Brewers at Mets Important Early Series for Both Teams

Apart from what teams are going to the NBA playoffs and how much you’re paying (or getting back) in taxes, pretty much nothing is decided in April. Especially in Major League Baseball, unless you’re a Kansas City Royal or Pittsburgh Pirate, which means that you can already start making plans for an October vacation.

But the lack of championship stakes doesn’t mean that April can’t have its share of intriguing matchups, and this weekend’s series between Milwaukee and the New York Mets at Shea Stadium certainly qualifies. The three games should give an early indication of whether these fast-starting teams will be playing in the postseason.

Brewer fans were certainly brought back down to earth after a three-game losing streak sullied a 5-0 start. But escaping St. Louis — always a tough place for Milwaukee, and especially with the atmosphere surrounding the opening of the new Busch Stadium — with an extra-inning victory on Thursday meant that Ned Yost’s club was still tied for first in the NL Central and for second overall in the National League.

The team holding the best record in the National League are the Mets, who are suddenly stacked at offense with Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Cliff Floyd, and Carlos Delgado, who have been giving their stellar pitching rotation that includes Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, and Victor Zambrano good doses of run support. The Mets’s performance so far as done nothing to dissuade those prognosticators (including yours truly) who picked them to end Atlanta’s 14-year stranglehold on NL East division titles. But the knock on the Mets has of course been their schedule — they’ve played the Washington Nationals six times and the Florida Marlins twice (one game was rained out), two teams with a combined record of 4-14.

In short, the Mets and their fans have the same question the Brewers and their fans do: Is our team for real? (Well, Brewer fans are also eager to find out if starter Ben Sheets, who is scheduled to make his first start of the season on Sunday following a strained upper back muscle, can stay healthy.) Not all will be known by the end of the weekend — this is only April, after all — but Brewer fans can hope that they’re not asking themselves, “Weren’t we supposed to be good this year?” come Monday morning.

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