Mets Game 88: Win Over Phillies
Mets 4 Phillies 2
I have to admit, it looked to me like the Mets were destined to lose this one.
However, they hung tough, somehow preventing the sluggin’, fightin’ Phils from stealing away the ballgame.
Oliver Perez was absolutely outstanding, pitching seven shutout innings of 4-hit ball. He was in trouble from inning one, but never got flustered, kept his cool, and did a miraculous job of working out of tough jams. While his last start against the Yankees was his most dominating, this outing was his most impressive. Ollie was presented with every possible concentration-disrupting situation, and he remained both focused and confident. I have no idea what he’s been eating for breakfast lately, but I want some. This is the Oliver Perez we’ve been dying to see since the 2006 postseason.
Ollie didn’t need much support, and received all he needed from a Carlos Beltran solo homer in the third. Beltran drove in an insurance run in the top of the ninth — but unfortunately the Mets needed a better policy. While the bridge to Billy Wagner did its job, Wagner did not, blowing his sixth save of the season. Wags gave up a two-run homer to Jayson Werth with two outs and a 1-2 count to tie up the ballgame.
With the way balls tend to fly out of Citizens Bank Park, and the number of homerun hitters on the Phillies, it seemed only a matter of time before someone in the Philly lineup lofted one beyond the fence in the bottom of a frame. However, Scott Schoeneweis retired the lefties and Joe Smith spun 2 1/3 scoreless innings to keep the Mets in the ballgame.
Finally, in the top of the twelfth, Carlos Delgado led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Damion Easley (an excellent bunt, by the way). Fernando Tatis followed with a deep fly to left center that found the seats to put the Mets ahead 4-2. Smith phinished ophph the Phillies in the bottom of the twelphth to secure the victory.
Beltran finally hit in the clutch, coming up with the homerun and the clutch single in the ninth. He and Jose Reyes were both 3-for-6 on the evening.
In 12 innings, the Mets left 14 runners on base. As individuals, the Mets batters stranded 23.
It took three pitchers — Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman, and Duaner Sanchez — to get through the eighth.
Is it me, or does it seem like the Mets are always getting burned by not the Utley-Howard-Rollins trio, but Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, or Greg Dobbs?
Speaking of Werth, he jumped on that 1-2 slider by Wagner like he knew it was coming. Either he was guessing slider or Billy is tipping his pitches. In my humble opinion, Billy needs to start humming that fastball inside and making the batters move their feet when he gets ahead. Wagner’s fastball is no longer in the upper 90s, but rather around 94, so he needs to make some adjustments in his approach.
While we’re on the subject of making batters move their feet, Joe Smith came up to bat for only the second time in his young career. He stood about six feet away from home plate, and was bailing out on every pitch. To his credit, he did take a couple of hacks en route to an ugly strike out.
The phour-game series in Philly concludes on Monday at 7:05 pm. Pedro Martinez goes against Adam Eaton. Personally, I won’t be concerned if the Mets lose. By winning two games, they have at least treaded water against the Phillies — which to me is better than falling behind. My hope is that eventually, the Mets will go on a tear after Pedro figures things out, Ryan Church and Moises Alou become regulars in the lineup, Johan Santana has his trademark dominating second half, and someone among Beltran, Reyes, and Wright goes on an extended hot streak. Yes, I am spouting optimism — though guarded. If the Mets can just stay close until the All-Star break, they have a fair shot of making a strong run at the division title. Let’s hope it’s an exciting summer.