both the Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East standings and not many people thought that was a remote possibility even in early May. Everyone that is except the New York Mets.

I really do not know what the ceiling is for this team but I did think coming out of spring training, they were at least an 83 win team and I still believe that. What they lack in talent they make up for with desire, focus, and resiliency. They will facing 2 teams this week that they took 5 of 6 games from early in the season and so they will not sneak up on the Phils or the Marlins. But these teams have problems of their own. The Phillies are still having offensive difficulties without the potent bats of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. The Marlins just demoted their closer and there are rumblings of other issues brewing inside their clubhouse.

So this week will be a good test for a Met team most people predicted would go quietly in the early going of the 2012 season. How they perform might illustrate how noisy a summer we might be experiencing in CitiField.

How tough is the Mets' latest test? Sound off in the comments below!

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