So things seem to be lining up nicely for the Mets in the stretch run, as evidenced on Wednesday with a 13-10 win over the Nationals. David Wright had himself a nice little 4-for-4 outing, New York took a 3 1/2-game lead over the Phillies, and the schedule looks promising, with 10 of their remaining 17 games against the Nationals and Braves, and also 10 of their final 17 at home. But the shadows of last year's Epic Fail loom over Shea, and Faith and Fear In Flushing is emphasizing the Fear in these final days.

Worry of the moment: What if we make it to October and everybody's arms are on E? In this current turn through the rotation, Pedro has looked ordinary and both Ollie and Pelf have been awful. You'll find Aaron Heilman under that heading as well, as per usual, but tonight he was joined by the normally stalwart Brian Stokes, who couldn't locate anything but his fastball and found that wasn't enough. Joe Smith was impeccable (with a lot of help from David Wright), as was Luis Ayala, but when it was 7-1 Mets the devout hope was that tonight's blog entry would be a meditation on the long-delayed debut of Bobby Parnell, instead of more hosannas for guys who could have used a breather. As if. It makes sense that Parnell's baptism has been kept on hold pending a blowout, but there's no such thing as a blowout when the Mets are involved these days.

Last year at this time, the Mets were 7 games up with 17 to play, giving them a 99.80 percent chance of winning the division, according to Baseball Prospectus (you would have gotten 500-to-1 odds if you bet against them). So if I'm reading it correctly, they turned in the second-worse collapse in baseball history. What will be different this time around remains to be seen. But a couple of factors โ€” Carlos Delgado being chief among them โ€” seem to me to point to the Mets pulling this thing out. Two straight years of dramatic failure just can't happen in an orderly universe. After all, they're not the Cubs. Baseball Like It's Gotta Be [Faith And Fear In Flushing]