Game 63: Win
Mets 9 Phillies 7
I would hate to be a Phillies’ fan watching this game. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for the Phils … and every time it seemed like the Phillies would take over the game, the Mets came up with remarkable defensive plays to thwart the attack.
The ball was jumping out of Citizen’s Bank Park … every little fly ball into left field seemed to be grabbed by a vacuum and sucked into the stands. To compound the situation, home plate umpire Harry Wendelstedt had a strike zone about four inches wide and two inches tall. The combination resulted in eight home runs on the day, three for the Mets and five for the Phils.
Carlos Beltran banged early, again … he might be the best early-game hitter in the Majors. And it was “Two Carloses for One” day again, only this time the two hit back-to-back homers in the third inning.
Oh yeah, David Wright hit another bomb.
Tommy Glavine had a hard time today, mostly with his command and partially with Wendelstedt’s strike zone. He seemed to be getting squeezed on some pitches, but overall he was not vintage Glavine. He was missing high, and often, and that’s not a good plan when that jetstream is pushing balls out. He gave up a home run nearly every inning he pitched, but luckily only allowed solo shots. We can’t get too upset, though, as Tommy has pitched great all year and was due to have at least one bad game.
In the bottom of the eighth, Aaron Heilman was summoned to bridge the gap to Billy the Kid, but faltered, allowing a two-run, pinch-hit homer to who else, but new Met killer David Dellucci. What does Dellucci have against the Mets? He loves getting extra-base pinch hits against the Metties. Heilman’s command was a little off, again, and someone better take a look and adjust his mechanics pronto. Even still, Aaron would have been fine in just about any other stadium, but Dellucci’s seemingly routine fly ball hit that jetstream and flew right out.
Billy Wagner came in with only one out and Jimmy Rollins on first, fell behind 3-0 to Chase Utley, then managed to combine with Paul LoDuca on a strike ’em out, throw ’em out to end the inning. LoDuca got rid of the ball quickly but bounced the peg, and Jose Reyes made a fantastic pick and tag on a play that could have gone either way.
Wagner, like Glavine, did not have his usual command and seemed also to be squeezed by Wendelstedt. He was saved by LoDuca and Reyes in the 8th, and then in the 9th by David Wright. Wagner walked leadoff batter Bobby Abreu, then gave up a bullet down the line to Pat Burrell that surely would have been a double. Instead, Wright pulled a Brooks Robinson and speared the ball, threw to second, and Chris Woodward made a perfect pivot to complete an unbelievable double play.
Billy Wagner touched 100 MPH for the first time this year, on a pitch to Chase Utley in the bottom of the 8th. The next pitch looked even faster, but the stadium gun had it at “only” 98.
Jose Reyes walked three more times (twice intentionally), eclipsing his total from all of last year. He’s still not walking enough for a prototype leadoff hitter, but he’s made remarkable strides in one year. He should finish the year with around 60-70 walks, which is not awful.
Reyes also sped around from second to score on a ground ball to third base, when the throw to catcher Sal Fasano to get Endy Chavez was dropped. I blinked and missed it the first time, thank goodness for instant replay. The ball only rolled about five feet from home plate, but Reyes rounded third aggressively and immediately took off for home when he saw the ball get away. His speed is scary … and that play reminded me of the game about a week ago when he should have stolen home.
In addition to his offensive prowess and improvement with walks, Reyes has very quietly become a much more polished defensive player this year. He rarely, if ever, throws the ball away, and there doesn’t seem to be any ground ball or thrown ball that he can’t handle. His first two years, he showed he had range and could make the unbelievable, diving plays. However, this year, he has really done a great job of making the routine plays, and making tough hops look routine. As mentioned earlier, he made a fantastic play to dig out LoDuca’s throw and tag out Rollins in the 8th, and there were a few plays that might have handcuffed other infielders but were easily handled by Jose. It’s really exciting to watch this young talent grow in all areas of the game.