Mets 4 Phillies 2
Take that, Cole Hamels! Who’s the “choke artist” now, huh?
“Fighting for their lives”, as their fearless leader Jerry Manuel proclaimed afterward, the Mets pulled to within 13 1/2 games of the first place Phillies with a hard fought, emotional win over their arch-rival.
Everyone made a contribution of some sort, as the orange and blue executed as a team in front of an electrified hometown crowd that refused to let anything rain on their parade — not even, um, the rain.
Mike Pelfrey pitched well for the second consecutive start, allowing two runs and striking out five in six innings of work. From there the bullpen took over and kept the Phillies bats silent through the final three — including a particularly strong four outs from
Aaron Sele Brian Stokes. As usual, Frankie Fantastic kept the fans on the edge of their seats in the ninth, but this time came through with his 27th save of the season.
It took only 122 games (plus two months at the end of 2008), but Jerry Manuel finally figured out that Brian Stokes needs more “regular work” to be effective. We know this because Manuel admitted as much during the postgame. That information should be very useful in 2010.
Manuel was thrown out of the game for arguing an out call on a botched hit-and-run / attempted steal by Jeff Francoeur. The umpire was definitely out of position and made the wrong call — it wasn’t even close. But the silver lining was that Manuel’s bickering clearly ignited his troops with extra motivation to win.
Jeff Francoeur was the offensive MVP of the game, going 3-for-4 with a solo homerun. Luis Castillo, Dan Murphy, and Angel Pagan all had two hits apiece, and Fernando Tatis hit a triple and scored twice.
Cole Hamels struck Mike Pelfrey with a pitch, which Pelfrey didn’t particularly enjoy and said a few choice words to Hamels (that we can’t repeat here) on his way to first. But he eventually realized it wasn’t intentional and therefore did not retaliate when Hamels came to bat — instead, Pelf chose to strike him out. Good plan.
Pelf came close to allowing the yips to get to him in the sixth, when he nearly threw to an uncovered first base on a safety squeeze. However, he quickly settled down and got out of a tight spot.
Somehow, I could not get nearly as excited about this win as K-Rod was after the final out. I feel kind of bad about that, like I’m a poor fan or something. No jump, no fist pump, no primal scream of elation, no kiss to the sky — nothing. Maybe I was just too tired from a long day. Blame it on the rain and the oppressive humidity.
As of 11:45 PM Friday night, Billy Wagner was still a New York Met. Rumor has it that either the Florida Marlins or the Boston Red Sox claimed him on waivers. We may find out the truth before the end of the weekend.
Prior to the game, both Gary Sheffield and Mushmouth had different stories about what happened between the two in that fateful meeting on Thursday. In other words, everything is now as clear as mud. Yet another great job of public and media relations by the New York Mets.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Phillies do it again at 7:10 PM on Saturday night. Phillie killer Tim Redding goes to the hill against J.A. “It’s Pronounced ‘Jay'” Happ.