Phillies 3 Mets 2
So I blinked, and missed the game.
The Phillies disposed of the Mets in short order, cruising to their 93rd win of the season in a mere 2 hours, 10 minutes. That’s pretty impressive, considering:
– a knuckleballer pitched 6 innings for the Mets
– there were 5 pitching changes in the ballgame
– only two double plays were turned
– the game was played in the 21st century
R.A. Dickey was pretty good, but not good enough to beat the Phillies. He knuckled down for 6 innings, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks. He also ripped a double.
Unfortunately for Dickey, Joe Blanton was a touch better — allowing only 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk in 7 frames, expending just 74 pitches.
Davis’ double looked like it might be a game-tying homer in the top of the ninth, but it bounced off the middle of the left-field wall. He was stranded on third base when Jesus Feliciano struck out to end the game.
The bottom of the fifth ended with a double play turned on the Phillies on a Wright-Tejada-Davis relay. Chase Utley went in aggressively and upended Tejada on the play. It was an absolutely clean play, but it was a hard-nosed slide that you don’t see very often in these days of the pretty-boy sissy buddies. You DO see it often from Utley and others on the Phils. Now understand: the Phillies are more or less guaranteed to be in the postseason, and therefore this game means relatively nothing. Yet Utley still went in hard. Only minutes later in the top of the sixth, Jayson Werth went full-force into the right-field wall in an attempt to catch a fly ball, and Raul Ibanez ended the inning with a sliding catch in left field. It is late September, the Phillies may clinch before the weekend is over, and yet they are playing like it is the 7th game of the World Series. An inning after that, Joe Blanton fell flat on his face scrambling to field a drag bunt and retire Angel Pagan. That kind of display makes one consider buying a Phillies cap.
That’s not to say the Mets don’t hustle as well. There are a number of players — particularly some of the younger ones who are trying to make an impression — who play hard most if not all the time. But for whatever reason, playing hard and aggressively all the time — LOOKING like a team that will do whatever they need to do to win — has not been something one would identify with the Mets. They show up, most of them usually play hard, and sometimes, if the score seems out of reach, they look like they’ve given up. That’s what their overall body language shows, to me, anyway — and it’s something that’s been apparent since 2007, even when they won more games than they lost.
Speaking of the Phillies and their current record, their “magic number” is 2. In other words, a combination of Phillies wins and Braves losses that equal 2 will result in the Phillies clinching the NL East. For example, if the Phillies beat the Mets on Saturday and the Braves lose to the Nationals. So there’s a very good chance that the Mets will be party to a Phillies celebration this weekend. Oh joy.
This was the Phillies’ 11th consecutive win.
The Mets are now five games under .500 and have a firm hold on fourth place.