Monday, June 30, 2008

The Moment's Over

It's nice, I suppose, to enjoy the fact that the Mets, for only the second time since we've been doing this whole midseason Subway Series challenge, won the season series from the Yankees with their victory on Sunday. After Friday evening and Saturday, it certainly didn't appear that way.

When these games go on, New York tends to become pretty Baseball-centric. Friday afternoon, I had the game on the radio in my office, and people kept poking their heads in to see what was going on. As I had anticipated, the Mets took 3 hours and 54 minutes to thrash the Yankees 15-6 on Friday afternoon. We all know by now about Carlos Delgado's Miracle Game, where he appeared to take advantage of some awful Yankee pitching and show us all what he used to be, blasting 2 HRs and driving in 9 runs, setting a Mets record in the process. But before Delgado took over, the Mets seemed rather fortunate to be in the game, as Pelfrey really bulldogged his way through 5 innings, getting in, and then out of jams, while the Mets did the same to Dan Giese. Meanwhile, the game moved at a snail's pace, and when it finally concluded, it was about 6:02pm, leaving both clubs about 2 hours to get over to Shea for the nightcap. I would assume the teams changed while in the buses over the Triborough Bridge, because somehow, they managed to start the second game at 8:10pm, right on time.

The Mets then proceeded to go out and do the absolute opposite of what they did in the afternoon. Where, in the day game, they got the clutch hit and hit the big home run, at night, they did a pretty good job of making Sidney Ponson look like an Ace, and not a washed-up drunkard. Here, it was Pedro, continuing to show that time may well be catching up with him, coming out and having another Oliver Perez outing, throwing shutout ball into the 4th before allowing the Yankees to dink and dunk him to death. I only paid halfhearted attention to the game, and at some point, I heard a score of 2-0, and then came back some time later and heard a score of 9-0, at which point I shut the radio off. That, my friends, is the epitome of a lost cause.

Saturday, I brushed that game off and caught most of the late afternoon affair, switching between the Radio and TV on a pretty regular basis. It was, more or less a blur, although in many ways, it seemed to mirror this game from last season, not so much because of the score, but in the fact that a) The Yankees managed to win the game on the basis of getting hits when they needed to get them, and b) The Game being delayed by rain, even though it wasn't raining much at all where I was. It was already 2-1 when I moved to the TV, just in time to see Jose Reyes pull a Jose Reyes and get himself picked off second base with 2 outs and David Wright up. It figured, then, that Wright would subsequently hit a HR off Pettitte leading off the next inning, Rain Delay or not. I lost interest during the delay, the Cubs/White Sox game wasn't quite enough to hold my attention, and I was back to the radio by time the game resumed. I went back to the TV later on, around 8pm, in time to see Mariano Rivera make Carlos Delgado look sad on three cutters, and that was pretty much that.

Sunday, of course, I was at the game, my annual trip to the Subway Series. The Mets have had an every other year thing with me at these games. One year, they win and look good doing so. The next year, they lose and look awful. It's been that way since 2004. So, after seeing John Maine get lit up last year, I figured I ought to be in for a victory in '08, and I was. Oliver Perez had a start that was less Oliver Perez and more Oliver's Army, throwing by far and away his best game of the season over his 7 innings of work. While there are games when Oliver could go a few innings and look somewhat shaky before falling apart completely, there are also games where you can tell in the first couple of innings that he's going to dominate, and you could see that yesterday, particularly after he blew Johnny Damon away in the top of the 1st. Perez didn't allow a hit until the 4th, after the Mets were able to scratch out a run in the 2nd, and Delgado got his first hit since Friday afternoon, a long HR in the 3rd, and kept his shutout into the 7th, when Wilson Betemit broke that up with a HR. The start is great, and even more encouraging when you realize Perez didn't walk anyone. But he never seems to be able to build on starts like this. That's why it's frustrating.

The crowd, for the most part, seemed pretty partisan throughout the game. The Yankee fans were there, although it seemed like many of them showed up late, and none of them made much noise until Betemit's HR, when they got up and tried to take over, at least until Perez got out of the 7th. Still, the game was closer than it needed to be, and when A-Rod's long fly ball in the 9th proved not deep enough, the game almost got away from the Mets. 12 hits producing only 3 runs does not a winning team make. But I'll take the win.

So, with the madness now complete, both teams can go their separate ways and get back to the realities of regular Baseball. For the Mets, it's nice to win the season series from the Yankees. Now get over it. The Mets have to go to St. Louis and Philadelphia, two places where there are no fond memories. The Cart'nalls, after not having a good year last year, have resurged as a contender this year, holding a solid lead in the Wildcard race and hanging tough with the Cubs. And Philly is Philly. This week will tell us a lot about the Mets this season. Then again, I've said this before and we didn't learn anything. I guess the only given is that the Mets begin an 8-game road trip tonight.

Coming Tomorrow: The Subway Series from in and around Shea.

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