TORONTO -- The pop-gun offense Yankees are gone and New York's best team is in town tonight in Rogers Centre. That's right, the Mets are 21-17 and actually a game better than the Yankees (20-18) heading into the opener of a three-game series against the Blue Jays. It will be Jonathon Niese (2-1) vs. Ricky Romero (4-1) on the mound.
Manager Terry Collins, the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer, held court with the media in his office late this afternoon and was in a good mood. And why not? Basically every expert pegged this to be a 100-loss team. Instead, the Mets are one of the early surprises in the National League.
"We're just trying to grind it out each and every day," Collins said. "The Yankees are going to get it going. They're not buried by any stretch of the imagination and we're not trying to compare oruselves to the Yankees at all. What's really helped us is we've really pitched good. We've actually played pretty good defense. The nights we make mistakes, we get beat like anybody else."
Heard from a few folks coming this weekend (the games Saturday and Sunday are at 1:05) and here's a word of warning: Collins told us red-hot third baseman David Wright, MLB's leading hitter, is getting the day off Saturday. Wright has a bad head cold and cough and a raspy voice but that's not bothering him: He's batting .411 and has a .513 on-base percentage, best-in-the-bigs numbers that are the highest for any right-handed batter this late in the season since Rico Carty was at .422/.514 for the Atlanta Braves way back in 1970.
Chatted with Wright for a few minutes and he said he's thrilled by where the team has gone thus far.
"We knew coming into spring that we had a bunch of young, talented guys. So far, so good" wright said. "But there's still a long way to go. We understand there will be ups and downs, especially with a young team. Each day we're getting better and better and a lot of these guys are learning on the fly, learning on the job. The more experience and at-bats they get, the better they'll get. We're kind of scratching the surface of what we're capable of."
Be sure to read much more from Wright in my Inside Baseball column in Sunday's editions of The News.
As for the Bisons, click here for Amy Moritz's update on the Herd's series finale against Gwinnett tonight in Coca-Cola Field as Vinny Rottino looks to extend his hitting streak to 21 games.