Lets get into the Mets for a second. This is a team who looked overmatched at times in spring training. And if there is a team that needed to get off to a good start for a number of reasons, it is the Mets. If not selling out opening day was not concerning enough, imagine how bad the attendence will get if the team plays poorly to start the season. Winning the first three games is great, but they will need to keep it up if the team wants to attract the non-die hard fan on a regular basis. They deserve credit. They won three games decided by 2 runs or less and got a very impressive performance by their bullpen. Perhaps some that were predicting the Mets to finish last place may now feel the team is better than the Braves. It remains to be seen. Its not like the Mets dominated this series. The Braves did not hit, and that should be a serious concern for them as we move forward. The Mets welcome in the up and coming Washington Nationals, a team that most feel is better all around as a team. The key to the Mets will be consistency. If they can be an over .500 team for a long period of time to start this season, they will gain in confidence both with themselves, the fans and the media. The Nationals are better constructed right now than the Mets. But, it doesn't mean the Mets cannot take this series and continue to play well. Still, three games is too early to overreact.
The Yankees found themselves matched against a top AL team on the road to start the season. Yes, they would feel better taking at least one of the first three games, but it is not the end of the world. While fans started to get crazy over Mariano Rivera blowing a save in the first game of the season, they have gotten crazier over the 0-3 start. Lets first of all give the Rays some credit. They have a very good team and outplayed the Yankees in the series. The Yankees are built to win and should still be considered favorites in the AL East. Let some more time go by before judgement is passed on this team. The Rays did the job; the Yankees because of starting pitching and a lack of situational hitting did not. The Yankees still have a powerful offense and their pitching is good, if not great. As Mariano Rivera proves every year, he is not finished and will be among the best on the game making their bullpen factored in to those of the elite teams. There has been too much negativity on the first three games of the season; it is too early to overreact.
With the Red Sox, they were going to be under a microscope, similar to the Braves, because of what happened at the end of last season. This will be regardless of whether they get off to a good start or not, as reports would question the hangover from last season the first time they struggle. It may be a blessing in disguise that they lost their first three games. We all know they will play better. Remember they got off to a terrible start to begin last season. I am confident they will be an elite team. I think it is too easy to forget they started the season against the Detroit Tigers, arguably the best team in the league. Once again, three games is too early to overreact.
As far as the Phillies go, there will be questions regarding their offense until Ryan Howard and Chase Utley return and play like the stats on the back of their baseball card. Right now, they need to get offense whereever they can get it, whether it is Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino or Jimmy Rollins. Those players need to be at their best while the others are out to keep the Phillies as the no-brainer pick to win the NL East. Their starting pitching will still win games for them, like Roy Halliday did on opening day. Their bullpen should be improved with Jonathan Papelbon saving games for them. And lets not discount the Pirates, who were at home. They are much improved and should be able to contend in a crowded NL Central. The Phillies are going to be fine, three games is too early to overreact.
Yes, it is great that there has been so much excitement in the first weekend of the season. I have said on a number of occasions that there is as much parity in the game today as there has been in a while. While the elite teams are still elite, they can lose a game or two (or three) to a team that is just good. Baseball has the longest regular season of any major sport and that is why there are few surprise teams in the postseason, even if two more wild cards have been added. If you have to point at anything over the first weekend of the season, it isn't that the Mets are guaranteed to be good or the Yankees, Phillies, Braves and Red Sox are going to be bad. It is the parity of the game which allows for games to go in a different direction from what we may want to predict. In the end, the cream will rise to the top. We as baseball fans, just have to be patient. As far as the overachievers, there are teams that rise above expectations every year. Nobody had the Arizona Diamondbacks winning the NL West last season. In 2010, nobody had the San Diego Padres being anywhere near the top of the NL West. So, you hold out hope that your team can be the story, and there is nothing wrong with that. But, for the last time, it is only three games into the season.