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Updated: May 11, 2010, 2:08 AM ET

Mets on the verge of a revival

By Bobby Valentine
ESPN
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In 1994, I became the Triple-A manager of the Mets, and then in 1996 I became the major league manager. I spent seven years there looking at the franchise grow into a very competitive team, and now the surging Mets have a team on the field that can contend with just about anyone in the National League East.

The Mets have done an excellent job of overcoming adversity early on in the season, including injuries to some of their star players. The Mets dropped the opener of a series with Washington, with whom they entered Monday's game tied for second in the NL East, two back of the division-leading Phillies. The Nationals may be the surprise team now, but don't be surprised if they are very near the same place in the fall. Between these two clubs, the Mets have an edge because they have more quality players and a better bullpen.

[+] EnlargeJohan Santana
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIIf Johan Santana and the Mets' rotation can stay healthy, they might still be around this October.

Even though David Wright entered Monday's game having struck out in nine consecutive official at-bats, he came into this season trying to hit with more power and he's already proved that he can do that. (He went 2-for-4 in Monday's 3-2 loss.) At this point, he's hitting more home runs at a greater pace than he did last year. Last season, he had only 10 home runs all season and this year he already has seven. Of course, he's already struck out 41 times this season, but changing his batting style 15 games into the season to eliminate the leg kick may be a viable reason for the increase.

The Mets' potential is clear: If the Phillies falter a little, the Mets will win the division. If they don't win, I think they will fight until the end for that NL wild-card spot. The key for them is getting Carlos Beltran back to play center field and keeping their starting pitching staff healthy for the entire season. They have quality arms out on the mound, and only the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins have guys who can match them. It's definitely safe to say that 2010 has brought a new feel to the NL East.

Bobby Valentine is an analyst for "Baseball Tonight."

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