It's funny how a few victories in a row will change the atmosphere of everything. I mentioned it as a large bullet point at the end of last season, and I'll mention it again: Winning Heals Everything.
The Mets continued to heal themselves and all of us again last night with another victory, their 3rd in a row, and this one a resounding 8-4 over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had handed the Mets their heads on a couple of occasions earlier this month.
Yesterday, I talked about Endy Chavez, and how he seems to pick his spots very well, and perhaps this is the reason he remains so popular, both among management and fans alike. Starting in Right Field last night, and deservedly so after his heroics on Wednesday, Endy pretty much set the tone for the game in the top of the 1st inning. After Juan Pierre led off with a single, stole second and moved to 3rd on a groundout against Vargas, Russell Martin hit a lazy fly ball to medium right field. It seemed to me off the bat that it would easily score Pierre. But watching Endy charge in to make the catch, I realized that it wasn't quite as deep as I'd thought. Endy caught the ball in stride and fired a dead strike home to nail Pierre at the plate, aided by a brilliant sweeping leg block from Schneider (not Snider, Keith). And when that play happened, I found myself thinking the kind of thoughts I hadn't been thinking in a long time. Like, back in 2006 long. I found I was saying to myself, "The Mets are going to win this game."
Win, they did. It took a while, but the Mets did what they usually do against Brad Penny; rough him up. For as good as Penny can look, the Mets just seem to beat him around like a red-headed stepchild. Wright reached him for a 2-run HR in the 3rd to start things off. Just as it seemed as though Penny would get through the 4th unscathed, Claudio Vargas reached thanks to the infamous Catchers Interference call. I don't know whether it was the call itself, or something else, but somehow, this innocuous 2-out call somehow spelled the complete and total unraveling of Penny, who followed by allowing a single to Reyes, a double to Castillo, which scored both runs when the Dodgers kicked the ball around the infield, and another massive, ringing 2-run HR to Wright to cap it all off. In a matter of minutes, the Mets had done it to Penny again, turning a 2-0 lead into a 6-0 routing. Carlos Delgado returned from his preemptive 2-day benching and played like he actually gave a crap about what had been going on. He played well in the field and hit a pair of authoritative singles. Let's see if it keeps up. The Dodgers made it a little interesting later on in the game, but strong efforts from Carlos Muniz (who might deserve a little more work...), Scott Schoeneweis (Scott Schoeneweis! Can you believe that for as lousy as he looked early in the season, Schoeneweis has an ERA of 1.25 right now?! What the hell is going on here?) and Joe Smith, the Mets salted the rest of the game away without much trouble.
Later, Willie and Kevin Burkhardt had a little laugh on SNY when talking about how the Mets were Illin', and that the recent victories had gone a long way towards curing the illin'. The entire room seemed to get a big kick out of that one.
Yeah, it's pretty funny. Funny how a few victories can change how everyone feels.
Tonight, it's Death Cab going against phenom Clayton Kershaw. Death Cab hasn't looked so hot over his last couple of outings, a pair of road losses. It's time for him to dig deep within his soul for the answer to the question that has been haunting us all. It's up to him to vanquish the ghosts of losses past and use his inner strength to drive him across that vast wilderness, pushing onwards toward that ultimate victory, that one that will keep the streak going, and continue to allow the good feelings to permeate.
Saturday, it's just the Biggest Game in the Nation, the late-afternoon special with the robots and the lasers on FOX. Then, Sunday Night, it's The Biggest Game in The Galaxy, replete with Johan Santana making the start in front of a worldwide audience on ESPN.
What a weekend it could be...
For the 19 games: 7-9.