Yes, June was awful for the Mets.  But it is July now and it is time to put the first half of the year into perspective and not over-react to a bad month.

Years from now when one tries to recall the first 77 games of the 2009 season for the Mets, the first thing that will pop into mind will be the injuries.  It has been well documented how the club is playing without Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, John Maine, Oliver Perez and J.J. Putz.

No doubt many will remember the poor fundamentals and the crushing losses, none more so than the Luis Castillo dropped pop-up with two outs in the ninth inning that turned a sure win into a loss versus the Yankees.

But for all of the tough breaks and poor play, the Mets find themselves only two games out of first place in the very flawed National League East.  And the Mets have won two straight after a brutal five-game losing streak.  Now the club heads to Philadelphia for a three-game series versus the division-leading Phillies.

Here was the Opening Day lineup

SS – Reyes

LF – Murphy

3B – Wright

1B – Delgado

CF – Beltran

RF – Church

C – Schneider

2B – Castillo

And here is the lineup that fell behind 5-0 yesterday and exploded for nine runs.

2B – Castillo

SS – Cora

3B – Wright

RF – Sheffield

LF – Tatis

CF – Church

1B – Evans

C – Santos

Many are blaming Omar Minaya for “poor roster construction” and failure to pick up a hitter in the off-season.  But not many clubs could handle the loss of six high-priced players and still be in contention.  Minaya actually constructed the best bench since he became the club’s GM.  It is not his fault that his Opening Day bench is now forced into action on a regular basis.

And the people who call for Minaya to pull the trigger on a big-name deal are being incredibly myopic.  First of all, who are they going to trade to acquire the big bat for which those are clamoring?  Top prospect Fernando Martinez has shown glimpses of why everyone has raved about him for years.  Now these people want to ship him out of town as the centerpiece of a deal for a big bat.  Would it not be better to wait until August when the club can add Reyes, Beltran and Delgado to the mix?  Those would be three pretty sweet deadline acquisitions and they will not require the club to give up one thing.

The series with the Phillies will be crucial.  A sweep and the Mets will be at least in second place and possibly first, either way they leapfrog the Phillies, who currently have their own injury problems, in the standings.  On the flip side, if Philadelphia breaks out the broom, the Mets drop to five games out and likely fall to fourth place and the pressure to make a deal mounts.

The Mets send Livan Hernandez, Fernando Nieve and Johan Santana to the mound this weekend.  The Phillies counter with Rodrigo Lopez, Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton.  Hopefully Hernandez, who has four Quality Starts in his last five games, can pull the team within one game and end the trade talk Friday night.

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