Mets Beat Philly Silly
It’s only May 10th so we’ll heed the advice of Harvey Keitel’s Winston Wolfe character from Pulp Fiction and not start performing certain oral acts on each other quite yet, but the Mets finalizing a sweep of the Phillies in Philadelphia last night was sublime.
Let’s be honest, Mets fans came into this season with expectations somewhere between slim and none and, as Don King used to say, “Slim just left town, Jack.” There was the whole Wilpon financial mess of paying back Madoff’s victims, there was Jose Reyes leaving for Miami, there was Jason Bay being a shell of his former self and David Wright not too far behind, there was a drastically reduced payroll, there was the uncertainty of Johan Santana’s post-surgery arm, and finally there was a team filled with a bunch of untested kids. So please excuse Mets fans if we take delight in a few early-season highlights. Hell, we didn’t think there would even be a highlight.
To be sure, the season-opening home sweep of Atlanta probably would have been enough to keep the Flushing faithful happy until the All-Star break, but there have been other little pleasant surprises along the way. Another home sweep in late April, especially when it’s the Marlins and Jose Reyes’ return, was sweet indeed. The contributions of heretofore no-names like Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Justin Turner, and Jordany Valdespin (man, some of these guys really need nicknames) have given fans a bunch of underdogs they can really root for. The starting pitching hasn’t been outstanding, but it also hasn’t been the disaster that everyone thought it might be… at least thus far. Santana may have lost a bit off his fastball but he’s as crafty as ever. The pen has been inconsistent, but seems to get the job done more often than not. That’s the thing about this entire team; they’re a bunch of scrappers. Nowhere was that more evident than in Philadelphia the last three nights.
The Mets trailed in every single game they played against the Phillies this week and they came back in every one of them, sometimes more than once. On Monday they trailed 2-0, only to tie it in the sixth and score three in the top of the ninth to win it. Tuesday saw them behind 4-1 entering the seventh where they scored four to take the lead and then tacked on two more in the ninth for good measure. Last night’s game was the most impressive though. The Mets were down to the Phils on three separate occasions before putting them out of their misery with an 8-run barrage in innings seven, eight, and nine en route to a 10-6 win and series sweep. It was their first three-game sweep in Philly since 2006. Sure, the Phils are banged up, but who isn’t? When you face the likes of Halladay, Blanton, and Lee and come away with three wins, you’re doing something very right, even if much of it involves kicking the holy hell out of their bullpen. It was funny to see former Met Bob Ojeda practically foaming at the mouth during the post-game recap on SNY. He was talking about the Mets stepping on the Phillies’ throats, his eyes gleaming as though he were still playing.
Anyway, yeah, it’s still early but the Mets have already given their fans more to cheer about than they ever imagined. They’re a half game out of first with a nice weekend visit planned down to Jose Reyes’ gaudy new digs. Hope springs eternal.