So, it took the Mets two games to play their first, official Heart Attack Game of the 2009 season. It seems like sort of a rite of passage for the season, like, we have to sit through this game, watch the Mets fall back, storm ahead, almost blow it at the end, think, "OH NO, NOT AGAIN!" and then sigh a sigh of relief.
Monday's game was a revelation, no doubt, particularly after the way things ended last year. But not every game is going to play out like Monday's game. Some days, the bullpen will be shaky. Some days, the bullpen will blow the game completely. But even if the Mets two victories haven't been sparkling on all fronts, I'll still take them. Whether it's April or September, a bad win is still a win, and that's going to make the difference at the end of the season.
Last night being Passover and me being in Seder-land most of the night, I didn't get to see much of the action. I didn't see Pelfrey struggle through a 44-pitch 1st inning, give up 4 runs, but then settle down to will his way through 5 innings. I wouldn't chalk this up to anything more than Pelfrey pitching in a ballpark where he's had trouble before, on a night where the weather was less than stellar, in his first start of the season, when it's easy to be a little amped up. I'm sure Joe Benigno, the defeatist, is busy screaming right now about how Pelfrey is no good, or at least how he's no Joba (and he's not, in the sense that he didn't make 12 starts and break down) like the Yankee Castrato he is, but that's another topic entirely.
I didn't see the Mets offense show up for the first time this season, either. Delgado and Beltran had already done most of their damage by time I did join the action, which was right around the time Brian Schneider shot a sinking liner into Right Field in the 7th inning, which Jay Bruce somehow slid over, allowing 3 runs to score and the Mets take a seemingly comfortable 9-4 lead in the late innings.
At least, until the bullpen decided to give us a little bit of a wake-up call.
I think, after last season, we all have a bit of the ol' PTSD. Every time things start to fall apart for the bullpen, Mets fans are going to start shitting their pants repeatedly. And last season, it was more than likely a given that once the Reds got going, they weren't going to stop until Laynce Nix's fly ball went out of the ballpark off of Luis Ayala or Scott Schoeneweis whatever poor slob happened to be in the game. In fact, it all started for the Reds against the lone holdover from that bullpen, Pedro Feliciano. But Sean Green got hit, and J.J. Putz got hit (not especially hard, just a shot from Taveras that found a gap), and Francisco Rodriguez looked totally uncomfortable on the mound. That, in particular, was really frightening to watch. It's always comforting to see your new, high-priced closer who was brought in to stop the bleeding like this, go 2-0 on every batter, and walk around the mound wincing and grimacing like he's in some kind of pain. Clearly, there was something up with the mound, or at least that was what I thought since Rodriguez seemed to keep looking down at it with disgust. I don't know. But he basically reminded us all that not ever game will be like Monday, and did his best John Franco impression at the same time.
It's a good reminder that this is a long season, and there's a lot of wacky things that can happen. Man, will it ever be a long season. Especially if we have more games like this.