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Coutinho: Mets Make Big Statement With Philly Sweep

By Rich Coutinho
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The season is 31 games old and the Mets are 18-13 with 11 come-from-behind wins. That's pretty impressive.

When you consider the Mets have now swept a three-game series  from three different teams in the NL East (Braves, Marlins and now the Phils), you understand why they sit just 1/2 game out of the penthouse.

New York, who everyone left for dead in the offseason, is alive and well in this tough division.

I've heard all the objections: it's early in the season, the Phils have injuries, a full moon is out -- blah blah blah. The bottom line is if you can't see that this squad has the "it factor" all teams need, then you are not paying attention. They are 13-5 in the NL East, which is the top record in baseball for any team within their own division.  They are getting contributions from everyone, including players called up from the minor leagues. You know, the system that the experts said had no real prospects.

Those youngsters coupled with the hitting of David Wright rank the Mets second in all of baseball in batting with runners in scoring position and two outs which -- the mark of a clutch offense. But to really understand what the Mets accomplished in Philly you had to be in that clubhouse after the sweep. It was not necessarily a loud locker room, but a happy locker room, keenly aware they have much work to still do. It continues with a three-game series in Miami on Friday night.

I would call it a "quiet confidence." This team always believed they could compete in this division, going back to spring training when they all acknowledged the "lowered expectations" of the baseball world but refused to accept it. Even when the injury bug hit the Mets this year, they responded. When Andres Torres went down, Kirk Nieuwenhuis picked up the slack. Torres did the same thing when Jason Bay got hurt. And this week Justin Turner and Jordany Valdespin filled in capably for Ruben Tejada.

Even the bullpen, which was battered on the last road trip, responded with three solid games here in Philly. And when you look at their whole report card, it's pretty good. The Mets are 14-1 when leading after seven innings and 15-0 when leading after eight, which speaks to both the bullpen and their ninth-inning offense (New York has outscored their opponents 15 to 8 in the final frame this season).

I sense a lot of Mets fans hopping on the bandwagon, but some are still not sure. I'll tell you this: the Mets are an easy team to root for. Right now they own the best record in New York City.

It might be a good time for fans to go "all in" on the 2012 New York Mets.

Think they'll get the brooms out against Miami this weekend? Make your prediction below!

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