Mets Game 7: Win Over Phillies
Mets 5 Phillies 2
The Mets assert their dominance as the NL East leaders and moved back into first place. Well, they were in first for a few hours — until the Nationals beat the Reds and pulled ahead by a half-game. But, with only 155 games left, this is turning into a dead heat for the division.
Mets Game Notes
It’s a really, really good thing the Mets won this game, because if they hadn’t, the contest might have served as a symbol of futility. For one, there was Justin Turner‘s name in the #3 spot of the starting lineup. Hey, I’m Turner’s biggest supporter, but third? Really? Then there was the ground ball that went right through Daniel Murphy‘s legs in the ninth. And crowning it all was the incredibly boneheaded play by Josh Thole, who, after being successfully sacrificed to second base, decided to leave second and jog back to first. Had the Mets lost this ballgame, Thole’s blunder would have have become a part of the darks side of the team’s history. Because the Mets won, this will be forgotten by Tuesday.
And yes, the Mets won, beating Cliff Lee of all people — even with Justin Turner batting third. If I hadn’t seen it myself I might not have believed it. But, R.A. Dickey was spectacular, with his knuckler dipping, diving, dancing, and darting all over the place — yet, within the strike zone. What I love about Dickey is feeling a distinct confidence that he’ll never be the victim of a big inning. Of course, it’s unrealistic to believe that at some point, some team will put together a big rally against him, but that’s my current perception — that Dickey may give up one run in an inning, perhaps two, but never more than that in any one frame. With that, a three-run lead seems to me to be very comfortable. If I were on the opposing club, and Dickey was up by three, I might feel as though the lead were insurmountable.
Hey, what do you say Jason Bay? He broke his slump in a big way, blasting an opposite-field homer off of the mighty Lee. Is this the big hit that will help Bay turn the corner, and return to being the slugger he was in Boston? Time will tell.
Speaking of Lee, he struggled mightily with his command, especially early on. That may sound strange considering that he walked none and allowed only five hits in seven innings. However, the key to Lee’s success is the ability to paint the corners and spot the baseball in all four quadrants of the strike zone. When he’s “right,” he puts the ball within two inches of his intended target. In this game, he was missing by four to five inches or more, and leaving the ball over the center of the plate. Bay’s bomb came on one of those center-splitting pitches, about waist high, and a similar pitch was served to Scott Hairston, who delivered it to a patron beyond the left field wall. The Mets were fortunate to catch Cliff Lee having a bad night.